I’ve been a longtime reader of both fantasy and romance – ever since I was a tween and consumed books by both Andre Norton and Jude Devereaux with equal gusto. Romance novels at that time were dominated by the historical romance subgenre while Fantasy only had the occasional barely-there nod toward romance. Those instances were like finding rare jewels in a sandbox. Basically the two genres were hugely popular with readers who, like me, read both. Regrettably, the twain never met.
I was in college and working at a bookstore when I started to see the first paranormal romances slide onto the shelves. While they weren’t fantasy romance, the genre was stretching its wings into something other than historical and contemporary romance. Yay! While I still wasn’t able to read about elf kings finding love with human, I could read about vampires doing the same.
With the rise of digital publishing, fantasy romance began to find its footing. I remember attending the Romance Writers of America convention in 2008 where I learned that C.L. Wilson had published her Tairen Soul series through Dorchester. A true fantasy romance where the author devoted equal time to both genres, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on those books and start reading. Since then, I’ve seen this wonderful genre fusion expand and grow in popularity, finding its place first among indie publishers and now also among traditional publishers. As for me, not only do I read it, but I also write it and love every moment. Writing stories set in broad fantasy worlds populated with magical beings and saturated in sorcery, where romance between my main characters plays as big a role as the quest they’re on, is my ultimate catnip. I really love my job.