We're delighted to welcome novelist, Sue Tingey, to the Pink Heart Society as she talks about seeing her fantasy novels in a new light...
When you tell people you’re a writer one of the first questions is usually “what do you write?” Up until a year ago I would have said fantasy and horror, simple as that. This slightly changed in February 2016, just before the publication of my second novel in the Soulseer Chronicles series. My publisher sent me an e-mail in early February asking if I’d write a piece for the blog to be posted on Valentine’s Day. I was delighted - obviously, but when I read on I was a little nonplussed. “I wondered if you could do a piece perhaps along the lines of why you enjoy writing and reading romantic fiction”. Do what? I don’t write romance.
After a lot of head scratching I finally sat down and thought about the series of books I was writing for them - and yes – I could actually see why they might think that I did. My novels are fantasy, pure and simple, but in my series there is romance as well. To be honest I probably should have realised when the tagline in Germany was (roughly translated) “A Devilish Love” and the cover was coloured a deep pink rather than the British white. I didn’t even pick up on it when in one review the first book was described as “Paranormal Romance”, though I wouldn’t go quite that far - there are definitely no sparkly vampires or moody werewolves in the series.
At this point you’re all probably thinking I must be a bit dense, but here’s the thing – I had been so wrapped up in trying to get my heroine safely to the end of the story without getting herself killed that it hadn’t occurred to me that what I’d been writing was romantic fiction. I knew I wrote fantasy but to my way of thinking relationships, sex and love are all part of life’s rich pageant so most stories usually touch on these subjects in one way or another. Mine certainly do.
So, do I write Romantic Fiction? I have certainly embraced the concept, I’m now a fully paid up member of the RNA, but I will leave it up to the experts - the subscribers of the Pink Heart Society to decide by ending with what I think is a romantic moment (I quite liked it anyway) from my second novel Cursed, which is out now. The third book in the Soulseer Chronicles Bound is out on June 29th.
To set the scene, the first book Marked is the story of Lucky De Salle who is a social misfit having been able to see the dead for all of her life. It transpires that she is actually half daemon and, through no fault of her own, suddenly finds herself dragged into a power struggle in the Underlands the home of daemonkind. Upon her arrival, and at first unbeknownst to her, she is marked by two higher daemons Jamie and Jinx, which in her case isn’t actually a bad thing as they can protect her while she’s finding her feet in a totally alien world. However it doesn’t take her long to realise it’s her heart just as much as her life that’s at risk when she starts falling for both daemons. In this scene from the second book irreverent bad boy Jinx, the Deathbringer (the title by the way does mean what it says – when he walks in our world death follows) finally tries to tell Lucky how he truly feels. Enjoy!
‘When we marked you we didn’t realise what you were.’
‘That’s right. We’re meant to be together. Together we are more powerful than you can possibly imagine, but you; you’re powerful in your own right and we need to let you come into that power. We can’t always protect you and I doubt you’d want us to. You’re strong, independent and I want you to stay that way, because that’s what makes me . . .’ He stopped and looked down at his feet.
‘Makes you what?’
He started fidgeting. ‘If I let you go down into the Sicarii temple and you never came back James would never forgive me.’
‘Would you care?’
‘Yes, because I’d never forgive myself.’
This was getting confusing. ‘But you were all set to let me go before, what’s changed your mind?’
‘James changed my mind.’
‘Jamie? How? I didn’t see you talking.’
‘We didn’t. He did.’
‘What did he say?’
Jinx shook his head. ‘I can’t tell you.’
‘Shall I go and ask him?’
‘Maybe you should.’
‘Jinx, why must you always talk to me in riddles?’
He took a quick peek at my face then looked away. ‘He said that if I didn’t love you enough to keep you safe I should let you go. And when I thought about that and letting you be his alone, I knew I couldn’t do it.’
‘So this is all about you not wanting Jamie to have me to himself?’ I said in exasperation.
‘No,’ Jinx said his voice barely a whisper. ‘It’s about me being unable to let you go - it would suck the warmth from my soul, and my soul has been so cold for so many years I couldn’t bear for it to be that cold again.’
I think my jaw dropped open. ‘I don’t know what to say.’
‘Say you’ll let us protect you,’ he paused his eyes searching mine, ‘and promise me you’ll never ask me to let you go.’
‘Oh Jinx,’ I said resting my palm against his chest. So warm, so solid; his heartbeat so steady.
Then my fingers were on fire and Jinx went rigid beneath my hand. Something warm and sticky ran down my wrist as Jinx sank to his knees. I looked at my hand, blood was pumping out from between my fore and middle finger and my palm was slick with blood; Jinx’s blood mingling with mine.
Have you read a romance intertwined with fantasy narratives? Share your #RomanceInOtherGenres recommendations with us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Sue's book, Bound, is available for preorder now. For more information about her and her writing, check out his website and follow her on Twitter.