Prudence, as I’m sure you know by now, is the main character of The Bloody Maiden. She is an incredibly angry, troubled, & depressed woman who is simply… sick of life. Life has not been kind to her – she had a difficult childhood & at the beginning of Maiden, is working in The Wanderer’s Inn as a barmaid, physically & verbally abused by the landlady. Her experience with people as a whole, & especially men, has been less than pleasant at this point. She’s very anti-men to begin with, having only had minimal good experiences throughout her life. She can’t wrap her head around the idea of falling in love, getting married & bearing children when she can barely bear life as it is. This changes a lot when she meets Cain – the ruggedly handsome pirate Captain who protects her honour by starting a bar fight. It’s by no means instant love, but without Cain, I don’t think Prudence’s mind would ever change towards those aspects of life. It’s definitely a good thing he came along, for both of them.
Whilst it’s not a romance first & foremost, the relationship subplot did become more & more important as I wrote the novel. Initially their relationship was meant to take a very far back seat to everything else going on, but it has blossomed in a way I never expected. Originally when I first planned their relationship, I mind mapped the kind of couples I wanted to take inspiration from, those that had the same kind of reaction to each other. Initially their relationship was akin to Buffy & Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Heathcliff & Cathy from Wuthering Heights, Castle & Kate from Castle, & Charles Vane & Eleanor Guthrie from Black Sails. Eventually though, as initial plans turned into first drafts & those first drafts got changed, the relationship itself developed into something less volatile & angry to begin with, into something much more gentle & loving. Think Jamie & Claire from Outlander, Anya & Dimitri from Anastasia, & Rick & Evie from The Mummy. Ultimately the change was for the better. Outwardly there’s so much anger & hate in The Bloody Maiden, it would have been too overwhelming if their relationship was also like that. The initial annoyance of each other broils down to being so similar – both hotheaded & incredibly stubborn, & that annoyance then changes as they both begin to admit to themselves that there are feelings there, before those feelings are shared outwardly.
The Bloody Maiden wouldn’t be the story it is now without the drastic changes in the relationship. Their relationship is the entire reason that it has become a series, rather than just a standalone novel. Without it, the novel itself would be very different… & I think it would have less impact. It’s a nice change of pace to the rest of the plot that allows readers a bit of a break in between the dark themes & events. Also, it’s nice to give your characters something happy when you put them through so much pain & suffering. The Bloody Maiden is currently with my editor & will be published January 2021! I don’t want to give away too much but if you’d like to know more about the book itself please check out the main page. Do you like having romance within a novel that’s normally quite dark? Are you a fan of any of the couples that helped inspire Cain & Prudence’s relationship? Please let me know in the comments!