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Working 9 to 5 (pm to am, that is)
by Jessa Slade on November 2nd, 2009

Currently working on: A dreadful synopsis
Mood: Dreading

I read a post on a writing site awhile ago wondering why so many paranormal heroes don’t have real jobs.  What?  Like saving the world doesn’t count?!  Sheesh.


When I was imagining the world of the Marked Souls, I thought about giving my immortal demon-possessed heroes day jobs.  I’ve read vampire rock stars and werewolf business men, fairy mechanics and superhero reporters; certainly there was something gainful for my heroes to do when they weren’t obliterating evil.  After all, they’d had jobs before their possession.  Ferris Archer, in SEDUCED BY SHADOWS, grew up thinking he’d be a farmer like his father before him; then the Civil War and a demon got him.  Liam Niall, in FORGED OF SHADOWS, was a blacksmith before he half starved during the Irish Potato Famine and started pounding the hell — literally — out of demons.

But the logistics of applying for employment in today’s world got a bit harried. 

For one thing, my heroes are immortal.  Which drives the Human Resources department nuts.  The immortal bit negates the demand for health insurance, but how do you set up a 401K with employer matching when the employee will be around forever?  Unless of course he’s brutally slaughtered one night during his second job which puts an unnecessary burden on his co-workers.

Speaking of second jobs, my league of talyan — warriors possessed by repentant demons — roam the streets of Chicago all night, draining the malevolent, chaotic energies from demons of the nonrepenting kind.  So they’d have to take the day shift.  But when would they sleep?  Presumably, as immortals with the strength and speed of their inner demons, they could get their jobs done and still catch a few hours of sleep, but then when would they find time for love scenes?

Nope, a real job just wasn’t working out.  They’d have to be content with battling evil and saving the world.

Secretly, I suspect the reason many paranormal romance authors don’t give their heroes real jobs is because we don’t want day jobs either.  It’s as much work for us to throw obstacles in our characters’ paths as it is for them to overcome.  It’d be a joy to stay home at my computer and confound them all day.  But until that particular dream comes true, I’ll just have to envy them their vocations.  With the exception of the brutally slaughtered part, of course.

If you were a heroine in your personal storyworld, would your day job get in the way, or would it help you preserve your cover?  Which skills would serve you in both lives?

6 comments to “Working 9 to 5 (pm to am, that is)”

  1. 1

    I’m already Super Secretary here at work. My logo is “SS.” I’m waiting for the day that crazies from the 4th reich come after me for copyright infringement. I’ll finally be able to show off my prowess with a letter opener. I splurged for a pure silver one, but I think it was well worth it, ’cause you just never know what you might face in the halls at a research university. Some of the science grad students are a little mad, and have been known to cook up some weird stuff in their labs. As for my cover, it’s easy to hide behind the mild-mannered secretary I am. I’m almost sure no one has guessed my secret identity. After all, there are a lot of secretaries here. Hide in plain site, that’s my motto :wink:

  2. 2

    I love that book cover!!

    I don’t know–I think the forces of darkness can always be confounded by a well-run spreadsheet ….

  3. 3

    That cover is made of win and grin!

    I almost feel like that’s a challenge. I want to write a hero now that has a crappy day job. :) They can’t all be rich or part of some super secret society that sells religious icons back to the Church for… or maybe they can. *g*

    I confound evil every day. I’m a corrections officer. Not a “guard” but an officer. I uphold and enforce the law. I cannot be bribed and for all that I believe in romance, I do believe that “bars can stop love” especially when it’s icky and illegal and just a line to get me to bring in contraband.

    I see the worst that society has to offer so others don’t have to. *g*

  4. 4

    Hilarious post, Jessa. You have a gift for comedy.

    I used to be a college teacher. It would be difficult to grade 500 essays a semester while fighting demons at night. I guess I could do it and still get my grades in, but I might have to give a few incompletes if Hell decided to spawn its minions during finals week… :twisted:


  5. 5

    The spoof cover is awesome! Archer looks, um, good in his new outfit. ;-)

    I think some jobs come with save-the-world job descriptions. Starbucks baristas, for example. There can be no doubt at all that they avert untold horrors.

  6. 6

    In my current WIP, my hero (who isn’t supernatch) has a day job of a sports columnist. My heroine, the superhero, is a tech writer and single mom. So she basically has 2 day jobs!

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