Hi everyone My name is Victoria Zumbrum, 40 years old, married 14 years with 1 son. This is my very first blog. So bear with me. I have always wanted to have my own blog. I have always loved to read. I enjoy getting lost in a good book.
I love becoming part of the story and characters. I am hoping to bring my love of books to my readers.

I love reading different genres such as paranormal, young adult, romance, romantic suspense, mystery, Christian fiction, some horror, etc. The list goes on. I started reviewing books a couple of years ago and have done reviews for different blogs and even some authors. I really have enjoyed reviewing books and I will continue to do so. If anyone is interested in me reviewing a book for them, please contact me. I still have a lot to learn regarding my own blog so bear with me. I welcome and appreciate all followers.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Defiant Attraction by V.K. Torston Guest Post

Defiant Attraction is finally live! In celebration of the release, Girl With Pen is hosting a guest post from the author, V.K. Torston.


Sexy "Stepbrothers"
And the Ethics of the Forbidden

By V.K. Torston

When people outside the romance community think about the genre, they usually imagine Harlequin-type historicals featuring rakish dukes and torn bodices.

Courtesy of Netflix

Indeed, historicals dominated the romance industry for decades. The reason, I think, is that pretty much everything in the 18th and 19th centuries was "forbidden". A man and woman talking without a chaperone? Scandal. Different social classes interacting? Unheard of. Pre-marital sex? Consider these pearls clutched.

When your setting is the Regency era, the normal tempo of a romance will naturally be complicated by the restrictive social landscape. Anything spicier than "our parents thought it would be pragmatic and we didn't hang out alone until our wedding night" will be transgressive. Tension and stakes are naturally built into the story.

Romance relies on this sort of conflict. When the central arc of the story is the relationship between the main characters, it can't just be a straight line.

Courtesy of Allison Temple
At least in my real life as a Contemporary New Adult, romance is pretty chill. Sure, it's cute and fun and sexy to actually do, but several chapters about two characters watching Netflix and making out wouldn't make for very riveting reading. Without the stodgy social norms or arbitrary rules of an historical setting, where does that thrill of the "forbidden" come from? What's raising the stakes? Where's the tension?
This familiar Contemporary New Adult experience is not enough tension on its own to propel an entire narrative. Though it is tense AF.
Our own cultural landscape does variously forbid sexytimes--Boss/Employee or Professor/Student, for example--but those taboos aren't some random, puritanical restriction. As I write this, new allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct from media figures and politicians are breaking by hour (NOT YOU TOO, CHARLIE ROSE). I've personally been hit on by teachers, and I was not down. Men leveraging their power to commit abuse is endemic in the real world, so Sexy Boss or Professor stories need to be carefully and thoughtfully navigated.

In a Stepbrother Romance, there is no inherent power imbalance. No one character necessarily has more authority than the other (except for, you know, patriarchy stuff--but that's true of any heterosexual romance). The ethics are easier to negotiate, but the stakes can feel just as high.

And sure, there are good reasons you should avoid hooking up with your stepbrother. It's actually kind of ironic that I ended up writing this subgenre, because it would be gross and weird in my own family. With Thanksgiving around the corner, I'm reminded how sprawling, blended, and fiercely familial my own kinship group is (even though not everyone is blood-related). But I also realize not everyone's family is like mine. Sophie and Dan's situation in Defiant Attraction definitely doesn't resemble my family. Whatever alchemy turns unrelated people into relatives (which I've personally experienced dozens of times) never happened for them. And maybe it's because I know what it looks and feels like to have an unrelated sibling that I knew how to write Dan and Sophie as Not That.

In terms of Fun Storytelling, I loved the idea that the same force that brings the characters together also prevents them from getting together. Valedictorian Sophie and Dropout Dan never would have hung out, much less kissed each other's faces, if their parents hadn't moved in together in order to A) save money and B) co-depend each other's alcoholism. But because Dan and Sophie's relationship resembles something sibling-ish, they are not allowed to kiss each other's faces.

In a Stepbrother Romance, the inciting incident to "make them kiss" and the "reasons why they can't" are one in the same.

And if I'm being really, really honest, I wanted to write a friends-to-lovers story with nice characters who treated each other well and had a healthy relationship (*snoresville*). If it weren't for the "don't kiss your stepbrother" thing (ultimately justified by "oh wow your parents are terrible alcoholics"), it would have just been many chapters of people watching Netflix and making out.

About the Author

vkheadshotV.K. Torston is a millennial and ‘cool aunt’ to a brood of nieces and nephews. She was born and raised in San Francisco, attended university in New York City, and aspires to one day live in London. A veteran of the independent music scene, she began writing nonfiction in her late teens. Then she realized that making up stories was way more fun than coming up with endless synonyms for ‘frenetic’ and ‘danceable.’ Her hobbies include drinking too much coffee, making up stupid songs, and ranting about current events. Defiant Attraction is her first novel.

Order Defiant Attraction on Amazon

Add Defiant Attraction on Goodreads

Follow V.K. Torston
Twitter: @VKTorston
Facebook: @VKTorston
Goodreads: /VKTorston


No comments:

Post a Comment