These days, I’m writing series in contemporary erotic romance, contemporary magical realism, fantasy romance and adult fantasy. What’s funny to me is, they don’t necessarily feel like very different stories to me.
Rogue’s Possession, which comes out next week, is the second book in my Covenant of Thorns series from Carina Press. When I first started shopping the first book, Rogue’s Pawn, I called it Urban Fantasy. (Which shows you just how much any author knows about genre, right there.) Actually, I called it an urban fantasy that takes place in a non-urban landscape. I know, I know – everybody else cringed, too.
But the reason I thought that is because my heroine, Gwynn, aka Dr. Jennifer McGee, is a contemporary woman. She’s a neuroscientist, a feminist and sees the world through an analytical, logical perspective. She’s as contemporary as they come – she just happens to have ended up in Faerie.
It’s interesting for me, because I alternate writing my fantasies like this, with the shorter Facets of Passion, books. My heroines in those are all very much like Gwynn in their sensibilities. They are career women, with ambitious natures and modern concerns. Their relationships with the heroes are reflections of our contemporary world – juggling self-fulfillment with the more prosaic concerns of social acceptance and whose job will dictate where they live.
Gwynn faces many of these same problems – only her personal journey is about dealing with a man who is fae, and so more alien in his thoughts and feelings than most, and with a totally unfamiliar world. To me, the romance itself has a contemporary feel, but the setting is no longer her contemporary one.
Which is why it couldn’t be Urban Fantasy – most of the genre-deciders agree that an Urban Fantasy has to take place in an urban landscape. Not suburbia. Not the countryside. Not a small town.
Now, a romantic suspense can take place anywhere. So can a contemporary romance, as long as it’s current day. A historical romance (so I hear) can now take place anytime from World War II and back, in any place.
So, why does setting matter so much in some genres and not others? Am I totally off base here? I’m curious to know what you all think!