So when I set out trying to find a publisher for Keir, I never once mentioned or thought about the romantic element in the story. I marketed it as a sci fantasy adventure along the lines of Doctor Who and Farscape. It was only after a fellow author took me under her wing and offered to do a read through that I was faced with the truth. It came as a shock when she pointed out that the story was as much a romance as scifi, and that I should be selling it as such. Me? Written a romance? When, to my mind, I'd never read a romance other than a couple of my mum's Georgette Heyer books when I had literally run out of new things to read.
I didn't know anything about romance (a fact my editor later went on to point out as she helped me fix it. I hadn't been entirely wrong as I'd made a very poor effort overall, but my author mentor hadn't been completely wrong either). After submitting to my three top choices of small presses, a romance publisher picked up Keir and I had my first official published work - a science fiction romance.
Then and now, the changing face of Keir.
It was around now that I first met Laurie A Green, the creator of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade. Until then I hadn't even realised the genre exited, and suddenly I found a whole bunch of authors writing similar things. It was like I'd come home. This was a group that understood the difficulty of blending two genres and marketing them as a whole. Back then, science fiction romance didn't even have its own category on Amazon. Many romance readers seemed put off by the scifi element, while the die-hard scifi fans seemed aghast at the idea of icky romance in their SF, despite such pioneering authors as Anne McCaffrey and Linnea Sinclair. Fortunately romance readers are an open minded bunch, and I've had the odd scifi reader come to my books and not be scared away by the idea of smooching in their SF. There is an audience out there. Somewhere. But I'll keep on writing it because I love it.
And so we boldly go forth, writing love amongst the stars or in the far future, at the end of the world or the beginning, with humanity or alien contacts. If you'd like to explore more, please check out the Science Fiction Romance Brigade's fanpage on Facebook HERE or the Twitter account @sfrbrigade or the blog HERE. Or you can check out my own personal favourite SFR reads on my Goodreads shelves HERE.
May the Force be with you. Always.