To celebrate the expanded distribution of Legendary we are shining a spotlight on the anthology by asking out some of our contributors questions. We will continue that theme for the rest of the week and hope you will continue to follow along with us and give this anthology some well-deserved attention.
Today we asked contributors:
Was it hard to combine romance and urban legends?
In my case, it was because I had to give my protagonist a reason to fall for a supernatural creature that didn’t look human. It was easy enough to make Pinky-Pinky fall in love with a beautiful and vulnerable young girl, but how was I going to make it work in reverse? That part took a lot of thinking and rewriting. How to introduce the characters to one another wasn’t difficult, but giving them motivations to keep on meeting and spend enough time together to actually fall in love was also something of a challenge.
Initially, the hardest thing to do was to make Pinky likable full stop. When I first wrote the story, the original draft was very different, nothing like the story I ended up with at the end. The previously unnamed protagonist retold of a terrifying encounter with Pinky in which he stalked and raped her, as in the original legends, serving as a warning to other young girls to be careful and not take urban legends from foreign countries lightly. When I decided to redraft it as a consensual romance instead, Pinky gradually became more human in both aspect and personality, allowing Sarah to eventually trust and fall for him.
It was a bit difficult to find one that could allow the romance to end on a happy note. The bride who uses the tanning bed to prepare for the wedding never lives to be a wife. The boyfriend who tries to go for help after a breakdown may have spared his girl or doomed himself when he leaves her in the car alone. The necking teenagers on lover’s lane don’t always get nervous enough to live. It’s a little ironic, since urban legends frequently hinge on romance to explain why someone might behave the way they did, but the stories tend toward the gruesome and tragic. They’re meant to teach a lesson, after all, and a fair number of them have a mean-spirited sting tucked away on their tails. Finding the right way to mix the sweet in with the dark was a challenge.
That wasn’t as difficult as trying to make it suspenseful and scary. I just don’t generally write with a horror tone. So, that was the most difficult part for me. I’m not even sure I managed to make it scary. I hope I did, but that’s hard to judge from a writer’s perspective. In my opinion, both humor and horror (true horror, not just gore) are the most difficult things to achieve in writing and to judge as an “insider.”
I didn’t find it tricky because I think horror and romance are good companions. That’s the full spectrum of life: the horror of death’s certainty, and the romance of being alive. That, but also on a more intimate level, there isn’t anything scarier than the first time you fall in love. The anxieties of teenage romance are basically life and death to those experiencing them. Throwing a psychotic killer into the mix only seems natural.
Not really, but that’s possibly because I’m a romance author. I also chose the legend of the hook man who comes after the couple making out in their car. Romance is the reason they get stalked, after all, since urban legends are intended as warnings. Have sex in a car, and you’re gonna get slaughtered by a man with a hook hand.
Well, maybe not literally, but the hook man urban legend certainly does threaten young people in the thralls of lust. In my story, “Not Again,” I even mixed comedy with the romance and the horror, probably because I find urban legends as teaching devices laughable. (Then again, I’m the girl who still checks her back seat whenever she gets into a car.)
If you’d like to learn more about the Legendary contributors, check out their individual interviews here.
Urban legends. We’ve all heard them, we’ve all told them. They fill the role that fairy tales once held—morality tales meant to frighten us into sticking with the herd, obeying society’s rules, and not taking any chances. In most urban legends, once someone transgresses, we know things won’t end well for them.
But what if the bright spark of romance also common to these stories refuses to be snuffed out? What if it bursts into a love that fights for its chance to burn? Can love triumph over evil? Forgive any trespass? Heal any wound?
Set off into a dark wood with a young love that won’t go quietly into the night. Bait a vengeful ghost to find family, and love. Ride along with a hitchhiker who won’t vanish for long. Learn to love a touch that is not human. Find passion beneath the scars. Dive into five tales that speak to the heart of myth and find love that is nothing short of legend.
Featuring new stories by Sara Dobie Bauer, Wendy Sparrow, T. R. North, Aisling Phillips, and Michael Leonberger.
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