FYA fave Heather Demetrios stops by to celebrate the release of her latest novel, Bad Romance (available June 13th). Take it away, Heather!
My new novel, Bad Romance, isn’t one of those yummy bad romances where you have a bad boy with a heart of gold (hey there, Damon) or an evil mastermind you can’t help but fall for, at least a little bit (hiya, Loki). My bad romance is more like watching a horror movie and shouting at the TV, “Don’t go up the fucking stairs, you stupid girl!” But you know she’s gonna go up the stairs and get totally murdered. Spoiler alert: my girl, Grace, doesn’t die. Bad Romance was originally a memoir, but I changed it into a novel in large part because having to write my ex and reenact the worst two years of my life made me want to throw up in my mouth. So I created Gavin: sexy rock god with a sweet streak that hides his possessive nature and need for control. Hmmmm, sounds a little bit like Christian Gray without the kink or the Benjamins. Gavin is, at first, a wounded tragic hero, adorable in his head-over-heels devotion to Grace while also rocking out onstage—the kind of rocking out that would convince a nun to start stripping. It’s really hard not to fall for him a little bit, which is totally my cruel, cruel plan. I wanted to take readers down the rabbit hole of an abusive relationship, to show what it’s like when you’re deep in it. The book is written in second person, which is sometimes annoying when not done right, but I like to think I did it right. I want you to see how it can feel so impossible to get out, like your hands and heartstrings are completely tied and you’re totally screwed for life. It’s a claustrophobic mindfuck that’s really hard to make sense of unless you’re in it. Grace has some pretty awesome best friends, though, and she lives for the stage, so drama nerd action keeps things from being heavy all the time. Still, the book is ultimately a testament to resilience and finding that light at the end of the tunnel.
In honor of the novel’s title (thank you, Gaga), I’ve gone and sought out some of my favorite bad romances in pop culture. I’m, not surprisingly, one of those girls that always wants the bad boy—just not in real life. But for serious: if you’re in a bad romance or you know someone who is, please head on over to the book’s Tumblr: I’ve got a kickass break-up playlist (middle fingers up…), tons of resources, a relationship quiz, inspiration, and more.
Here are some of my favorite bad romances, in no particular order:
Jody and Cooper (Center Stage)
Dude even drives a MOTORCYCLE onstage. But seriously, how could she not fall for the bad boy of ballet? He’s a rebel, has a killer grin, and is wanted by all. It’s kind of a no-brainer, but good thing Jody wizened up and ultimately chose the nice guy.
Elena and Damon / Klaus and Caroline (The Vampire Diaries)
I mean, duh, right? These are some seriously challenged relationships—the whole inter-species thing makes things complicated, not to mention the boys having violent streaks and being tragic with a capital T. The whole I hate you/I love you thing can get old after a while, but I can’t help but keep watching. If you need to catch up, there are some pretty fabulously bad montages of their relationships on YouTube—I especially enjoy the one of Klaus and Caroline going at it in the woods.
Blair and Chuck (Gossip Girl)
I know all’s well that end’s well but DAMN was their love life a mess. Chuck is totally despicable most of the time, but I couldn’t help falling for him, too. I don’t know why I dig rich assholes! I’ve only dated one in real life, honestly. And I use the term dated very liberally here. I was DYING when Blair had that whole revelation and decided that God didn’t want her to marry Chuck and that if she did, he’d die. And then that prince and his dad and all the messes they made…You’ve gotta admit: they’re diabolically perfect for each other. No two people deserve each other more than Chuck and Blair.
Bella and Edward (Twilight)
Look, I’m not gonna lie, I love the SHIT out of Twilight and would have fallen for Edward Cullen in a hot second, but the guy messed-up her car so she couldn’t drive the hell away. Talk about controlling and possessive. Also, the paternal thing—that could get old. And him freaking walking out on her for a whole book to protect her—grrrr. But, then, the hotness. What’s a girl to do? #badfeminist
Piper and Alex (Orange is the New Black)
You know things are bad when you still want the girl that landed you in the slammer. But, damn, Alex. She’s so cute with her glasses and wry wit and I love me a girl that doesn’t give a fuck. These two have some major issues and a lot of baggage on both sides, but I’m rooting for them, anyway. You can’t help who you love.
Sookie and Vampire Bill (True Blood)
What is up with the over-abundance of vampire bad romances? Note to self: do not fall in love with a vampire. I was never into Bill—every time he said Sookie I laughed out loud and he’s not my type, anyway. Now, Eric—that’s another story. Oh, that Viking and his nefarious ways. I think the thing about vampires being in love with vulnerable human girls (who can, at times, be kickass if they muster up the courage) is that it’s just irresistible to have a crazy powerful guy love you more than anything in the world: even if he does have to suck your blood on occasion.
Cersei and Jaime (Game of Thrones)
Hot damn. I love that George R.R. Martin just went there. I’m not caught up on the books, but I am on the show and, to me, it’s looking like Jaime really needs to wake up and see how shitty she treats him, but that’s just me. I suppose sleeping with your sibling would create all kinds of tension…I like them best when they’re united, but seeing them on unequal footing keeps things interesting. What I like best is that they are totally unashamed about their feelings for one another.
Scarlett and Rhett (Gone With The Wind)
Bringing it waaaaaay back to my very first contact with a bad romance. 7th Grade, staying up late and reading with baited breath—this was the first time in my life where I realized that what I read on the page could create a reaction in my nether regions. I was like, whaaaaaa? I was so upset at the end (that is some cold shit to do to a reader, Margaret Mitchell) that I gave in and bought the sequel (written by another author). That one was all kinds of crazy, but had loads of Scarlett and Rhett action, so it was all good. The great thing about this bad romance is that they are two forces of nature—there really isn’t a victim here. Scarlett is such a badass bitch and Rhett is such a scoundrel—actually, they’re kind of the precursor to Blair and Chuck, except that Rhett is way more of a hustler than Chuck could ever be. Plus, he gave us the ultimate bad boy line: Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.
So here’s to the bad romances: may the assholes get their due and may we only see them in fiction—because nice guys who don’t drive bad boy cars and wear leather jackets really do take the cake.
Thanks for stopping by, Heather! Check out Heather's website, or find her on Twitter (@HDemetrios), Pinterest, or Facebook. And check out the rest of the stops on the #ChooseYou Bad Romance blog tour!
Bad Romance will be available on June 13th (aka tomorrow!).