Welcome back to Under the Covers, Gena! It’s always a thrill to have you here. I’m excited about THE DARKEST TORMENT because it is Baden’s book but it was a surprise to many readers to hear that he was going to get a book before some of the other characters. Please tell us why Baden’s story was meant to be told first.
When I sat down to write the next Lords of the Underworld book, I had some tough choices to make. Did I tell Cameo’s story, the Lord/Lady readers had most requested, even though I hadn’t set up the final threads for her plot? Did I tell William’s story, a non-Lord but also a reader favorite, even though I had set up his plotline at all? Or did I tell Baden’s story, the character readers knew the least about? In the end, I had to go with the story I was most excited to tell, and the moment, the very second, Baden’s dilemma and heroine came to me, I actually gasped. I shivered. I paced with anticipation, scenes rolling through my head. Writing his book became a need, an undeniable passion, and it’s my hope that my passion shines through every word. Because you get more than a story when you read The Darkest Torment. You get a little piece of my heart.
Let’s talk more about Baden because….wow! He’s amazing, isn’t he? What would you say is your favourite thing about his character?
I loved writing about this man! He’s been physically dead for thousands of years, his spirit trapped in another realm with one of his greatest enemies. He’s finally given a second chance at life—only to discover he’s been enslaved by the king of the underworld, forced to play a deadly game of kill or be killed. He has a literal beast trapped inside his head, and that beast drives him to do terrible things. I love how diligently he fights to remain in control. I love how possessive and loyal he is. I love his protective instincts, but most of all I love how he loves Katarina, a dog trainer who attempts to train him just like her dogs. Can beauty tame her beast?
His heroine, Katarina doesn’t seem like she would be a good match for Baden at first. But you’re really able to overcome the obstacles standing in their way to create a believable romance. What was the most difficult part about writing their story?
I did create quite a few obstacles to overcome, didn’t I? LOL Let’s see…there’s Baden’s inability to touch anyone else without experiencing terrible pain. There’s his slow plunge into madness. There is Katarina’s marriage to another man. Oh, there’s also Baden’s private war with Pandora, and his enslavement to Hades. The most difficult obstacle, however, had to be the progress of Baden’s relationship with Katarina. At first, she is his captive, and I so did not want the foundation of their relationship to be Stockholm syndrome.
Do you have a particular scene that you had the most fun writing?
I do! But I’ll have to set the stage before I can discuss why. So, in the beginning of the book, Baden cannot stand to be touched. Skin-to-skin contact physically pains him. (The reasons are explained in story.) Anyway, one day my back was aching like crazy—too many hours at the keyboard as I hammered away at Baden’s story, I guess. I ended up getting a massage—and an idea hit me like a bolt of lightning! The heroine needed to desensitize Baden’s skin through touch. Immersion therapy. But first, she had to make him want to endure the pain to finally get to all that delicious pleasure. So mad, bad and intensely possessive Baden had to watch another man massage her, and oh, I loved Baden’s reaction!
After writing a contemporary romance series, how did it feel to be back writing adult paranormal?
Like visiting with an old friend. I’ve lived with the Lords of the Underworld since…wow, 2005, I think. Torturing the warriors is just plain, old fashioned fun!
You know I have to ask, have you decided who will get a book next? Please tell us!
Oh, yes! Cameo will be next and her book even has a title: The Darkest Promise. I’ll give you an the very first look at a snippet from the back cover blurb
Lazarus the Cruel and Unusual rules his kingdom with unwavering focus: to build his army and annihilate his enemies. Nothing distracts him—until Cameo. He is relentless in his quest to make her smile…and seduce her into his bed.
What’s next from Gena Showalter?
So many things! Dark Swan, a story in the Blood Red Kiss anthology with the amazing Kresley Cole and Larissa Ione. Dallas finally gets his happily ever after, and I had sooooo much fun writing it. His heroine is not the one readers expect—she’s an experiment gone terribly wrong…or perhaps amazingly right.
Then there’s Lifeblood, the sequel to Firstlife. I have to share one of my favorite snippets:
It’s time to do what I was born to do. It’s time to arise and shine.
Whatever I face—be it war, persecution, hunger, simple threats or my Second-death—I will not be deterred. Night will be replaced by day, and those who cry in the dark will rejoice in the morning.
The day is about to dawn. Time is short. Let the battle begin.
Then comes The Darkest Promise, Cameo’s story. (I just finished the rough draft and Lazarus made me shiver multiple times. So naughty!) Then comes Can’t Hardly Breathe, the next Original Heartbreakers book, and it features Dottie and the uber sexy Daniel. Imagine knocking on your crush’s door while only wearing a raincoat and a smile…but when you flash your goods he turns you down. Ouch! But what happens afterward is positively explosive.
I cannot wait for Dallas! Best news I heard all day 😉 Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions today! Always a pleasure to have you here and can’t wait for everyone to read THE DARKEST TORMENT!
Thanks so much for having me over!
by Gena Showalter
Released: May 31st 2016
Series: Lords of the Underworld #12
Published by Harlequin HQN
New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with her most explosive Lords of the Underworld tale to date, about a fierce warrior on the brink of sanity who will stop at nothing to claim the exquisite human with the power to soothe the beast inside him…
Driven to his death by the demon of Distrust, Baden spent centuries in purgatory. Now he's back, but at what cost? Bound to the king of the underworld, an even darker force, he's unable to withstand the touch of another...and he's quickly devolving into a heartless assassin with an uncontrollable temper. Things only get worse when a mission goes awry and he finds himself saddled with a bride—just not his own.
Famed dog trainer Katarina Joelle is forced to marry a monster to protect her loved ones. When she's taken hostage by the ruthless, beautiful Baden immediately after the ceremony, she's plunged into a war between two evils—with a protector more dangerous than the monsters he hunts. They are meant to be enemies, but neither can resist the passion burning between them...and all too soon the biggest threat is to her heart.
But as Baden slips deeper into the abyss, she'll have to teach him to love...or lose him forever.