Allison Pang stops by SciFiChick.com today to discuss her recent release A Brush of Darkness, the first in a new urban fantasy/paranormal romance series from Pocket Books.
Romancing the Incubus
The working title of A Brush of Darkness was Shadow of the Incubus. An obvious title, given that Brystion, the “hero/love interest”, actually is one. Most people are probably aware of the general mythology of the incubus – a male demon who sits on the chest of sleeping women and has some form of metaphysical sex with her. Over time, the woman would get weaker and weaker and it was assumed the demon was slowly sucking the life out of her.
As the potential love interest in a book, it’s a pretty easy way to get some smexy times worked up…but I wanted to give Brystion a more relatable edge. Yes, he’s arrogant and a bit of an ass at times, but a good deal of that is defensive. Although he has the ability to make his potential lovers weak at the knees with a simple smile or a gesture, the truth of the matter is that much of how he presents himself is completely dependent upon their whims, even if the women themselves aren’t aware of it.
He’s forced to submit to their fantasies in order to drink their dreams (similar to the vampire needing blood concept), but as a result, there is very little of himself that is “him.” His physical appearance, his talents, even some of his mannerisms are directly influenced by their dreams. Naturally he’s a little bitter about it. Inwardly he despairs that he’ll never be able to do anything to change it. Hence the shadow bit of the original title – in a way, he’s living in his own shadow because he doesn’t really want to accept himself for what he truly is.
Of course, he does have an “actual” form, but he’s rather loathe to show it to anyone, particularly because he knows it’s nothing anyone dreams about. When Abby (our heroine) enters the scene he has his own reasons for attempting to seduce her (which I’m not going to get into here for spoiler reasons), but much of his motivation gets an overhaul as they work together to try to find his missing sister and her missing employer.
A major theme of the book is about acceptance – of things you can’t change, for example…but in this case it’s also about Brystion finally allowing someone to accept him for what he is, and in doing so, finally accepting himself as well.