Deep Dive: Bound by Fate
Did you know I wrote an mpreg book?
I never in my life thought I would write an mpreg (male pregnancy) romance novel — so imagine my surprise when the seed of an idea for one started to grow in the back of my mind after I finished writing Clickbait.
As I’ve already elaborated on several times throughout this series of blog posts, after Clickbait came out I fell into a total tailspin as an author. I didn’t know what to do, what to write, or if I even should write anymore.
More than anything, I think I was just burnt out on writing in general and didn’t give myself time to recharge creatively between books. The thing is, I really, really love writing, and when an idea captures me I find it hard not to run with it — sometimes to the detriment of my health.
That was the case with Bound by Fate. At the time, in a half-hearted attempted to reignite my creative flame, I was re-reading the Game of Thrones series. I’m a huge fan of the series and I’d already read it in its entirety twice, but a third time seemed to be calling to me so I went for it.
It just so happened to coincide with a time that I was also reading lots of mpreg out of curiosity — which is definitely a weird mixture of interests, I admit, but hey, a guy’s entitled to read what and whenever he likes, right?
And then it occurred to me: why hadn’t anyone yet thought to mix these two things, or at least in the way that I’d imagined it happening? What if epic fantasy crashed with shifter mpreg? It would shake up both genres quite a bit and allow for things that would never be possible without the crossover.
Before I knew it, I’d already constructed the larger narrative for an imagined series: four wolf packs, all fighting over sacred, contested land — and each pack would have its own religious or spiritual beliefs about why they should hold control. Throw in a few ancient prophecies for good measure and added intrigue, and it was a recipe for takeoff for my creative brain.
It also allowed me to write some things I would normally never get to write in romance: namely, death. Like I said, Bound by Fate is definitely not your typical romance novel — or typical mpreg, for that matter. Lots of characters die (though I won’t spoil which ones), and there are frequent battles and bloodshed.
Honestly, it was a blast to write. I loved that it gave me a creative break from my usual fare, both in terms of content and tone, and I loved that I could let my imagination run wild coming up with prophecies and old family feuds.
But more than anything else, I was captivated by the idea of turning the traditional Alpha/Omega dynamic in mpreg on its head. For those who aren’t familiar, in most, but not all, shifter mpreg novels (meaning one or more characters can “shift” into animal form), the two main characters fall into either the “Alpha” category or the “Omega” category. In many novels that use this dynamic, the Alpha character is typically portrayed as physically strong, assertive, and protective of his “mate;” the Omega character, which is the one who has the ability to become pregnant, is typically portrayed as the opposite: passive, emotionally strong, and submissive physically and sexually.
There are a lot of debates surrounding this dynamic and mpreg romance in general, which I’m not going to get into here, but suffice it to say that not everyone loves these “traditional” portrayals of the Alpha and Omega roles.
Which is exactly why I flipped the script for my characters, Rhys and Damon. Though Rhys is an Omega who’s expected to follow the rules and produce an heir for his pack, Rhys is the opposite in reality. He’s headstrong, brash, and rearing to join the ranks in the great battle for control of the land. The last thing he wants is to sit by and raise children while other men make names for themselves in war.
Damon, on the other hand, is an Alpha and is likewise expected to secure an Omega mate who will bear his child and continue on his pack and their name. But the problem is that Damon isn’t interested in being assertive. He’s bookish, introverted, and much more interested in healing other people’s wounds rather than creating new ones with his physical strength.
Worse yet, the two characters come from opposing packs who are bitter, bitter rivals in the larger world — because who can resist a good Romeo and Juliet-style star-crossed lovers story, right?
Actually, though the idea for the world the story takes place in was sparked by Game of Thrones and was brewing in my head for quite a while, the desire to write an individual story within that world didn’t take hold of me until I came up with the idea of two star-crossed lovers who each defy their expected pack/gender/social roles in different ways.
In my personal life, I’m very interested in doing just that, so when the opportunity presented itself for me to say something I thought was important through the lens of my two characters in an epic fantasy world, I jumped on it.
That said, I knew going into the project that not everyone would appreciate the liberties I was taking with the genre conventions of both mpreg and epic fantasy. Those from the fantasy camp might find the mpreg aspect too unusual or unbelievable for their tastes, while those from the mpreg camp might be turned off by the higher-brow fantasy elements.
At the end of the day, I couldn’t really worry about either. I bent the rules of both genres where necessary to tell the story I needed to tell, and I’m really happy with the end result.
Like Clickbait before it, I have a started-but-abandoned sequel novel sitting on my computer, tentatively titled Bound by Duty, that I’d like to release someday — and that’s part of the reason I’ve decided to promote the first book in the series, Bound by Fate, this week.
If you haven’t already given Bound by Fate a try, or if you’ve been curious about mpreg and haven’t quite gotten the courage to read a book in the genre, my book might be a good entry point for you. Though, as I said, it’s not quite like a lot of other books in the genre, it’s a good introduction to it overall and — I think, at least — it tells a really thrilling story.
And who knows? If there’s enough interest, maybe I’ll finish that sequel after all. 🙂