I never thought of my debut novel, The Keeper, as a romance novel in any way. But, I came across this quote: “Where the pursuit of extraordinary love, romance and passions is first and foremost” (Paranormal Romance Guild).
Then I started thinking about how that relates to my book. I’d told my more squeamish friends The Keeper was horror lite (no hard core frights, no gore; just a little dark and paranormal). When I heard it called Urban Fantasy, I thought that sounded a bit closer. Paranormal Romance doesn’t quite fit the bill either. But I kept going back to that quote.
Doesn’t every book have an aspect of romance? If you don’t have love, romance, or passion, you don’t have much. As a reader, I love falling in love with a character. As a writer, I try to bring that into my fiction.
One of the first characters I’d ever fallen for was Wolf in Stephen King’s The Talisman. To this day the thought of Wolf and his big pumpkin-colored eyes, his unwavering loyalty (his love for his best friend Jack), and his ultimate demise still breaks my heart and nearly brings me to tears. When I fall in love with a character, it inspires me to develop characters in my fiction that readers will love.
I had aspects of Wolf in mind when I wrote about Olivia. She’s the caretaker in a family of werewolves, and utterly devoted to them as a mother figure. She finds passion with Paul, the one man in her life who understood her and loved her for who she was, not in spite of it. I fell in love with Olivia not because she’s an interesting character in a unique situation and endures some hardships. But because she loves the people in her life with such passion and devotion. Because she’s willing to go to extreme lengths to protect the people she loves the most. Because all she wants is to be loved.
I, as a reader, don’t care about characters who don’t love. I can’t pull for them while they endure tragedies. I just don’t care about them. Without characters who pursue love, romance and passion, you don’t have much of a story, regardless of genre.
Love doesn’t just make the world go round. It makes for great fiction too.
Kim’s website: http://kimdespins.blogspot.com/
Kim’s Bio: Kim Despins lives and plays in Colorado. Her work has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines including Shocklines: Fresh Voices in Terror (forthcoming from Cemetery Dance) and On Spec magazine.
She collaborated with her writing group Snutch to create Tales from the Yellow Rose Diner and Fill Station, a well-received and unique collection of stories that explore some of the ugliest moments in the lives of the diner’s patrons.
The Keeper is her first novel.