posted on January 24, 2014 by Faith Hunter

The Romance of Urban Fantasy

1609060191_9780451465245_medium_Black_ArtsWriting romance into a thriller, without letting it take over completely, is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Romance is addictive, we all know it, we all live with the need for it, we all want it for ourselves, and we all want our favorite heroine to get lucky, get happy, and get connected in every way possible with her soul mate. Or her Mister Right Now. Am I right?

And yet, pacing that into a long-running series, letting a number of guys (several to choose from is always better, yes?) appear and grow, and then letting the right one develop into Mr. Right, isn’t as easy as it sounds. Especially when this Mr. Right needs to be able to survive all the havoc of a rogue-vampire hunter’s life. Lemme tell you, this has been hard. HARD!

My character is a Cherokee Skinwalker, a rogue-vamp hunter currently living in modern-day New Orleans, who shares her soul with a mountain lion she took inside her body during accidental black magic when she was five years old. Back in the 1800s. It’s a lot to take in, I know. My mom asks if I was on drugs when I came up with Jane Yellowrock and Beast. I think she’s worried about me.

Back to a long running series. Penguin/ROCs/theHouse just released book seven in the series, BLACK ARTS, with eight more to go. Well, assuming things continue well and readers and fans keep buying the stories. On Jan. 7, BA hit number 16 (tied with 15) on the NYT bestseller lists, so there’s hope for all eight more books. If I get the romance right.

Jane is very picky when it comes to men. Her Beast not so much. Jane wants (in some secret part of her heart) the white picket fence, the human family with the 2.5 kids (and that is sorta scary, that people want half a kid, but that’s for another post), the dog and cat, and the life of peace she has never known. Beast informs her, regularly, that “Big cats do FaithHunter10Smallnot mate for life.” Beast just wants to get laid. Often. By the strongest predator (or predators) around. There is some major internal conflict there, which is only going to get worse, I fear, though so far Jane is charge of the mating rituals.

I don’t write erotica. I can’t keep up with all the body parts in a wild sex scene. (Where did that extra hand come from? Wait. Which one is wearing the corset?) And I don’t really write romance. I write thrillers set in modern world with magic, vamps, weres and witches and various other magical beings. And romance. Slow building romance. And in the work in progress – BROKEN SOUL – yeah. Some sex. Jane finally gets lucky. On page. I’m giving my mom heart palpitations.

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Faith Hunter

Faith Hunter

Faith Hunter, urban fantasy writer, was born in Louisiana and raised all over the south. Hunter fell in love with reading in fifth grade, and best loved SciFi, fantasy, and gothic mystery. She decided to become a writer in high school, when a teacher told her she had talent. Now, she writes full-time and works full-time in a hospital lab, (for the benefits) tries to keep house, and is a workaholic with a passion for travel, jewelry making, white-water kayaking, and writing. She and her husband love to RV, traveling with their dogs to whitewater rivers all over the Southeast.

The dark urban fantasy Skinwalker series, featuring Jane Yellowrock is composed of Skinwalker, Blood Cross, Mercy Blade, the compilation eBook Cat Tales, Raven Cursed, the compilation eBook Have Stakes Will Travel, Death’s Rival, Blood Trade, Jane Yellowrock World Companion (December 2013) and Black Arts (January 2014).

Her Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban fantasy series—Bloodring, Seraphs, and Host—feature Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage in a post-apocalyptic, alternate reality, urban fantasy world. These novels are the basis for the world book / role playing game, Rogue Mage. Rogue Mage contains lots of fiction!

Under her pen name Gwen Hunter, she writes action adventure, mysteries, and thrillers. As Faith and Gwen, she has 28 books in print in 28 countries.

Along with other published writers, Faith participates in an online writing community geared to helping fantasy writers with tips and publishing advice called www.MagicalWords.net

Join the fans at the official Faith Hunter Facebook or follow her on Twitter @HunterFaith. For more, including a list of her books, freebies, & upcoming events see www.FaithHunter.net and www.GwenHunter.com.

9 thoughts on “The Romance of Urban Fantasy”

  1. I always thought one of the differences between UF and PNR was the fixation on mating/sex. I prefer the slow simmering romance and I don’t really need the naughty bit details.

    1. Faith Hunter says:

      Sharon, I’m with your on the naughty details. But sometimes (like in a series with no sex so far through book 7) maybe it’s time to give an on-page scene. So in book 8, BROKEN SOUL, Jane gets lucky.

    2. Pauline E. says:

      I’m with you Sharon. Don’t need to know what hand is where and what’s doing what, though seeing enough to titilate is just fine now and then, so I’m looking forward to seeing how Faith walks us through Jane’s “lucky day”.

  2. xaurianx says:

    Thanks for this post! I do not really need romance in my urban fantasy, nor explicit sex scenes. But now I am so very curious who Jane will be with! I will be reading Dark Arts tomorrow.

    1. Faith Hunter says:

      🙂 Explicit language can ruin any sex scene. The masters of the craft seldom use body part names, and never the crass one. It’s amazing how they can keep the tension without resorting to that!

  3. Mud says:

    There was a team of writers who did not introduce sex into their stories until maybe book 3? Theirs isn’t erotica, it’s romantic. Versus some of my friends who write really good erotica, that is well plotted, but nothing is held back. Both can be done well, both have a fine line with what will work within context. You’ve done a great job walking that line. Just make sure the pants are down or at least unzipped BEFORE they start at it….

    1. Faith Hunter says:

      Oy… Yeah. Note to self!

  4. Pauline E. says:

    Faith, truly well written post about how to balance action thriller and romance. The books do this as a matter of course but your distillation of the issues and how to balance them in this post is excellently done. Thanks for posting, and of course, thanks for writing the Jane Yellowrock books!

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