07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Writing in a Sub-Sub-Sub-Genre

Sue Swift in Venician Mask

First, what’s that?

My newest novel is Temptation in Tartan. Like most of my stories it’s a pastiche, partaking of several genres at once. It’s (take a deep breath) vampire Gothic historical erotic romance.

That’s a pretty specific niche, but lucky for me, a lot of readers like to mix and match genres and sub-genres as much as I do.

Second, how?

I decided to write this book looking at several factors. To begin with, I love to write historicals. I love the research. It gives me a great excuse to fool around on the web a lot, researching how people used to live as well as events to include in the book.

In Temptation in Tartan, the most important event shaping the book doesn’t occur in it: the defeat of the Highland Scots at Culloden Moor in 1746. That battle broke the back of the clan system in Scotland, as “Butcher” Cumberland, the general who led the English against Bonnie Prince Charlie, ordered that every Scot lying injured on the battlefield was killed. Thus, the strongest of the Highland males were murdered.

As the result, my hero, Kieran Kilborn, the second son of Laird Kilborn, becomes laird as his father and older brother died at Culloden. My heroine, Lydia Swann-Williston, is left a widow when her husband was also killed at Culloden, fighting for the English. Their union is arranged by her cousin, one of Cumberland’s aides, in order to pacify Clan Kilborn by marriage rather than by the sword. Clan Kilborn got privileges other clans were denied—they were spared the worst of the reprisals, bore weapons with impunity, and wore their tartan.

 I wrote a vampire Gothic after selling the sequel, Highland Vampire, to Harlequin Spice Briefs. Highland Vampire is a contemporary vampire Gothic set in the Highlands. After selling it, I wanted to build on its success, but couldn’t see continuing the story as a futuristic. So I took a page out of Tolkien’s book and decided to write a prequel. (Did you know that The Adventures of Tom Bombadil was written long before The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings?)

And as for erotic romance—that’s what I write. All romance is erotic, but with varying degrees of graphic sex. In some books, the bedroom door is closed and the sex is alluded to rather than shown. In my more racy books, such as Temptation in Tartan, the sex is on the page and clearly described down to each groan, lick, and suck.

As Bertrice Small put it, “Sex sells.”

And for me, portraying a fulfilled romantic relationship includes portraying the sex. A lot happens between a couple when they have sex. Sex, at least in a story, invariably changes the relationship. Couples become more committed—or less—when they have sex. Sex can create or resolve conflicts between the hero and the heroine, or it may create or resolve conflicts for other characters. For example, when Kieran brings Lydia back to Kilborn Castle, one of his former lovers feels compelled to…

Oops. That would be telling!

No spoilers here—guess you gotta read the book!

Temptation in Tartan reached #1 on the All Romance Ebook bestseller list (for historical-other) and spent an entire week in the top 5. It can be found wherever ebooks are sold, including:

I can be found here:
Website: http://www.suzdemello.com
Twitter feed: @ReadThis4fun
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SueSwift
Blog: http://www.fearlessfastpacedfiction.com

Best-selling, award-winning author Sue Swift, a.k.a Suz deMello, has written over fifteen novels, plus several short stories and non-fiction articles. She writes in numerous genres including romance, mystery, paranormal, historical, contemporary comedy and erotica. She’s a freelance editor who’s worked for Total-E-Bound, Ai Press, Liquid Silver Books and Etopia Press. She also takes on private clients.

Her books have been favorably reviewed in PW, Kirkus and Booklist, attained the finals of the RITA and reached the top ten on a bestseller list.

A former trial attorney, she resides in northern California. Her passion is world travel, and she’s left the US over a dozen times, including stints working overseas for many months. Right now, she's working on her next manuscript and planning her next trip.


Sarah Raplee said...

Hi Sue; thanks for guesting with us here at RTG.

"vampire Gothic historical erotic romance" - Love it! I can't resist crossing genres, either.

I'm trying to get a handle on what the Gothic genre entails. What elements of your story are Gothic?

BTW, I love your cover!

Judith Ashley said...

Sue, I love hearing why authors write their stories and how the elements come together. Thanks for sharing yours with us.

Suz said...

Thanks, both of you, for your comments. Sarah, for me, the essential components of a gothic are a damsel (possibly in distress) a broody hero and a scary castle or manse. The castle and the hero must harbor a terrible secret, preferably life-threatening :)

That's a little tongue-in-cheek, but you get the drift. I read a lot of Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart when growing up! They were really well-written thrillers .

Diana Mcc. said...

Suz, I love the idea of crossing genres and what a group of genres you've chosen! To be with the one you love for eternity, how awesome is that?

Suz said...

LOL, my vamps don't exactly function in that way, but you'll have to check out the book to see what I mean.
Thanks for your comment!