I could see that the romance genre was growing in popularity and selling well, but I couldn’t get there. My genre was crime and thriller … I was comfortable with limited dialogue and lots of action, and I wasn’t sure I could pull off romance writing with all those love-torn soliloquys and passions flowing.
Then, I began to read the genre. I mean really read some books that came highly recommended and not the pile of bodice rippers that my beloved Grandma read with her afternoon Baileys.
I read Kylie Scott’s Stage Dive series to revel in kick-butt women; I read Leisa Rayven’s Bad Romeo to develop my romantic ‘ANX’ and I read Avery – Charlotte McConaghy’s sweeping romantic fantasy for a dose of love with landscape. I began to think, I can do this.
It’s not easy writing about love
But, a funny thing happened while writing romance … I killed someone. No, not in real life, in the book.
That’s when I discovered romantic suspense and had a light bulb moment. I got my hands on an array of romantic suspense novels (check out Sandy Curtis’s Grievous Harm and Sandi Wallace’s Tell Me Why), and I got into the mood for crime meets romance – that delicious mix of dead body with a side of passion.
I was suddenly feeling a lot more comfortable and so my Jesse Clarke series was born – Death by Sugar (Clan Destine Press) and Death by Disguise (Atlas Productions). Jesse is a kick ass detective with a personal trainer boyfriend, Dominic – I know, mystery and good form, is there any more to life?
I still did a lot of the research work required for a crime novel, especially in Death by Sugar where the murder modus operandi is based on a true scientific experiment, but I could enjoy the change in pace by mixing in the love story between Jesse and Dominic.
The moral of the story
So, the moral of the story … and there is one, is that you can still write what you are comfortable with but slip into some new genres.
It is very common to have cross-genre or hybrid genres today, so challenge yourself. Open your writing up to new markets and boldly go where you might never have gone before.
Personally, I loved adding the romantic element to my crime stories as it added a layer of intensity and the chance for some great dialogue and romantic fun.