I’m an oddity, in the Romance industry. I know that.
Being an oddity makes marketing and selling books difficult, at best, when the majority of Romance readers are looking for an escape, and the constant assumption that every book is going to end with a Happily Ever After. It’s even more difficult when the Romance industry (publishers and other authors) have perpetuated this stereotype as a requirement of Romance.
I’ve never believed in absolutes. Even science and physics prove to us every day that what we once believed to be true can be altered by the presentation of new evidence. Once, people believed the Sun revolved around the Earth, and that the Earth was flat. These were scientific absolutes of the day. Then Galileo and Copernicus dared to question the placement of heavenly bodies, and Columbus dared to believe there was something beyond the horizon of the known world. Today, we know that the Earth revolves around the Sun, that the Universe is vast and growing with every exploration we make, and that the Earth is a sphere, with no possible way to “fall off the edge.” These are today’s absolutes. Who knows what science will discover, what it might again change, about these facts?
As someone who believes in possibilities, not absolutes, it’s my hypothesis that creative arts should be the least stifled of all areas – it is a realm built entirely on possibilities. Nothing not outside of the bounds of decency should be taboo (obviously, if it’s illegal or high in the “ick” factor for decent people, it’s probably a good idea to avoid it).
I’ve always written dark fiction. It’s part of my muse… an outlet for my tormented thoughts and emotions. But, in my own odd twist, I’m also a hopeless romantic. I believe in true love, in undying love, no matter the obstacles, because I’ve experienced it myself. The combination of these disparate facets makes for a unique style of writing, in which I refuse to shy away from the gritty realities of life and danger, the horrors of death and terror, and the fears that tear people apart, inside and out. But it’s a gritty reality in which love can be a saving grace, the light in the dark, the hope in the depths of despair and agony. Where great acts of courage and sacrifice are done out of love, rather than hubris. Do I always start out with the intention that, somehow, someday, my hero and heroine will be together? Of course. Do I base my entire work on the premise of them being eternally, giddily happy? No way. Nor do I force the issue of them staying together… the question always remains as to whether the torments and demons each face will eventually rip apart everything they build together. Whether outside forces will ultimately seal their fates and remove one permanently from the other’s life.
I know it’s not what people want to hear. They want to hear that love conquers all, that there’s someone out there who will make them deliriously happy for the rest of their lives. Truth hurts – there’s someone out there for everyone, but there’s always something love comes face-to-face with that might be too much to conquer, and no one is ever deliriously happy for the rest of their lives.
So, if you’re looking for a fairytale ending, you should go find something else to read… If, however, you want to explore the kind of love that faces adversity and withstands torture and hells unlike any you’ve likely ever seen in Romance, read the excerpts I post and/or go find my books. You’ll see what I mean.