Hurts So Good
by Cecilia Tan
I'm a big fan of suffering.
I don't mean I like stubbing my toe, or being cold or hungry. I mean I enjoy it when the main character of a book I'm reading suffers. And as a writer, this means I especially like it when the main character of a book I'm WRITING suffers.
My poor characters. I really do put them through a lot. I'm writing a four book series now called Magic University, which is basically my version of a Harry-Potter-style tale, but set in a college and with my own ideas of magic. As with the Potter books, each book takes place in one school year, and I recently finished writing the second book in the series (The Tower and the Tears, just released last week). It's not really a spoiler to tell you some traumatic things happen to our hero. No surprise there.
The surprise was that although I had planned for him to get over it by year two, when I actually started writing it, it turned out he was definitely not over any of it. Apparently what I'd put him through left him more deeply affected than even I'd realized at the time. While considering this fact, I decided that ultimately it was a good thing. Why? Two reasons. One, if I'm affecting my character so deeply that he's refusing to move on, perhaps it means I am affecting my readers deeply as well. Two, because one aspect of the Harry Potter books I never found believable is that Harry seems so unaffected by the horrible things that happen to him, and so in my world, I want my hero to be changed by his experiences.
Which isn't to say that I want things to swing totally the other way into being emo. Kyle, my main character in The Siren and the Sword (book one of the series) takes a lot of things in stride. But I did discover just how deep the scars really go. It changed the way book two unfolded and intensified the effect of the traumas he meets in his second year, as well. There is suffering, there is heartbreak, there are "learning experiences" which are painful.
Of course, when my characters suffer, my readers suffer, too. But in a good way, I hope. Because really, I want the experience of reading to be good for them. The Magic University books are romance, after all. I'm not giving away anything by saying there will be a happy ending. But in a four book series, the end can seem very far away!
Hang in there, Kyle. I start writing book three in two weeks. You get a reprieve until then.
Blurb: Kyle is a college sophomore worrying about the usual things students do, like what he's going to major in and getting along with his dorm mates, but he attends a most unusual college. He's a student at Veritas, the hidden magical university inside Harvard.
Before he got to Harvard, Kyle hadn't even known he was magical. Now he finds he has a talent for sex magic and the erotic arts. Not only that, a girl in his sex magic class has a crush on him. Kyle looks forward to lots of "study sessions" together with Ciara and their friend Marjory, but when their professor is mysteriously attacked, Kyle finds himself embroiled in a mystery deeper than university department politics. Someone has been stealing magical artifacts and the dean suspects Ciara, sending Kyle on a quest to discover the real culprit.
Kyle will learn sizzling sexual technique and unleash powerful magic on his incredible erotic journey, but is the study of sex really the route to true love? Perhaps what Kyle needs to learn about most is himself.
Bio: Cecilia Tan has been writing professionally since she was a teenager, which she definitely isn't, anymore. She is the author of several romances for Ravenous Romance, including her "Harry Potter for adults" the Magic University series and Mind Games, as well as the BDSM sci-fi adventure Royal Treatment just released from Torquere Press. Her literary erotica has been published nearly everywhere. She loves tea, baseball, cats, and books, and more of her thoughts on these and other subjects can be found at her blog: http://blog.ceciliatan.com.
Buy link, book one: http://www.ravenousromance.com/fantastica/magic-university-book-one-the-siren-and-the-sword.php
Buy link, book two: http://www.ravenousromance.com/fantastica/magic-university-the-tower-and-the-tears.php
The Tower and the Tears is the second book in the Magic University series by Cecilia Tan. Bringing together myth, magic, eroticism, and the Tarot, the Magic University books are for all the adult readers of classic fantasy who want a bedtime tale of their own.
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