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?