So…now I write romance?

When I set out to write, it was with the intent of writing almost exclusively dark fantasy. I had my world built in my head, and stories wanting to be told. And that’s just what I did. Except, things happened along the way.

Although I’ve beta read some I’ve never sought out romance. It just wasn’t what I liked to read, and to be honest, I looked down on it for a long time. But then my world took life, and as it turns out, my characters had minds of their own. They had wants. They had desires.

I peppered in romance here and there, but it was never the main focal point of my work, which is why what happened next was so surprising. I enlisted the help of several beta readers, and all of the female beta readers had questions for me regarding the romance angle, and…they wondered where it would go in book two.

Romance was the main element most of my beta readers lingered on, and on a whim, I took a suggestion from one of my readers and wrote a paranormal romance set in my world(a 65k whim.) To my great consternation, not only did I enjoy it, but it was universally liked by all of my beta readers(exclusively female,) which had never happened before. I had always had readers that have enjoyed my work, but many didn’t enjoy some of the elements that went along with dark fantasy/horror. I found it greatly ironic that a genre I turned my nose up at was actually something I enjoyed and wrote well.

So what does this mean for me and my world? Well, for one thing, I’m not going to stop writing dark fantasy/horror, but I am going to start a side project to explore the romance genre. At this point, I have written a couple, none of them are published, but one has gone through an editor, and I’m looking at the markups now.

I wonder how many other writers have been in this position, and what they’ve done when faced with the knowledge that their fun project actually reviews better than their passion project. For me, it was an eye opener and a humbling experience.

Yours in Adventure,

Lark Anderson