Farewell, romance, until we meet again

One of the things I have always enjoyed about reading romance is the happily-ever-after. I’m perfectly fine with terrible pain and trauma happening to all of the characters so long as they kiss and hold hands at the end.

And as a romance writer I often enjoy figuring out how I’m going to get these two very different people to agree that being together is better than being apart.

In fact, I have the bones of another paranormal romance floating around here somewhere, which I’ll finish . . . someday. Maybe when all of the other characters who are clamoring for attention learn to sit down and wait their turn.

But in my more recent writing, I’ve been moving away from romance because, how do I say this, sometimes I just want to disappoint a character. And that doesn’t fly in romance.

As much as I love the guarantee of a HEA, as a reader, I also love the unsettled feeling of “anything could happen” that is possible in other genres.

So as I was working on The Wanderer, eventually I realized that having to have a HEA was too constraining for what I wanted Lucinda’s character arc to be. At the time, I had the idea that it would just be for this series and then I would be back to my regularly scheduled romance (like Lessons in Magic and A Certain Kind of Magic).

I love reading and writing paranormal and fantasy romance but somehow this decision for The Wanderer changed my other work, too. My next book, The Mage of Motor Avenue (coming soon!), an urban fantasy, has no romantic element at all. Then another WIP that has sprung from my pen does have romantic elements, but so subterranean you might not notice they’re there.

All of my romances have been male-female, as this is my lived experience, but I have a WIP where the main character seems to be queer. I’m not sure how or if this will unfold (I’m just letting whatever happens happen and then I’ll decide if it merits publication). So it’s been an interesting journey.

I’m curious to see what else is going to bubble up now that I’m decoupling the romance from paranormal and fantasy.