Guest Post & Giveaway with JN Duncan

Today we have urban fantasy author J.N. Duncan here to talk a little about his newest release The Vengeful Dead. Take it away J.N.!

The Slow Burn

I’d like to thank MinnChica for having me here today in support of my book, The Vengeful Dead, book two in my Deadworld series, a dark, urban fantasy story. Now one might wonder why I’d be asking to post up at a romance review blog, where the norm for this genre likely tends toward paranormal romance, but the fact is, the Deadworld story has romantic thread woven through it. Unlike many UF stories though (and I’m generalizing a bit here), the romance develops at a comparatively slow pace. Very slow by the usual standards. For lack of a better term, I’ll refer to this as the Slow Burn Romance.

Basically, the progression of the relationship between hero and heroine does not culminate, i.e. become a love/sex relationship before the end of the first book. Actually, it won’t be until book three, The Lingering Dead, that we see anything approaching this. So, why would I choose to do this? It would be easy to approach an element in this manner as a way to tantalize the reader, to get them wanting to find out what happens, and read further books. The converse could be said as well, in that by not reaching that level of relationship, it might turn readers off who were expecting more to happen. There are a fair number of UF series out there where we get a romance built up through book one, and then we follow the couple’s trials and tribulations over the course of the series, going through their ups and downs until we reach some kind of resolution at the end. The reason my story progresses in the way that it does however, is simple. It makes no sense for the characters to do so.

My heroine in Deadworld, FBI agent, Jackie Rutledge, is a pretty rough character at the beginning. She could likely make the career of any therapist. She’s kind of tough to like at the start, as a number of readers have attested too, and is in no position to be involved in a romantic relationship. Her abrasive exterior covers up a fragile, broken personality that has yet to come to grips with itself. At her core, Jackie just does not like who she is. Deadworld takes place over the course of a week, and things happen that not only make a romance unlikely, but actually make it harder. It’s kind of that, “you have to hit bottom in order to climb back up,” mentality. Even if my story had the super-charged dynamo of a hero who might have the capacity for making any woman fall in love with him (which I don’t, the hero, Nick, has his own problems), Jackie is not capable of having one, with anyone. It would be far too convenient and go well beyond the bounds of reason for a relationship to develop. By the end of Deadworld, a first kiss is as far as we get. Personally, I take issue with any kind of relationship developing for the sake making it happen by the end of the book. If it’s not right, then it just isn’t right. I wanted very much for things to progress at a pace that felt legitimate and real given the character’s situation and issues.

Series have that particular advantage of playing out elements over the long haul. Often this is plot driven, but we also wish to see characters grow and change over time as well. Even when the romance is front and center in this genre, there are still problems to resolve. There are still issues that get in the way of there being an HEA. Often, this comes down to the question of, “will they stay together?” In my case, it’s one of, “will they get together in the first place.” I like love stories that take their time to develop, when it doesn’t feel like circumstances are being contrived to make things happen, and it doesn’t come down to the unavoidable, “animal” attraction. I like it when the hero and heroine aren’t in bed together within the first twenty-four hours of meeting. I like it when you have to wonder if they will get together at all. There’s a certain level of tension developed there that makes for fun reading, I think. If they sleep together immediately, however fun and sexy it might be, I believe it deflates a certain element of anticipation and satisfaction in the story.

Of course, I might be in the minority here.  Hot, sexy, paranormal romances are pretty damn popular these days. Readers obviously like them, and when it comes down to it, the reader rules all. But, I have to write the story I would want to read, and that involves the Slow Burn, the gradual build-up over time, and struggle to make things even get started in the first place. I think the payoff in the end is more worthwhile. This is my own personal preference as a reader of course, but my hope is that readers who decide to pick up my books, will want to go along for the ride and endure the character’s struggles to get their lives situated to the point that an HEA is even possible.

I’d like to thank you for stopping by today, and for taking that time, and bothering to comment on my post here about the Slow Burn Romance (got any examples of good ones that you’ve read?), I’ll be handing out a signed copy of Deadworld, The Vengeful Dead, and the cover flat for the upcoming, The Lingering Dead to one randomly chosen winner. For those of you who decide to pick up my series, I hope you enjoy the read. Happy reading/writing everyone!


Thanks J.N. for being here today! The contest is open to US/Canada only and ends on November 10th. Good Luck!

24 thoughts on “Guest Post & Giveaway with JN Duncan”

  1. Thanks so much for a great post and giveaway! I’ve read book 1, Deadworld (have it for my Kindle and paperback), and it was fantastic! I loved it! Can’t wait to read The Vengeful Dead, book 2. 🙂 This author is definitely on my favorites list.

  2. Thanks for the giveaway! Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series has a slooooow burn romantic relationship. They don’t get it on until book 4! Highly recommend it, though. It pretty much rocks.

  3. I agree with you, I guess to a point anyway.. I like wondering for a little while at least if they will get together and have their so called HEA. I dont want them to always get together in the first 20 pages. And I really dont mind if it takes a few books to happen. But I do want them together in the end. And while one book may have their HEA. I dont mind if problems come up in following books that could endanger that at least for a little while.

  4. I like the concept of slow burn relationships and seeing a relationship grow and change over time along with issues and benefits.. Mac and Barrons was a slow burn relationship for me throughou the Fever series. Another ongoing is Eve and Roarke from J.D. Robb.

  5. I’m a fan of slow burn, too. The Kate Daniels series, the Fever Series, the October Daye series by Seanan Mcguire are some of favourites for that very reason. Heck, Mcguire is on book 5 and I’m still waiting and hanging on every word she writes! The payoff is so much better when you’ve had to work for it, and I think you often get to see more of the characters’ personalities when they build up the sexual tension over a long period of time.
    I’m excited to hear this series follows in that tradition. I’d love to win a copy!
    sarace (at) gmail (dot) com

  6. I love UF and paranormal. Thanks for the giveaway. I just won a copy of Deadworld so I would love to win this book. Is that selfish? Then I can buy book 2 and be able to read them back to back!

  7. I enjoyed the post, and I would pick the “slow burn” over hot and sexy any day. I’m really looking forward to reading this series, it sounds fantastic.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  8. Awesome post & thanks for giveaway! I like it when they get to know each other and not just get together right away.

  9. First I have heard of this series but this series has caught my attention. Thanks for sharing the Book Pushers.

  10. I love a good paranormal romance, but sometimes I need something darker and grittier, which is why I love urban fantasy! I think this book sounds like a really good one and I would love to win a copy:) Thanks for a terrific guest post and an awesome giveaway!!

  11. I absolutely love urban fantasy. Sometimes I’m just in the mood for something darker, and I really love watching relationships where there is a slow buildup, and you’re just not sure whether things are going to work out–or not!
    Thanks for a great giveaway.

  12. UF is a nice break from Paranormal Romance. While I like a lot of romance, it’s fun to watch the byplay in a slowburning one. I agree with Rebe about the romance in Ilona Andrew’s series (and it’s still great even though they’re together now), it’s also fairly slow/plays a very secondary role in Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series.

    I would love to get your two books.

  13. I have not read any books from this author but I love paranormal ones. The slow burn concept is great. Thanks for the giveaway.

  14. I have no problem at all with the slow burn romance. In fact, I much prefer it to the “insta-love” that pops up in so many paranormal romances. In fact, all of my favorite series, Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews, Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs, and Jennifer Estep’s Gin Blanco series all feature slow burn romances.

    I have Deadworld sitting on my TBR pile. This has encouraged me to pull it out and move it to the top. Thanks for the giveaway.

  15. Looks good, I’ll be looking for a copy soon. I do enjoy a book that will bring us through the leavela of relationships

  16. i havent read any of these but i would LOVE the chance too!
    i like books that take a while to build.. Ilona Andrews Kate and Curran took a few books to build up. and i echo Jennifer estep and patricia briggs..

  17. Oh wow, this sounds like a great series and it looks like I need to catch up. I loved the interview and thanks so much for the great giveaway


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