Why is the concept of the apocalypse so enticing for authors? For many it's the chance to start again and create their own world with their own creative rules. For romance writers, it pushes the hero and the heroine together. Danger is paramount, invaders whether they be in the form of zombies, aliens, robots or a terrible disease, serve to test characters to their limits. It's also a chance to get the heroine and hero together, even if they don't want to be.
In order to survive the hero and heroine have to work together, drawing on their alpha characteristics. Bringing the alpha out in a character is exciting. It makes the hero tough. He has to give orders that would be out of line with today's norms. Could you see a metrosexual playing the part of an apocalypse hero?
But what about the heroine? The evolution of the heroine over time is even more interesting. In past apocalypse scenarios, the heroine could go one of two ways. She could be like the Terminator's Sarah Connor, prepared to fight to the death to protect the ones she loves or as a woman clinging to the hero like Ava Gardner in On the Beach.
Authors, these days, prefer a strong heroine who has weapons training and is both fit and beautiful, a Lara Croft type character. This reflects the changing women's role in society where a Western woman is supposed to do it all in order to have it all. While in real life the reality doesn't fit the fantasy, the change in the gender role makes for an interesting powerful heroine.
The apocalypse concept allows authors to develop exciting settings for erotic romance. While women can be powerful, most are still not as strong as men. In Her Prisoner, I created an environment where the fall out from the apocalypse morphed the characteristics of the few remaining men so that they had super strength and mind-influencing abilities. I made women scarce in order to make them a valuable commodity, important as food and water. My hero, Jake is forced to kidnap one of the few remaining women from a shifter colony. The female shifters in this colony have snake-like qualities. They're fierce, dangerous and hate men unless, like the heroine, Samia , they have too much human in them.
Here's an excerpt from Her Prisoner:
The man stopped and focused his dark, knowing eyes on her. Instead of fear, he gave her a slow sweeping appraisal. "The reports don't do you justice. You're far more beautiful than the images we caught on the spy cameras."
The ground seemed to shift at his words. A beauty? She’d never thought of herself in that way. Something wondrous and uncertain rose within, a fragile belief that perhaps he spoke the truth. She'd always been told her looks were an insult to her race. Anger stamped on the emotion before it had a chance to nurture and grow. "Silence! You will speak when I allow it."
"You want to keep me quiet, Beauty? Kiss me."
He smiled and she noticed he had white, blunt teeth like she did, not fangs. The urge to press her lips to his and kiss like she'd heard people did, overwhelmed her.
In the background, the audience of warriors had grown silent, no doubt they wished to hear and see how she would tease an erection out of this prized captured male.
"Kissing is unnecessary. You have been chosen for mating."
"Make me yours," he growled.