I am an avid consumer of romance, fantasy, and mystery in all their multitudinous subgenres, so pardon me if I digress from our usual historical conversation—unless one considers the Bush administration historical. Which it is, of course, but not what most of you want to hear!
My reading preference over the years has always been for stories with romance— for reasons known only to my confused psyche. It didn’t matter if the genre was mystery or science fiction, historical or contemporary, just give me great characters and a hint of romance. So when I first started writing, combining my fascination with history and my love of romance seemed natural. This is not to say that history is my only interest! Heavens, no.
I have an inquiring mind with a creative bent. I love humor and satire. Politics fascinate me because of the human and social motivators behind them. When I first started writing historical romance, I always included the effects of whatever government policies were in effect in the era I was writing about. (I’m currently editing Rebel Dreams which uses the Stamp Act as the villain. In The Irish Duchess, I used the plight of Ireland to add conflict between my protagonists.) Government and politics emerge from the culture of the time and affect the society of the future, so I like my characters to reflect the prevailing attitudes of the time.
Unfortunately, these days, romance readers simply aren’t interested in reading much about laws and government. We want the romance, possibly because the books are so much shorter now and because we’re almost completely limited to the Regency era. It’s a shame, because we could learn so much from the mistakes made in the past.
But now that I’m unfettered by the demands of New York publishers and their limited market, I’m stretching my wings. Only readers can shoot me down! My first step outside the romance genre was Evil Genius, a book I billed as a family mystery—because it was that in every sense of the word. The mystery involved the family, and the book was about a family slowly reuniting. Romantic potential is there, because I can’t not write relationships. Since then, Amazon has taught me to call it a book about a woman sleuth and/or an amateur detective. Already, I’m being tethered!
Back to history: I plotted the entire Family Genius Mystery series during the Bush administration when political conspiracies abounded. Due to market and time limitations, I didn’t publish Evil Genius until 2011. I updated the technology for 2011 and fixed a few dates, but the prevailing attitude is from a few years after 9/11. The series is now stuck in a historical time warp since the books cover a little over a year leading up to the 2012 elections. Does that make them historical or fantasy?
The politics really aren’t the point of the series, they’re just the basis for the satire. The point of the series will always be the family and the various mysteries they walk into. It’s a complicated family! And yes, there is the hint of romance, although the protagonists are still too prickly to admit it.
That is my long-winded way of introducing Undercover Genius, the second in the Family Genius mysteries. Maybe I’m writing future history?
What genres do you read the most? Do you miss anything from the “old days” of historical romance? What would you bring back if you could—time periods? Sagas? Are you a romance addict like me? How much romance do you like to see in other genres? Any favorite reads? (I’m always on the lookout for good books. Wench readers have the most brilliant suggestions!)
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If you are already on the list, you don’t need to reenter. The prize is a $10 Amazon gift certificate. The contest runs until February 28 and the winner will be randomly selected from all active members of my newsletter list. Bonus--those who are signed up for the newsletter by January 31 will get advance notice of a special... Good luck.