Who doesn’t love to curl up by the fire with a good romance? And there are some great ones out there. Many of the best romance authors also add a little something to the plot, taking their hero and heroine away from the bounds of everyday life and placing them somewhere different. It might be a fantasy world populated by demons, sorcerers and witches, or a society on another planet. Or it may be our world with a few added wrinkles, like time travel, weird scientific advances, or underworld creatures making their way above ground.
When an author mixes romance with mystery, suspense, horror, fantasy, or science fiction, the possibilities for conflict between the star-crossed lovers abound. More and more genres that might be described as “romance plus” are being written all the time. Before the Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You trilogies, who would have thought erotica could also be described as “romantic” in the more traditional sense? Not to mention those who mix romance with pure or urban fantasy or science fiction, such as Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter, Kelley Armstrong, Kim Harrison and Patricia Briggs. New authors are entering the “romance plus” arena all the time. Just think of Diana Rowland with her demons and her zombies.
When I started my own journey as an author, I didn’t realize I was writing romance at all, because what I was actually doing was creating “romance plus” stories. I had story ideas involving a hero and heroine who were attracted to each other despite some gaping chasm between them. In some cases, the chasm was the result of everyday life, but in others it was the result of some weird flight of fancy on my part. My first two stories – Dear John and Destiny – were, much to my own surprise, classified by the publisher as romances. Having at first scratched my head about this categorization, I realized that in fact I was writing romance. But it was romance plus something else, the something else being my original story idea which tended to be a mystery or fantasy that simply happened to have a hero and heroine thrown together in unusual circumstances.
Dear John (Books to Go Now, 2012) is the story of a female postal worker who accidentally becomes embroiled in mob activities when delivering mail to a mysterious Gothic mansion. Destiny (forthcoming, Books to Go Now, 2012) is set in a hypothetical future where robots become more human and humans become more robotic, augmented by science to be immortal. When a man and his android fall in love, they – and hopefully the reader –question what it means to be truly human.
What do I take away from the surprising realization that despite my conscious efforts to write mystery and science fiction I am, in fact, writing romance? I love it. After all, it is only by examining the human heart and all its foibles that we can discover what makes us truly human. If readers can relate to our characters through familiar experiences of love and loss, they can immerse themselves fully in our stories. And the stories are fun to write too. I’m not sure if I’ll ever call myself a “true” romance writer, but I know that whatever I write will have love and heart, and hopefully my readers will want to share the journey with my characters.
Currently available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and many other e-book venues (see BTGN website) for a complete list.
And look out for “Destiny”, coming soon from BTGN.
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