I’m writing this post as part of WriYe’s Blog Circle, and the full prompt for February is “the role of romance in your novels.” As an author of romance, I’d say it was an intregral part, heh.
Why though? In most romance novels you have two characters who belong together. Most of the time they’re unaware of this. Good characterisation gives them a belief or wound that prevents them from pursuing relationships – be that romantic or familial. A romance charts not just how the hero and heroine (or variation thereof) get together, but how the situation they find themselves in challenges their false perceptions.
In TIN CAT, while Amber has a fantastic support network, she doesn’t believe that love can happen to her because her boyfriend left her. He couldn’t cope with her being in a wheelchair. When Grey enters her life, she imagines he’ll be the same but, despite not having much experience with disability (he comes from a future time where science and technology means it’s mostly invisible) he sees Amber and not her chair.
Meanwhile, Grey is carrying guilt over “causing” the death of his previous ward. Even though he’s being punished for his failure, he doesn’t consider himself worthy of reparation. Keeping Amber safe heals a large part of that, but it’s her acceptance of him as he has that does more.
Obviously, I’m not going to go into further detail – you’ll have to read the book! – but the reason Grey’s travelled back in time also effects the relationship. It’s what pushes them together and also is the crux of the conclusion.
In short, romance is integral to my plots, both as part of my characters’ development and as the relationshop element. It’s important to me to strike a balance between the romance and the action, and to keep the story moving forward.