Hi everyone! Please give a warm welcome to E. S. Yu!
Human Enough, E. S. latest – an enemies to lovers featuring a vampire and a vampire hunter – released on monday and today they’re here with a guest post about the conceptualization and writing of Human Enough!
Maybe it’s because I came into genre romance through fanfiction and later the indie publishing space, and before that I spent most of my time reading speculative fiction, but I’ve always been interested in playing with narrative structure.
For example, I’ve heard dual timelines “don’t work” in romance, but my question is: Why not? Why can’t they work? To be fair, my perspective might be different since growing up I read a lot of epic fantasy featuring multiple points of view with separate converging storylines. The concept is similar to multiple timelines in the sense that you get put on pause for one storyline, which I get can be annoying for some people. But for me, I really like the idea of flashbacks when I want to write a story that’s about something other than how the two romantic leads meet and fall in love, yet how they met and fell in love is also significant enough that leaving those details out of the story would result in not enough context for their current relationship.
HUMAN ENOUGH has the enemies-to-lovers trope (technically enemies-to-friends-to-lovers). It’s one of my favorite tropes ever, since I’m fascinated by how two people can move from initial hostility to compassion and love, and a romance between a vampire and a vampire hunter is as enemies-to-lovers as you can get.
Initially, I conceptualized the story that would become HUMAN ENOUGH in a more linear, traditional way. The story started from the vampire’s point of view. He meets a vampire hunter who’s out to kill the vampire who initially turned him without his consent. They team up, become friendly, and fall in love. (This version of the story was also a historical fantasy in the vein of Castlevania. It was pretty radically different.)
But…I grew bored of that. I had just written another enemies-to-lovers story that progressed in linear fashion, and I didn’t want to repeat myself.
Then, I hit upon the idea of using dual timelines (and also switched the genre and point of view character). Why not start when the enemies-to-lovers relationship has already been established, creating an implicit mystery regarding how the two leads fell in love in the first place, and slowly answer that question with an interwoven past timeline?
HUMAN ENOUGH opens at a point when Noah (the vampire hunter) and Jordan (the vampire) have already been in a relationship for several months. They’re sweet and adorable and loving together.
But how did they get here? How did they fall in love, despite starting off as mortal enemies?
That’s where the flashbacks come in: We jump back in time to see their “meet cute” (more like “meet during an abduction/imprisonment”) and the slow, gradual development of their relationship despite starting off on the worst foot ever. The past and present timelines gradually converge until you understand why, despite their initial differences, Noah and Jordan are willing to do anything for each other in the present day. And honestly, I had a blast writing the story this way. It felt different and fresh from what I’d written before, and I had so much fun juxtaposing their radically different attitudes toward each other at different points in time.
I hope readers enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
When Noah Lau joined the Vampire Hunters Association, seeking justice for his parents’ deaths, he didn’t anticipate ending up imprisoned in the house of the vampire he was supposed to kill—and he definitely didn’t anticipate falling for that vampire’s lover.
Six months later, Noah’s life has gotten significantly more complicated. On top of being autistic in a world that doesn’t try to understand him, he still hunts vampires for a living…while dating a vampire himself. Awkward.
When one of Jordan’s vampire friends goes missing and Noah’s new boss at the VHA becomes suspicious about some of his recent cases, what starts off as a routine paperwork check soon leads Noah to a sinister conspiracy. As he investigates, he and Jordan get sucked into a deadly web of intrigue that will test the limits of their relationship.
Content Warnings: Ableism, graphic violence, allusions to past emotional abuse, abduction, hate groups
E.S. Yu is the author of EIDOLON, a queer science fiction featuring assassins, tech conspiracies, and mental health discussions. E.S. is a lifelong lover of speculative fiction, video games, and superheroes. The stories E.S. writes often reflect darkness and injustice, from the perspective of a multiply marginalized person, while always believing in the power of healing and hope for a happy ending. An immigration attorney in a past life, when not writing, E.S. can be found drinking a lot of green tea and, of course, thinking about her next novel.
Genre: Paranormal Orientation: Asexual (+ace-spec) Orientation: Gay Orientation: Pansexual Pairing: M/M Publisher: Nine Star Press Tag: Enemies to Lovers Tag: Guest Post Tag: PoC E. S. Yu Human Enough