Writers face many challenges. One that might not be as well-known among readers is how we agonize over where our books fit in to the grand world of fiction. I’ve rarely met a writer who hasn’t at one point wondered what genre they should use to help readers connect with their works.
So, what do you do when you can’t find a genre that really fits your work? Why, you make up a new one, of course. And thus, the genre of Horrormance was born.
My books tend to be quirky and, as I’ve said before, not really mainstream. Figuring out what genre to use for them can be hard, especially in the case of the series I’m working on right now, The Blades of Janus.
It has werewolves and fairies, monster-hunters and…hunters who do things with “monsters” other than hunt them (I have mentioned before that almost all of my works have explicit sex in them, right?). Anyway, that sounds like Paranormal Romance, right? Well, not really.
You see, the monsters and fairies in this series are actually created by alien parasites hybridizing their DNA with that of Earth lifeforms or colonizing a human host. Spider + Crab + WTFAlienThing = Redcaps. AnotherWTFAlienParasite + Maggot + Human DNA = Hive Father/Hive Mother or Ghouls. CoincidentallyWolflikeAlienParasite + Human Host = Werewolves.
In this world, the alien lifeforms came from a ship that crashed on Earth thousands of years ago, and the beings they created spawned most mythology and folklore. And the ship is being used to create incredibly futuristic tech, like hoverbikes (flying motorcycles) and a cybernetic prosthetic [only highlight the blank part of this line if you’re okay reading a major spoiler for Pack] for a main character who may or may not at one point cut off her own arm with a high-tech kitchen knife. *ahem* I did say spoiler alert.
So, Scifi Romance? Except the spoiler above is really dark. Like REALLY DARK. Whoever heard of a romance novel heroine doing something like that? (No one I’ve talked to about it so far). Not to mention what she was dealing with that prompted her decision, which is pretty high on the squik factor.
Plus, so far, I’m 2-for-2 with decapitations in this series. That’s right, someone’s head gets removed in both the books I’ve written in the series. Definite horror elements there. To make things more complicated in terms of picking a genre, it also reads a lot like an Urban Fantasy.
Oh, and it’s also kind of a fairytale retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood”. I usually leave that part out when I’m talking to people about it, though.
This is the series of my heart. I know, that’s weird, but there it is. I’ve learned to accept it. I’ve been letting these books unfold as they want, and hope to continue to do so for a long time. And the readers who have discovered Pack love it. More than any other series, this is the one people ask me about, wanting to know more about the world and its events and characters. I don’t want to change how I’m writing it.
I also don’t want to have to keep telling people, “It’s a Super-Dark Urban Fantasy Scifi Romance with Explicit Sex and Heavy Paranormal and Horror Elements.”
A new genre is in order, and I have dubbed it “Horrormance”.
Yes, I’ve had to tell people who were freaked out by certain aspects of the story to read it with the lights on (seriously, if the first half of Pack freaks you out, you need to leave the lights on starting around chapter 22). But the romance is also woven in everywhere in the book.
This is absolutely a kissing book. It’s just also a killing book.
So, I’m calling it Horrormance. I may even put that on the spine of the sequel when I make the print version.
It may be a while before any publishing sites add this as a category, but I really hope some day they do. I know I can’t be the only one writing books where the horror and romance are pretty much equal. And this is certainly not where the Blades of Janus story ends.