Why SFR?

So, some of you may not know my dirty little secret. I have a split personality. Not clinically. Well, not that I know of, anyway. J I only mean that I write in two sub-genres of romance, contemporary and science fiction. I’ll probably write YA and inspirational too at some point and yes, I have pen names for all four.

I’ve heard varying opinions about this. A lot of people I respect in the industry say this is career suicide. I’m pretty sure that’s not true because Nora Roberts writes contemporary, paranormal and science fiction. Lots of others do, too. I get the sentiment behind the advice. It’s hard to do promotions, edits, and new writing for more than one release at a time and in different names, because chances are, there will be overlap. But I’m not published yet, so I’m experimenting to figure out where I fit into the marketplace.

I love all kinds of romance. Growing up, I read a lot of historical. A LOT. You’ll notice it’s not on my list, because I can’t write it. I can’t even try to write it but it’s a genre I continue to read and enjoy. My brain just doesn’t think in historical stories. It thinks in science fiction. I wish I knew why. I’ve spent the majority of the last four months in contemporary land with the New Voices contest and then a request for a full from Silhouette Desire. I’ve finally mailed that puppy and now I’m turning back to my unfinished SFR, which I have been really missing. I enjoy writing contemporary too, but I’ll talk about that in another post.

Buck Rogers and Starblazers were my two favorite shows when I was in elementary school and I’m positive they partially influence my story brain today. A defining moment in my childhood was when Star Wars was released in 1977. I wasn’t allowed to see it. I distinctly remember my parents going to see it and me being stuck home with a sitter, then all my friends talking about it at school. I think that also factors in my today brain because it solidified science fiction as something special and secret. I HAD to have it.

Science fiction, the genre, is pretty hard core, and kind of clinical, so I don’t read a lot of it. Science fiction romance (SFR) is, by contrast, an opportunity to craft some softer themes and write with more readily accessible language. Of course, there’s a risk in alienating (no pun intended) both the regular SF reader and the regular romance reader in one fell swoop because SFR is a blend instead of one or the other.

I’ve been writing stories since I was in first grade and began my first novel in college during a creative writing class. It was about a female bounty hunter, a la Boba Fett from Star Wars, and a male healer from a mysterious planet. I don’t recall why exactly I decided on this reversal of the sexes but it came to me, almost fully formed. It then took me another seventeen years to complete this novel, now called Starskipper. It’s in a virtual filing cabinet, waiting for me to polish and submit it. I still love that story.

If you ask, I’ll generally say I love to write SFR because it merges the things I like to write – infinite, universal possibilities and love, the most basic of all human desires. And I think it’s a little deeper than that. I also like to explore what people are capable of when really pressed and SF provides a great framework for what I imagine those pressures might be. There’s lot of room to explore stuff like my political and social views without being in your face, like the story would if set in present day. In addition, regardless of what we might invent in the future to perform tasks, entertain us, and move us from place to place, human beings will always crave relationships. And that’s what genre fiction is all about, IMHO.

Thank goodness my brain is already wired that way.

How do you feel about SFR? Will you read my books if I promise a great love story that just happens to be set on a future world?

10 thoughts on “Why SFR?

  1. Great post, Kat. I never much liked straight SF. It always seemed there was something missing: the romance (duh). I’m so looking forward to the day I’m holding the shiny new Starskipper in my hands. 🙂

  2. I really love reading SF and cyberpunk and always want to see stories that can meld the alternative reality and human dilemmas of the SF genre with the emotions of the romance genre. I keep waiting for SFR to just take off. One day…

    • Oh, please keep crossing your fingers that SF will take off! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by – incidentally, you were one of the people I was thinking of when I mentioned I still like historical romance. It’s great that historical has remained popular all these years.

  3. Congrats on mailing your ms! I’m proud of you for letting go! 🙂

    I used to love Buck Rogers (*beedeebeedee*) and Lost in Space as a kid. Nowadays, I’m not a huge science fiction buff just because they’re mostly about aliens, and the portrayal of them is usually lame. I love technology type science fiction, though, and I’ve LOVED the little bit of SFR I’ve read from you (can’t wait for more!), so for me, I think it’s about finding the right kind of sci-fi that invests me as a reader. Give me anything with complex relationships and lots of action and drama and romance and I’m intrigued.

    I’m here for brainstorming help when/if you need it! 🙂

    • Thanks – the mailing part was almost as hard as the printing part…looooong lines at the post office. It’s funny, I’ve never been a huge fan of the alien side of SF, just mostly the cool technology. That must be why I love you so much. 🙂 So yeah, there aren’t any monsterous type aliens in my books, just people with big time issues.

  4. I’m not sure about the genre thing because when I think about it, I love reading contemporary, paranormal romance, historical romance, and science fiction romance (my favorites, listed in reverse order). Why not write in the genres we love to read? As long as we have the voice for it, of course. Maybe that’s it. Maybe our voice work for some sub-genres better than others? I’m not sure.

    I would love to see SFR take off! 🙂
    & I’m with Susan, can’t wait to see Starskipper!

    • Well, that’s an interesting point, about voice. I started writing contemporary because I was frustrated with how stilted my voice felt when I wrote SFR. Then I realized that I didn’t have to write SFR without my voice, I just needed to change my perception of what SFR was “supposed” to sound like. I hope that’s part of what will be appealing about my version of SFR…thanks for stopping by! I’m thrilled to have you here. And thanks for the encouragement.

  5. I fully support the mulit-genre approach, at least at this point in my life. (I reserve the right to change my mind once I’m published and pulling my hair out, ha!) As you pointed out, I’m not sure how else you can learn where you really fit. It does divide your (general you) time up, and it may not be the fastest approach to publication, but it gives you room to grow too, because it’s a challenge. As long as you don’t feel pulled in two directions, and so on.

    I am confident that you’ll be able to handle it. 😀

    Hey, semi-on-topic… Have you watched the remake of the tv show V? It’s in season 2 now. I’ve enjoyed the new one, plot holes and all. 🙂


    • Are you kidding? OF COURSE I’m watching V. Elizabeth Mitchell is in it and she was my favorite character on LOST except for the parts where Sawyer wasn’t wearing a shirt. 🙂 Thanks for the congrats and for stopping by! Keep all that snow over there, okay?

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