Is author Laura Anne Gilman a romance novelist?May 26, 2008
Our guest blogger Laura Anne Gilman explains how writing contemporary urban fantasy for Luna and paranormal romance for Silhouette Nocturne led her to understand that the two are not so very different after all…
This month, the fifth book of the Retrievers series, Free Fall, hit the stores.
When Luna first acquired the Retrievers series, I was very surprised, since I had envisioned the world of the Cosa Nostradamus, the magic-using community, as a contemporary fantasy, not a romantic one. Yes, the hero and the heroine had a relationship that would grow and develop, but did that make it romance? Did that make me a romance writer? After all, my previous novels were dark fantasy/horror, and despite my many jokes that dating = horror, there usually isn’t all that much crossover.
And then, when my proposals for Silhouette Nocturne were accepted (the first, THE NIGHT SERPENT, will be out under the name Anna Leonard this year) I had to address the question again. Was I a romance writer? Or were the collected masses going to discover that I was, in fact, a fantasy writer under semi-false pretenses, and toss me out on my ear?
The truth is probably somewhere between, as truth often is.
No, I am not a romance writer, in the classic sense of the term. I do, however, write about people who are in love, in all the stages of that love – beginning, ending, and all the bits in-between. Why? Not because I like a happy-ever-after ending (fans will know that my endings are bittersweet, as a rule). No, I write about love because I believe that’s the crucible where humans – and non-humans – show their true selves. The selves they want, the selves they are, and the selves they can become. And sometimes, those selves don’t get a traditional Happily-ever-after, no matter how much they might deserve one.
In Free Fall, Wren and Sergei have been through hell – self-doubts and doubts about each other, external violence and loss, and the immense burden of trying to do the right thing, no matter how badly it hurts. They’re not doing it because they’re heroes, or because they have a Destiny. They’re doing it to make a life they can share, in a world, however flawed, that can accept and support them and their friends. Love isn’t all you need, in the worlds I write. It’s not the answer, it’s not the cure. Love – romantic and fraternal, the love between partners and between friends, and even, yes, between species, since the Cosa Nostradamus is not just humans – is the reason, the purpose, and the weapon they carry, even if none of them would ever willingly admit it.
There’s no happily-ever-after guaranteed in the Cosa Nostradamus. But there is a reason to strive, to get up every morning – or night – and do it again. And that, to me, is the perfect ending.