Making Familiar Ideas Fresh: a Guest Post by Deathly Desires Author Chris Bedell

Today we’re welcoming Chris Bedell to the site to discuss his recently released YA paranormal romance, Deathly Desires, which came out this month from Deep Hearts! Here’s a little more about the book:

I know what you did last spring…

When 17-year-old Cody’s unrequited crush, Mason, is killed by his friend Veronica, he helps her successfully cover up the murder. That is until the start of their Junior Year, when everyone involved receives a menacing note from someone who knows what they did.

The blackmail about Mason’s death quickly escalates to stalking, arson, and attempted murder. Cody and his friends must discover who found them out before they get killed themselves. And fast.

Noah has an altogether different secret. He’s a grim reaper, escorting people to the afterlife when they die. When his path collides with Cody, a spark soon forms between them. But whether they can make their relationship work is a different question. If Cody and Noah want a real chance at love, they’re going to have to be honest with each other about everything they’ve been hiding from the world.

Buy it: Amazon | B&N


And here’s the guest post!


The idea that there are only so many stories to tell is one problem writers grapple with. However, the issue shouldn’t deter authors from writing. Putting a fresh twist on familiar ideas is possible. And that’s what I tried doing with my YA Paranormal Romance novel DEATHLY DESIRES, which was published by Deep Hearts YA on November 14, 2019.

Genre mashup is one way to breathe life into writing. The idea applies to DEATHLY DESIRES because of how I combine the Paranormal Romance genre with a Thriller. By itself, Paranormal Romance might generate fatigue because of the market becoming saturated after TWILIGHT.

I didn’t let that hurdle stop me, though. Paranormal Romance and Thriller books might seem different, but I made it work. 17-year-old Cody—one of my two POV characters—dating a grim reaper helps my plot. Noah is connected to the book’s main mystery even though the link might not seem obvious at first. My novel is therefore always building tension with both the romance and “I Know What You Did Last Summer” dilemma.

And within the Paranormal Romance and Thriller elements, I tried to add something slightly different to each. For the Paranormal Romance aspect that meant I didn’t wanna have werewolves, witches, and vampires be the focus. I’ll always love a good book about werewolves, witches, and vampires, but I didn’t have anything new to add.

So, I decided on grim reapers. Grim reapers don’t seem to have been covered much in pop culture like werewolves, witches, and vampires (at least to my knowledge). I still wanted to be careful with the human/non-human relationship, though. A relationship between a human and non-human wouldn’t be perfect, yet I didn’t wanna have it be Cody and Noah can’t together because it would be complicated or because of Cody’s father and friends don’t approve. I therefore decided on a compromise. Cody can build his relationship with Noah, yet sense something is off about Noah. That choice worked with DEATHLY DESIRES because Noah’s mysteriousness adds to the novel’s general mystery. Yet the irony is Noah is harmless. Noah isn’t the villain and respects humans (Noah was a human until he stopped aging at 17, and still looks like his 17-year-old self).

The Thriller genre elements of DEATHLY DESIRES also needed sprucing up. Cody and his friends Veronica and Brandon are dealing with their “I Know What You Did Last Summer” problem. But I didn’t wanna write teens who appeared shallowed. I don’t wanna give away too much, but I added mitigating factors to their situation so readers can understand why Cody, Veronica, and Brandon behave the way they do even if readers might not agree with their choices. The absentee parent is another idea I pivoted. Cody has a strained relationship with his father, but Cody realizes he must confide in his father about how him and his friends are the victims of a revenge game. Cody tries chatting with his father about said problem, yet his father rebuffs him. That occurrence provides a twist—I wanted to flip the situation. A parent usually might try getting their child to confide in them about a problem. But that’s not so with DEATHLY DESIRES. Cody’s father proves useless, so Cody therefore risks honesty for nothing.

The above ideas are just several examples to show how twisting familiar ideas doesn’t have to be complicated, but I hope they help. But above all, write the story you wanna write (within reason). Sometimes the projects authors are most passionate about are their most creative books, and that enthusiasm will hopefully come across on the page and make readers become engrossed in the novel.

Leave a Reply