About three-plus years ago, author Colleen Gleason emailed me to ask what folks meant by “dark romance.” I came across her question a few days ago while digging through my files (a text document called ‘Write about this stuff’ dated 2007 is hard to pass up, yo) and found that a combination of pondering, Twitter, wikipedia, and everyone else’s wisdom makes for a good exploration of what it means to write “dark romance.”
So today’s column at Kirkus, The Dish Behind Dark Romance, explores the topic, because interestingly enough, it’s often easier to give examples of what constitutes ‘dark’ in our genre than a succinct definition of what it means:
The term is often used exclusively with paranormal, apocalyptic and urban fantasy romances, and that is not always the genre in which you find dark content. Anna Campbell, for example, writes dark emotionally gripping romances that are set in Regency England. Inez Kelly’s new contemporary romance release, Sweet as Sin, (Carina Press, 2011) which has received some amazingly positive reviews, features a hero with a terribly haunting emotional past (which is, alas, the reason I have some trepidation about reading it. I want to, but am honestly scared of my own emotional reaction). Author Jaci Burton recommends Larissa Ione and Lara Adrian as two authors who write “twisty, angst, heavy, deeply emotional” dark romance as well.
But I think author Jessa Slade said it best, that dark romance is “when love doesn’t ‘save the day.’ Just saves their souls. Day is still f’d.” Yup. That could sum it up well, regardless of genre.
So, as I asked over at Kirkus, what dark romances do you adore, and, more importantly, how would you define the term? Do you like dark romance? Or are you like me, craving it when in the mood for it, but feeling a bit of trepidation otherwise when confronting a book that might hurt a bit?