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Accepting my genre

Don’t hate me. But when I realized that I was, at the core, a romance novelist, I hated myself a little.

There’s a stigma I think, surrounding romance novelists. Harlequin didn’t help that overmuch. Fabio’s covers, while delicious for daydreaming, don’t exactly speak of substance. When people talk about their latest romance novel read, they often preface it with “it’s a guilty pleasure”. There’s a school of thought that a romance novel isn’t as “worthy” as a work of say, historical fiction or adventure.

I’m guilty of that too. One of my favorite series is the In Death series by JD Robb. It’s romance, sex, and mystery all rolled into one. It’s not the most original series. There are more than thirty books now and they follow a pretty predictable pattern. Heroine and Hero are happy. Heroine (a cop) catches a case. Said case either touches Hero in some way (since he’s a rich and powerful man and owns everything on the planet) or case becomes too hard for Heroine to handle and so she has to bring Hero in (because he also has mad tech skillz and can hack into anything). Heroine and Hero fight over case. Or over something else in their life and end up off balance. They make up with hot sex. Heroine solves case with help from Hero and usually one of them ends up in some sort of imminent danger and needs saving briefly before the end where they are again, happy.

See? Formulaic. But it works. The relationship between the two does keep evolving, albeit slowly. The relationships they have with others evolve. Here and there we get introduced to new people in their lives. The cases are all well done, not entirely unpredictable, but not totally telegraphed either. I’m not going to compare those books to Game of Thrones or Huckleberry Finn. But they’re good books. They’re good books because I enjoy them.

But back to the core issue. My novels don’t start out as romance novels. The ideas I have are usually some sort of action/mystery idea. Secrets in Blood (the vampire series I’m working on now) started out with an idea for Evangeline rescuing Nic (the vampire) from an evil band of humans. I didn’t intend for them to have sex. Empire of the Undead, the zombie book, started out with Emily learning that Matthew was not entirely human. Again, there was no romance intended there. But every story I write seems to end up there. As it turns out, I’m fascinated by relationships and sex is just really exciting to write (for me).

So, I’m a romance novelist and I’m proud of it.

My first paranormal romance novel is out now. Give it a try.

By the Fates, Freed

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