This blog is part of a series of posts about the themes in the Helicon Muses books.
If you have been reading my books for a long time, you will probably have noticed that I am extremely attracted to the idea of the demon lover. I don’t mean that I have actual demons in my books, although someday maybe I will, but I do mean that there are a lot of very bad boyfriends into the V. J. Chambers universe. Trevor in Death Girl. Jimmy in Ratcatcher. Garrett, Rick, and Mason in Brighter. Jason. (Duh.) Brice and Josh in The Toil and Trouble Trilogy. Risciter in Release. Bailey in Little Sister.
Sometimes these guys are only monstrous some of the time. Sometimes they can be redeemed. Sometimes they are just bad through and through.
This obsession of mine did not occur because of events in my own life, but it was sharpened by them. I’ve always been intrigued by dark, mysterious men. I blame it on Strider. I mean, I know he turned out to be Aragorn, and he’s a noble king and all that. But when he shows up in that tavern in The Fellowship of the Ring, you can’t tell that he’s good. Some part of that formed my female psyche. That’s my theory. I can’t help it.
I was in an emotionally abusive relationship at one point in my life. That guy has shown up in a lot of my books. I think it may only be because in my search for true evil, I only feel that sociopaths even slightly qualify. And I believe that most abusive men are sociopathic. So when I create an evil character for a book, the character is usually sociopathic. And when I create a sociopath, I default to the only sociopath I’ve never known. My ex-boyfriend.
But while abusive relationships have formed the periphery of many of my books, one has never been the central relationship. In some ways, in the Helicon books, this is the first time I am tackling the issue head on.
It’s my hope that people who have been through similar situations will be able to see themselves in the relationship between Nora and Owen. I don’t mean the book to be a heavy, after-school-special experience. I’m not Sarah Dessen. However, I do hope that I have portrayed things in an emotionally realistic way.
Getting out of an abusive relationship requires an immense amount of courage, and it’s even harder, because the abuser has figured out exactly what traits you would need to get out of the relationship, and has set about systematically destroying them within you. Even when something snaps, and you finally decide to get away, it can take a very long time to repair all the damage. That’s Nora’s journey in the series.