In Burning Rubber my hero is Gid. I say hero but he flirts with being an anti-hero if I’m honest. He’s not one for obeying rules and certainly has an air of vigilante about him. He’s was a complex character for me as an author to write about. Gid is a break from the norm, he’s not sweet and romantic, he doesn’t wine and dine and send red roses. He has much more unique ways of wooing the heroine, Sandra and some of them are pretty extreme and well outside the boundaries of the law.
I’ve always had a thing for bikers. It stems back to my teenage years when the guy around the corner, who I’d secretly been crushing on, got himself a seriously nice bike. It was a Kawasaki Ninja, lime green, and to this day I still stare if I see one of these beasts out on the road. They definitely push my oh, la, la buttons.
These stories make for a very gritty read. Did you enjoy writing a non-traditional romance?
Do I enjoy writing non-traditional romance. That's a Yes, a big YES! I really do, I find it more and more compelling the more novels I write. I want to create characters that like people in real life don't always play by the rules or make sensible decisions. I'm not saying stupid, mean or irresponsible characters, just more real and less formulaic. People make mistakes, people feel vigilante, they let passion rule their thoughts and couples from all walks of life hook up and make it work. I want readers to be able to put themselves in the head of a character and understand choices they wouldn't make themselves but still can invest in. That to me, is escapism.
When it comes to writing about the physical act, Harlem says that authors shouldn’t be afraid of including practical details. And they should focus on reality, rather than trying to obscure facts in metaphor.
“A lot of writers aren’t confident enough to write about what’s actually happening. They talk about other things like stars exploding above them, rather than talking about how it actually feels and the emotions,” says Harlem.