Monday, August 22, 2016

How I got converted to Romance

I used to dodge reading Romance. I'm sure many readers (authors or not) are aware of the stigma attached to the genre. After university when I began to focus on reading solely for entertainment, I stuck to what I'd always loved: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Children's Literature - all in novel form.

As I began to write fiction of my own, I stayed within the same boundaries. (For those of you who don't know me well, I started my career in communications, marketing, blogging, and technical writing.) When I wrote Book 1 of The Variant Conspiracy, something changed.

I had a plot and motley crew of characters on my hands that didn't really fit the spec fic kidlit molds. The books were a bit too mature for most YA publishers. They were too NA for hard sci-fi publishers. I'd grown pretty attached to Irina and her story, so I kept trying to find a home for her.

And I started gingerly exploring the world of Romance. I submitted to a few and The Variant Conspiracy got picked up by the thoroughly awesome NY-based Soul Mate Publishing. I couldn't be more pleased to be working with them. They have such a great author support network, I started reading my fellow 'Soulies', one after another. I found the spec fic worlds I loved, with the happy endings I've come to need.

I've always said that I don't want to read or watch stories about how the world ends. I don't want to hear about how the battle is lost, how life falls apart, how tragedies unfold and destroy people. Those are powerful stories which need to be told. Yet, I personally don't have the constitution for them anymore. Maybe it's because I became a parent. Maybe it's because I'm getting older. I need to focus on a hopeful outlook on the world, even in my entertainment.

In my twenties, I had a strong stomach for tragedy. In my thirties - once I realized 'romance' simply meant that someone was in love and the ending would be happy - I started opening up to a gigantic new world of literature, many sub-genres within a massive umbrella. I used to think of the Romance genre as a narrow strip of porn for housewives. Wow, was I wrong!

I feel so silly about it now. Almost silly enough to keep the revelation to myself forever. Almost, but not quite. So now you know. I still don't read erotica or anything particularly racy. But a romance story is always welcome on my TBR list from now on.

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