BioBooksAwardsComing NextContactBlogFun StuffHome

Thursday, August 04, 2011


(This topic is via request on Twitter. If you have something you'd like me to blog about, feel free to ask.)

I never set out to blend genres. The stories I'm attracted to as a reader are romantic suspense, science fiction romance, and paranormal romance. The books that are straight romance with no action tend to sit in my TBR pile for a very long time. It's the same with movies. Sleepless in Seattle bored the hell out of me and my favorite romance movie of all time is Speed with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock.

I've never gotten many story ideas that didn't involve action, adventure, and suspense along with the romance. The few that I did have are gathering dust in a drawer somewhere. I try to write most of my ideas down because I never know when a piece of it (if not the whole thing) might be something I can use later. I actually had the idea for Deke's curse more than ten years before I wrote In the Midnight Hour. (And I even had his name and the name of his TV series, I just didn't have a heroine for him until Ryne showed up.)

So I've never set out consciously to blend genres, I just wrote what I like to read or watch. I'm also a seat of the pants writer which means I don't spend a lot of time analyzing how I do things, I just do them. I think it helps, though, in genre blending to know what part interests you as the writer most.

For me, the focus is always on the relationship between the characters and the character growth arc. Because this is what intrigues me most, and because this is what the romance genre is all about, my books fit best here. Not that they fit perfectly. I've had some romance readers say what I write isn't romance. It's an adventure story. And to someone who reads straight romance without the outside action going on, I maybe do. But my hero and heroine usually are together, they work as a team, they deal with falling in love, so yeah, they're definitely romance.

Sometimes the reaction to genre blending is so mixed, it frustrated me. Some romance readers say I don't write romance. Some romance writers said I write great romance, but I did "science fiction lite." At the same time, I'm getting emails from SF readers saying, hey, you write great light action/adventure science fiction, but couldn't you leave out the romance stuff? My head was spinning like the girl in The Exorcist. :-)

My books usually end up being the heroines' stories, which would make me a more natural Urban Fantasy writer since that genre seems largely heroine centered. The problem is that what interests me about the world is how it affects the characters; I don't have a great deal of fascination with the world by itself. In Fantasy, the focus is on the world more than the characters.

This isn't to say I have no interest in the world or world building. I do and I spend a lot of time making notes, but what usually happens is this: I get, The Gineal shun those who turn to dark magic. It's a weakness. Then my brain goes, ooh! That's why Ryne is a loner. They think she's gone over to the dark. If I was a fantasy writer, I'd probably go, ooh! What happened in this world to make the dark side so reviled? That question is one I could answer vaguely, but not with the kind of thought someone more interested in every facet of the world could provide.

What I know is that dark magic and the suspicion of dark magic use has affected my heroine from the time she was twelve and it shaped Ryne into the woman she is today. I know how it impacts her growth arc, how she has to learn to accept that she's not destined to fall into the dark arts and to trust herself.

I'm not sure I stayed 100% on topic, but I love action, adventure, and suspense with my romance, and if this makes me a genre blender, so be it.