From Horror to Romance
By Jennifer Loring
Most people, if they know me at all, are familiar with my work as a horror writer, particularly my short fiction. My first horror story was published when I was 21, and over the next 18 years, I had another three dozen short stories, a novella, and a novel published within horror’s various subgenres.
So how did I end up writing a sexy contemporary romance?
The sexy part is easy—I got my start in erotic horror, and I still write it from time to time. (One of my most well received stories includes a grotesque zombie sex scene that I’m still very proud of). People are often willing to risk everything for the one they love, so there’s plenty of conflict and dramatic potential inherent in writing about relationships. Horror and romance are the two genres centered on emotion, and my work tends to have a romantic undercurrent no matter the genre or theme. Taking all of that into consideration, I honestly didn’t find it to be much of a stretch.
Love, or what is perceived as such, can also lead to behaviors like obsession, stalking, and so on. There is an entire subgenre called “dark romance” that features horrific situations such as kidnapping, captivity, enslavement—themes frequently found in horror but with a “forbidden romance” twist. And there’s the ever-popular paranormal romance, which takes some of horror’s most common tropes and explores what happens when a vampire, werewolf, or ghost, among others, falls in love.
Firebird, my latest novel and my first romance, adheres to genre conventions but does get quite dark at times. It touches variously on obsession, child abuse, mental illness, and substance abuse. The hero loses everything that matters to him, a fear I think most of us share, and is forced into a Nietzschean battle with the darkness inside him to succumb to it or overcome it. Doesn’t sound too different from a horror novel, does it?
Horror and romance are more intimately entwined than many people realize. So if you tend to dismiss one because you’re a fan of the other, my advice is to give it a shot. These two genres together, because they portray our most passionately felt emotions—fear and love—paint a vivid picture of what it means to be human.
FIREBIRD by Jennifer Loring
Stephanie Hartwell is a journalist chasing the story of her career...
When superstar hockey player and notorious bad boy Aleksandr Volynsky is traded to the Seattle Earthquakes in a blockbuster deal, Stephanie demands the opportunity to prove herself by scoring an exclusive interview with a man with no love for the media...the same man she once thought, as a naive teenager, she'd someday marry.
An Olympian and Stanley Cup Champion, Aleksandr has achieved every goal he's ever set...
Now expected to carry a failing team on his shoulders, Aleksandr's troubles deepen when he encounters Stephanie after a season-opening loss. His lifestyle of drinking and random hookups has been a futile attempt to forget the beautiful tomboy who stole his heart nine years ago. And worse, fame and fortune have made it impossible for him to trust anyone--especially Stephanie, who is engaged to another man.
Romance rekindles, but tragedy reveals Aleksandr's dark side...
Being with Aleksandr in the first place jeopardizes Stephanie's journalistic integrity and threatens her career, and when he spirals out of control, it reawakens fears from her own history, making her unable to commit to a future with him.
When Aleksandr discovers the truth behind his self-destructive behavior, will his newfound self-awareness be enough to convince Stephanie to give him one last chance...
Or will his revelation drive her away for good?
Jennifer Loring's short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, webzines, and anthologies. In 2013, she won Crystal Lake Publishing's inaugural Tales from the Lake writing competition; in 2014, DarkFuse published her novella Conduits, and in May 2015, Omnium Gatherum released her debut novel, Those of My Kind. She recently signed a deal for a contemporary romance trilogy with Limitless Publishing; the first book, Firebird, is due out on October 20, 2015. Jennifer lives in Philadelphia, PA with her husband, their turtle, and two basset hounds. She is currently at work on the second book in the Firebird Trilogy as well as a paranormal romance.