Earlier this summer, I attended the Romantic Times Booklovers convention in New Orleans, and among the many workshops being given on the business and craft of writing, there was one that particularly interested me. The title was “Writing in the Badlands,” and the topic was books that are hybrids between paranormal romance and urban fantasy. I knew I had to go, because (as I’m learning now that more folks are reading my books) this is apparently what I write.
The panelists were all talented and successful authors in this cross-genre space, and each of them tilts a little one way or another. Kristen Painter, Kristen Callihan, Amanda Carlson and Leigh Evans all gave their take on what makes a book a hybrid, but the question that most fascinated me was how the level of sexual content can shift readers’ expectations. More sex, it seems, and it’s a paranormal romance. Less, and it’s an urban fantasy.
There are exceptions, of course, but this seemed to be the general consensus. And I’m not talking about romance or romantic tension, here—I’m talking about open door, sex-on-the-page love scenes. The hotter the pages, the more likely it’s a romance.
Maybe this is obvious, but I suppose I found it interesting, because some of my favorite urban fantasy series (Diana Rowland’s Kara Gillian series, Nicole Peeler’s Jane True series, Carolyn Crane’s Disillusionist series) are quite sexy. It’s also (no surprise) what I tend to write. But many folks in the room seemed to imply I’m in the minority.
Anyway, because I’m an incurable nerd, I condensed this idea into handy, oversimplified chart form:
I genuinely like stories that fall in all sections of this chart, but my favorites usually show up in the top right. How about you? Is your keeper shelf populated from one section or another?