From Sexy to Kickass! My journey from erotic romance to urban fantasy.

Right now the major thing in my life is completing my urban fantasy, Skinwalker 1.0. It’s crazy, but I’ve been working on this book now for a few years. I can’t say if it has taken me so long to finish it because I began it while in a major transitional period of my life or if it is because I’ve completely changed genres. I think it’s more of the latter. Plotting this book, pacing it, artfully dropping clues…it’s all been a workout. A fun workout, but a workout nonetheless.

When I wrote erotic romance, it typically didn’t take me more than 3 months to finish writing a book. My Stella Rice series was originally a serial, and I wrote each story in about a month. Erotic romance is a completely different animal than urban fantasy. In erotic romance, plot is important, but sex should be the focal point. Everything should be about getting man and woman into bed as often and in as many ways as possible. The plot adds to the excitement of where, when and how man and woman will end up in bed together. You think I’m joking? My novel, Luna Bay, takes place over the course of about 2 days. In it, my main character is basically trying to save the world. You can imagine how time-consuming saving the world is. It’s not an easy thing to do. So when it came time to writing the sex, I wanted to make it as realistic as possible. So, in those 2 days the heroine and hero have sex about 5 times. Morning, night and one day they get freaky in the afternoon. And every sex scene was looonnnnggg!!! I figured, I’ve made the sex awesome, the hero is a hottie and the saving the world plot is believable. I actually got emails from readers saying they wished I’d added more sex. I wanted to say, the heroine needs to be able to walk for this story to work!

Character is also paramount when writing erotic romance. You have to create a hero that woman want to have sex and fall in love with. Everything about the man has to be desirable. If a reader gets through an erotic romance without getting excited, the writer hasn’t done her job. Seriously! 

The heroine is also important. No matter the genre, the heroine (or main character) HAS to be somebody you like. They have to be someone you’d want to have as a friend, or even someone you’d want to be, because if they’re not, readers are going to lose interest in the story fast. At minimal, readers have to at least like the main character enough to want to spend 300 pages with her!

In urban fantasy, plot is everything (characters are equally important whatever genre you’re writing, but not necessarily to fall in love with!). The story has to be solid, and there has to be an equally solid sub-story. Both the story and sub-story have to be intertwined. You have to drop clues, and since it’s urban fantasy, you have to create the world your story takes place in. You have to create the laws, the geography, the technology…everything! There are so many details! So, I find myself reading and rereading my work to make sure I’ve done my job. I have to remember my characters don’t drive cars, they have cruisers. There are language details to remember, and locations details. I actually have maps of my towns that show where everything is. lol 

As I finish up Skinwalker 1.0, I can’t help but wonder if my next urban fantasy is going to take so long. I hope that since I will have done my first, the subsequent books will be much easier!  I also hope people enjoy reading Skinwalker 1.0 as much as they enjoyed reading my erotic romances. I don’t necessarily want women to reach for their vibrators (Hey, it’s erotic romance. That’s a sure sign of a well written book!), but I want them to finish Skinwalker 1.0 and feel like they’ve gone on an adventure. I hope they finish the book, breathless!

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Kim Ramos says:

    Hey Heather I think anything you write is going to be great. And don’t sweat it we can wait a little longer if you have some tweaking to do. Can’t wait to read it…

    1. Thanks Kim!!!! And the bit of tweaking I’m doing now is going to make a huge difference to the finished product. Well, finished until it goes through professional edits at the publishing house. lol

  2. Patty says:

    So are you leaving the erotic genre for good? Are you still planning to finish up the Stella series?

  3. Dee says:

    “Ha” your comment about readers wanting more sex and statement about the women needing to walk…..

    I think that to pull your readers in….they have to connect with a character and to connect with a character takes time…you want to know how they think and what motivates them …

    I guess I’m thinking the difference is “Series” vs “solo” book. In a series I want to see characters mature and grown… I expect them to be imperfect either moving to fast or to slow and making foolish makes but I’d hope somewhere along the journey in the story that the recognize the errors of their way… romance, sex, etc. yeah that’s nice and its a bonus but there is something also to be said for anticipation.

    I’ve enjoyed all of your books that I’ve read to date and I am optimistic that Skinwalker will be a success.
    Dee

  4. Patty – I’m definitely going to finish the series, but it’s a matter of when. I’ve been debating what I should do with it. I would like to place it with a new publisher, but it breaks so many rules that it’s very hard to place. I spoke with my editor at Ellora’s Cave, and the series as a whole breaks too many EC rules. I was going to offer the series as a free read on my website, but decided against that since I’m not writing erotic romance anymore. I figure my free read should be in my current genre. To be honest, I may have to wait until I place Skinwalker and get some clout to re-release the series. I’ll keep you posted!

    1. Patty says:

      Thanks for the feedback. Very much looking forward to skinwalker because your writing is just plain awesome and your stories always entertaining!

      1. Thank you, Patty! You’ve put a huge smile on my face!!!

  5. Dee – Thanks for the response. You’re are so on target. With a series you can develop the character over time. Develop relationships as well. The character still has to be likable, but she has more time to grow as a person.

    Thanks for the kind words about Skinwalker. From your lips… This is a book I’m very proud of and I’m hoping for a MASSIVE readership!!! lol

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