So, I was asked a three-fold question, namely what’s my favorite genre, why I like to write in the genre and what I’d write if I couldn’t write in that genre.
This rather reminds me of a comment that was made to me while I was working on my master’s. Basically I was told I was wasting my talent being a genre romance writer. Talk about the hackles going up. I launched into a defense of the genre and my choice. Now, let’s be straight here—this isn’t an attack on what I write. I understand that, but the question brought to fore that statement and the defensiveness that came with it.
I’m a romance writer. I’m a genre romance writer. And, I’m damn proud of being a genre romance writer. I write romance because underneath this evil persona I’ve spent years creating beats the heart of a hopeless romantic. I am an absolute sucker for a good love story…the kind where against all odds, the romantic leads find true love and live happily ever after, or at least happily for now. I write western historical romance because I came of age with cowboys, the code of honor that was more than implied in their lifestyle, and I fell for the lure of the wide open spaces of the American West. The allure of those wide spaces, mountain vistas, sagebrush steppes, and pine forests hasn’t faded, either. I’ve attempt to live that code of honor those cowboys lived by—listen more than I say, respect others, take the full measure of a man and know I’m not that important until I can order someone else’s dog around. And my first love was a cowboy and very few of us ever forget that first love.
My earliest memories of bed time stories were the ones my grandfather read to me of Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. As I grew up, it wasn’t a long stretch to see those brave, valiant, honorable men were the cowboys I idolized and watched on television through syndicated Westerns and most of the John Wayne Westerns. There is something comforting in knowing that code of honor still exists in some places.
And, as a genre romance writer, there is an unstated but understood contract between me and my reader. There are certain conventions that I have to keep. Oh, I can turn a few on their heads, but for the most part, those conventions are what define the genre. And, I like having predefined conventions to work with, because for the most part, I’m lazy.
Which is why, if I couldn’t write western historical romance, I know I could never write science fiction. I’m not into world building because I never learned how to walk on water. Fantasy might appeal to me if I didn’t have to world build, but I would very quickly be delving back into the romance genre—or at least it would have strong romantic overtones. I honestly can’t see myself writing anything else other than romance. And, if I couldn’t write romance because someone said I couldn’t, I still would—if only for myself.
Allison Webster dreams of having an adventure like the characters in the books she loves. But there is no romance in being pursued by a man who wants her dead for educating the children of former slaves. Unlike the heroines she reads about she doesn't have a trusty companion to rescue her...until she literally runs into A.J. Adams, a former Confederate cavalry officer. Now, she just has to convince A.J. he really is the honorable man and hero depicted in the dime novel she is reading.
Branded a "traitor" for more than ten years, scarred by harsh treatment in an inhumane prisoner of war camp, A.J. Adams wants revenge. Allison Webster's arrival into his life provides the bait to destroy the men who murdered his wife and daughters and kidnapped his little brother. The men pursuing Allison are the very same men he has sworn to kill. Falling in love and admitting he might actually be a hero means surrendering his need for vengeance. Surrender is not part of A.J.'s battle strategy.