Continuing on the theme of genre writing from Claire yesterday, I want to talk a little bit about what it’s like to write in a niche cross genre like fantasy romance.
Early in my writing adventures I ran across the advice to write the book I most want to read, because if I was longing for that book then there must be other readers out there longing for it too. I’ve taken that advice deeply to heart, which makes writing a joy and marketing a challenge!
The books I most love to read are romances, first and foremost. I’m very attached to the promise of a happy ending, and a focus on the emotional journeys of a character. The deeper the emotion, the more I can root for and identify with the character, the more I love the book.
Yet, I also like some fireworks with my stories, something different and unexpected. A new way of looking at the world, or a new world to explore. Reading is still my greatest escape, and sometimes I really want to leave this world of ours behind entirely.
As a young reader, before I discovered romance, I gravitated towards fantasy and loved books that made me think and wonder and imagine what if…?
I still crave that sense of wonder and the immersive feel of a good fantasy world, but I’m not satisfied without the deep emotion of a romance novel. So I write fantasy romance and try to blend the best of both genres.
It can be a tight rope walk and requires an awareness of the expectations of fans in both genres, since ideally some readers will be there for the romance and some will come for the fantasy elements. Fantasy demands much more in terms of world building and how central the setting is to the story, which can lead to different pacing and word counts. Fantasy novels are notorious for running long by the standards of other genres. Romance tends to be written quicker and tighter, and sometimes quite short. My books skirt the edge of both genres, tending a little long for romance and a little short for fantasy.
Tropes (defined as common plot elements or character types) is another place where coloring outside the genre lines can be tricky. Both romance and fantasy are heavy on tropes but not always the same ones. What is new and fresh to a fantasy reader, may be old hat to a seasoned romance fan, and vice versa. My current WIP involves a warrior woman—a common archetype in both fantasy and romance—and a charming bard—a character type more often seen in fantasy though I hope he is well received by romance readers. I put my own twists on both characters, and bring them to life in a unique way, as I crisscross the line between genres.
If you want to see exactly how I execute this dance, be sure to read my debut fantasy romance novel, Taxing Courtship.
Jaycee Jarvis is a Golden Heart® finalist who writes lush fantasy novels with plenty of heart and magic. Book one in the Hands of Destin series, Taxing Courtship, is available now through KindleUnlimited. Book two, Deadly Courtship will be available in the spring of 2019.
When not lost in worlds of her own creation, she resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children and a menagerie of animals.