Author of theTainted Love Trilogy
Today we meet contemporary romance author husband and wife team, R & C Christiansen, who write tough love, emotionally powerful novels, not always with a happy ending.
Helen: I am so excited to chat with you about your Tainted Love series. You have been sharing such great snippets of your books on instagram recently that I can’t wait to dive in. I haven’t read them yet, I’ve been holding off, knowing these are going to be an emotional rollercoaster, which I’m not sure I am quite ready for but well worth the read. Tell us about your series.
R & C Christiansen: My latest release, Hush, is part of a five book collection called the Tainted Love Series. The first three books were originally a trilogy that is now rolled into one book with three parts titled Tainted Love: The Complete Trilogy. It’s dark romance, friends to lovers, and the storyline gets deeper and darker with each book eventually ending with a HEA.
Then there is Whisper: A Tainted Love Story which is a tragic non-HEA love story that’s set around two side characters from the original series. It depicts a couple who struggle to come to terms with their past as they push forward in a world they don’t seem to belong in.
Last, I wrote Hush: The Final Tainted Story, about the younger brother of the MC in Whisper. He is a mute man who can’t read or write, and his story ends tragically also as we learn that he is in love with his brother’s wife and has no way to express nor act on it. Again, it is non-HEA and is bound to cause a variety of emotions as Cliff’s struggles are heart-breaking. I do have a trigger warning across the entire series because the subject matter demands it, but in truth, I wrote each book delicately knowing there is a thin line between dark romance and outright darkness.
Helen: This series is about tough love in tough situations. What made you write it?
R & C Christiansen: In the beginning, I had wanted to create a realistic dark romance that centered around real everyday issues people face. I wanted to show that love isn’t always perfect. It can be messy, painful, unpredictable even, but it’s something worth fighting for if two people are meant to be together. The trilogy itself represents all that and more. It’s the story of a couple (Whiskey & Vixen) who battle each other’s demons together and for each other, yet they both come from opposite sides of the spectrum. In the end, it was my fans that asked me to write the other side of the story when it came to the side characters who had no way out of the ‘darkness’ and that is how both Whisper and Hush came about.
Helen: You have such powerful characters in your series, who was your favourite character to write?
R & C Christiansen: That’s a hard question to answer because each character is so unique and strong in their own right. I’d have to go with Ken from Whisper, only because he’s more villain than hero, yet his love for his wife and brother is unparalleled when it comes to the other characters.
Helen: Tell us about your writing process. Do you listen to music or do you prefer silence when you are writing?
R & C Christiansen: Hell yes! I find music is a huge part of writing, it can inspire the feelings I need to harness in order to create the emotion I’m aiming for. Each of my books have playlists in Spotify, and both Whisper and Hush have a playlist included in the book. My current inspirations have been In This Moment, Creed, Palaye Royale, and Linkin Park. My favorite of the bands has to be In This Moment because my God, Maria Brink’s voice is out of this world. If I could compare her to one of my characters, she’d be Vixen from The Tainted Love Trilogy. She’s absolutely incredible.
Helen: I must admit I have certain albums I listen to when writing. And then of course, afterwards I always think of the charcters when I hear the songs. Do you find it easier to plan what you write, or are you a pantser, and let the book go where it will?
R & C Christiansen: I’m a pantser all the way. My novels are mainly written in first person, present tense, so I have the ability to jump inside my character’s minds and act out their scenes on paper. I let them take the lead and tell me where the story is going. My husband and co-writer says the characters are my alternate personalities and sometimes I think he’s right.
Helen: I must adnmit I am the same. I don’t write first person, but I do get into my characters heads to see what they see. I love the immersive aspect. Most writers are great readers; who is your favourite author?
R & C Christiansen: If we are talking traditionally published, I’d have to go with Tara Sue Me. Her Submissive series was phenomenal and I own every one of her books in paperback. If we are talking about my favorite Indie author, I’d have to go with two. One being Janet Olson who is a YA romance author and her series, New Beginnings is incredible. The second I would mention is Monique Edenwood, her Black Oak dark romance series has it all and I’ve read all of her books to date and am in awe.
Helen: Thank you so much for joining me today, just to close us out can you share some of your favourite books?
R & C Christiansen: Oof! That’s a long list. But to keep it short, I’d have to go with Jayne Lockwood’s Closer Than Blood series and Nicci Harris’s Our Thing/Cosa Nostra/ Her Way series. Both series are dark romance, the first being slightly taboo and the other leaning into the mafia world.
About the Author:
R&C Christiansen is a proud Canadian husband and wife team, although Mrs. Christiansen does the majority of the authoring and Mr. C does the mentoring & proofreading. Together they write dark/erotic romance novels and enjoy reading the same genres when they have time. When the Mrs., is not busy authoring, mothering, or wife-ing, she likes to indulge in a glass of wine, kick back, and think dirty thoughts hoping to inspire the next story within.
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