I am a diehard fantasy fan. I read it. I write it. I watch it. I decorate my house with it. I tattoo it on my skin. My three published novels are fantasy, and I’ve another in the process. I also work as a fantasy editor with Hadley Rille Books. And yet the novel I just wrote and sold is romance (Seeking Carolina, Kensington/Lyrical. October 2015.) The one I am working on now is as well. The publisher releasing this book is best known as a publisher of romance.
Many of those who know me as a fantasy writer have expressed this, eyebrow raised–or, at least, I imagine so. These are the people I must now question whether or not they’ve actually read any of my work, because while it is most assuredly fantasy, it is also romance.
Traditional, HEA romance? No. Seeking Carolina does not fit the parameters of a strict romance either. The story itself focuses at least as much on four sisters as the romantic element. However, the story itself is heavily driven by the romance, as is Finder, A Time Never Lived, and Beyond the Gate. Even my fairy tale, Jingle.
Life revolves around love. Romantic love. Familial love. Platonic love. Having it. Not having it. Wanting it. Avoiding it. Being hurt by it, bereft of it, in it. Love begins in a myriad of ways, but always ends in tears. At least, for one person, even if those tears are of releif. I cannot imagine a story without love at the core. I’m not saying that love and romance must be the focus of a story, or even exist as a plotline. But it’s there. It drives our characters. I would be interested to know if anyone can come up with a story not driven by love.
So when people ask me, “So…romance?” I am going to say, “Yes, romance,” and end it there. I’ve not abandoned fantasy for a more lucrative genre. I’ve been writing fantasy for…egads, twenty years now. It’s time for a little switch-up. Maybe I’ll find some new fans, and maybe–just maybe–they’ll read some of my fantasy work and realize, “Hey, I do like fantasy!”
But that’s a story for another time.