I’m not entirely sure which genre Alice and the Warden properly belongs to. I call it Romance because the primary focus is on the relationship between the two main characters, but it’s very different from your stereotypical romance novel — it’s not based on any self-serving fantasies (*cough*50 Shades*cough*) that the ‘romance’ label usually connotes.
I also joke that if AatW were Women’s Fiction, Alice would immediately put her baby in daycare, go to college in pursuit of friendship and career, and desperately seek to regain her “lost” years — while Hackett was relegated to the background as a supportive cardboard cutout. Bonus: She’d call herself a good mother after constantly complaining how much time and energy babies take up.
Then there’s the Damon chapters…
(Yes, I am fully aware that I could never be a Hallmark movie writer.)
It’s always a bit awkward saying, “I write romance,” because people automatically think of books like Twilight — the whole, “Oh, you’re just writing shallow fantasies about rich men off the top of your head,” reaction. Personally, I see it as a very serious topic; one that I’ve applied years of research and real life experience into, because frankly, successfully writing marriage and love actually requires a deep understanding of psychology and relationships, and doing it wrong alienates readers.
And yes, writing romance even requires a philosophical stance, too. I portray “complementary” relationships, instead of the more popular “egalitarian” model.
So maybe it’s time to revamp the “romance” genre to include actual research, to reflect how real relationships work, instead of being purely the realm of self-serving sexual fantasies.
Goal number two: Write romance that appeals to men, lol.