Welcome to Shop Talk, the Wednesday feature where we chat about book stuff. Today, I want to steal a page from the latest issue of RT Book Reviews and talk about couples. You know, heroes and heroines.
Urban fantasy and paranormal romance tend to take different views on couplehood, as a general rule. Even though the two genres share a lot of DNA (no pun intended), they really are quite different to write, and one of the ways in which they differ is the way romantic interests are handled.
In most urban fantasies, it’t not only the external plot that carries over from book to book in a series. There’s usually a single central character, and the romantic entanglements of that character tend to be an ongoing subplot. Think of poor Rachel Morgan’s seriously bad love life throughout Kim Harrison’s Hollows series (Nick….I mean, Rache, what were you thinking?!). Harry Dresden pretty much has no love life, probably wise considering whoever gets close to him usually ends up in a world of danger. Mercy Thompson and Adam Hauptman are, along with Cat and Bones and Charles and Anna (from Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series), probably the most stable, long-running couples in the genre. Kitty Norville’s another fairly stable one, although I’m a few books behind with that series.
I’m also a few books behind on the Sookie series…is she still with Eric? As opposed to Bill, Alcide, Quinn, or…who else has she dawdled with over the years? Sigh. I love Eric. I did like Quinn, but Eric…
In paranormal romance, the modern pattern is to take a unit of guys, with each book in the series featuring a different hero and his love interest. There is an expectation of, if not a happily-ever-after, at least a happily-for-now. Think Black Dagger Brotherhood, where each book features a different one of the brothers. I love this model, and used it for my Penton Legacy series, with each book featuring a different hero and heroine, but an overarching storyline tying the books together.
My Sentinels books are following the urban fantasy model, and I’m already thinking that if DJ commits herself to one of the guys in her life…what do I do with the others? And how does one keep an ongoing couple interesting and growing? The break up/get back together/break up pattern doesn’t do it for me.
So what do you like? The ongoing, stable couples whose relationships keep growing and changing? Or changing heroes and heroines with each series book to keep the point of view fresh?
As always, one Shop Talk commenter will win a $10 gift card to Amazon, B-and-N, or an equivalent book from the Book Depository if international. Let’s chat!