|DEBORAH B. WRIGHT|
A big thank you to Romancing the Genres for inviting me to the blog today.
Sounds like a contradiction in terms, doesn't it? How in the world does a writer take a setting that seems so inherently grim (Post-Apocalypse) and create something ultimately positive (Romance), and why would she want to?
A little background is probably in order. I've had a love affair with apocalypse and post-apocalypse fiction from the time I first discovered Pat Frank's ALAS, BABYLON in elementary school. Reading ALAS, BABYLON had a profound impact on me, as it has on other writers, and I've loved the genre ever since. The book I'd place second on my all time list has to be David Brin's THE POSTMAN. If you've only seen the crap movie, do yourself a favor -- read the book. There's a reason why it was nominated for multiple awards and won the John W. Campbell Award in 1986.
Man against nature, man against man, morality tales and survival stories. They're all fair game, so long as the stakes are enormous. Buffy the Vampire Slayer could have been written just for me. Not because of the supernatural aspects (I'm not much into vampires), but because the stakes were so high -- "The world is doomed." "Again??" (Hey, no one said the apocalypse had to be humorless.) I don't care how mediocre or absurd the story (I'm looking at you, The Day After Tomorrow), if it's got an Apocalypse theme, I'll at least try to read it or watch it.
What is it about this genre that makes me love it so? I don't actually have a simple answer for you. Partly, it's because I enjoy reading about people striving against incredible odds. I'm fascinated by trying to figure out what it is that can bring out the hero in some, while simultaneously instilling the opposite (however you define it) in others, and I wonder where I'd fall on the spectrum if it were me.
Partly, I suppose, it's also the lure of the huge what if? What if the conveniences and securities of modern civilization were stripped away? Would humanity survive? How? Would we try to rebuild what we had, or would we try to create something different? I'll also admit to a sneaking fascination for wiping the slate clean, though I truly do realize nothing is that simple.
But what about the Romance? Well, I prefer there to be at least some hope in the stories I read and write, and what better way to show that than with romance? Survival without empathy, affection and love would be no survival at all, don't you think?
I'm currently working on a post-apocalyptic fantasy, tentatively titled THE SUNDERED EARTH, in which romance is an integral and important sub-plot. The protagonists are motivated, to a great degree, to take the actions they take and to change into the people they ultimately become because of their romance and the love which grows between them. Without that romance--that love--they would make different choices and be different people.
The same might be said of any romance. I just happen to like writing stories where nothing comes easily and the stakes are enormous. You have to admit, a post-apocalypse setting fits that bill! ~Deb
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