Welcome all dreamers, fantasists, bibliophiles, and romantics. Join me Mondays and Fridays for speculation about other worlds, exploration of the human heart and soul in fiction and fact, sojourns in history and science, advice and tidbits in the realms of story, and thoughts on everything in between...

Friday, June 7, 2013

Guest Post: Amnesia in Fiction and G*I*V*E*A*W*A*Y with Jessi Gage

Today, I’m honored to welcome a special guest, Jessi Gage. Jessi is the talented writer I met some years ago who challenged me to reach even higher in my own work. This week, her second novel, Road Rage, came out, and this one has a special place in my heart because I had the pleasure of watching it grow from its infancy into the compelling story it is today.

So, with no further ado, let me turn it over to Jessi Gage.

Thank you for hosting me today, Laura! I'm excited to visit your blog today to dish about one of my favorite romance tropes and how I gave it my own unique spin.

We romance readers love a good trope...or twelve. Some of my favorites include the alpha who needs a mate (paranormal), the wealthy rake marries the destitute or dishonored noblewoman (historical), the modern-day heroine falls for the historical man (time-travel), the vampire who can't help but read people's thoughts finds sweet relief in the special human woman whose mind is a blank to him (paranormal), and the old standby, tough chick decides love is for idiots and masochists.

Then there's the amnesia trope. Some love it. Some hate it. But one thing's for sure. It sells. Whether you love or hate it, it seems people gobble it up. What's the draw of an amnesia trope? A couple of things, I think, and I'm by no means an expert since I've only read a handful of books with this trope.

First, we love a good power imbalance. In DEAD TO THE WORLD (Charlaine Harris), the dynamic between Sookie and Eric in books 1-3 gets flipped on its head for book 4. Suddenly Sookie's the one calling the shots and making provisions for the vampire who can't remember who he is. It's delicious because Eric had been such a jerk to her at times, and we get to see Sookie rise above all that and extend a grudge-free helping hand to the vampire.

Another thing we love about the amnesia trope is the fresh perspective it lends to the character suffering the amnesia. Suddenly a bad breakup can be looked at through a lens without the emotional pain. New discoveries can be made and new chances can be had as a result. This happened in Brynn Paulin's FORGOTTEN FAMILY, a menage novella in which the heroine (Marina) in a m/m/f triad loses her memory. Her heroes (Kyle and Marcus) bring her home from the hospital and treat her with kid gloves. As she recovers her health, she learns that she had actually left these men, but she doesn't remember why, and they're not telling. It's a great foundation for a mystery. It gives her a chance to get to know them (and their bodies, because this is definitely erotica) without the emotional burden of whatever drove their happy family apart.

Another way amnesia can be used to drive a novel's tension is by giving characters a chance to overlook their prejudices. In TEMPTING THE BRIDE by Sherry Thomas, the heroine (Helena) has a chance to get to know David, the man she has hated with the fire of a thousand suns since their adolescence minus the prejudice her fully cognizant self holds toward him. Without that prejudice in the way, she has a chance to learn what a fabulous man he has turned into, and what a wonderful father he is to his daughter who has Asperger's Syndrome (I think).

In my new release ROAD RAGE, I add my own twist to the amnesia trope. My heroine, Cami, gets in a car accident, and is in a coma in the hospital. But she is given semi-corporeal form in the bedroom of the man who caused the accident that harmed her. But while she's a "ghost" she can't remember who she is or what happened to her. I did this to give her the chance to get to know her hero, Derek, without the obvious prejudice she'd have if she knew he was the man who acted out at her on the freeway and caused her injuries. While Derek has done something unconscionable, he is a good guy at heart, and once he takes responsibility for his anger and the bad decisions he has made, he becomes a hero worthy of compassionate Cami.

What is your favorite book with an amnesia trope? What draws you in or turns you off in an amnesia trope?

Thanks again for having me Laura!

Below is the blurb and links for ROAD RAGE. I hope your readers will check it out! If they leave a comment here or on any other blog post or review site where ROAD RAGE appears this week, I’ll enter them in my giveaway for one ecopy of ROAD RAGE plus a $10 Amazon gift card.

Lashing out in anger, construction worker Derek causes an accident on the freeway. His truck escapes unscathed, but he can’t say the same for his conscience. Plagued by nightmares of the wreck, his only comfort comes in the form of nightly visits by a mysterious woman who interrupts his dreams with sensual caresses and words of solace.

Cami has no idea who she is, until she wakes in a hospital bed and learns she’s been comatose due to a car wreck. Her visits with Derek must have been a dream, so why can’t she shake the feeling he was a real man who truly needed her help?
When Derek learns his mystery woman is none other than the driver of the car he cut off and she is fighting for her life, he must decide: Is he man enough to face her and ask forgiveness, or will he run away and avoid the consequences of his anger, yet again?
CONTENT WARNING: Sex with a perfect, imaginary dream girl who really isn’t imaginary
A Lyrical Press Paranormal Romance
Buy Links
Jessi Gage links


  1. Thanks for sharing such an interesting topic today, Jessi!

    My favorite amnesia story is the movie 50 First Dates. I like it because it takes a more unusual approach to the amnesia. Instead of losing all her old memories and being able to retain new, the heroine cannot form new short term memories, which was always a fascinating subject to me when I studied psychology. The hero has to find ways to court her even though, when she wakes every morning she has no memory of him. I highly recommend it. Hmm, I think I need to talk my husband into renting it again. :)

  2. I'm not sure I ever read any other amnesia stories and I'm drawing a blank on movies I've seen (does that mean I'm suffering a bit of short-term amnesia, LOL?). Over all, it's not generally a plot point I care for but you did an awesome job with it in Road Rage.

  3. Thanks, ladies. Yes, 50 First Dates is a good one. I love Drew Barrymore in it. It's so sweet. Heartbreaking in places, but overall uplifting.
    Thanks again for having me today, Laura! What fun!