Romance at a Slow Simmer: Writing a Series

Suzanne JohnsonThis is a guest post by Suzanne Johnson, my critique partner, friend, and author of the incredible Sentinel of New Orleans series.

Royal Street – the first in the series and Suzanne’s debut novel – came out last week to well-deserved rave reviews. She’s giving away a copy to a very lucky person who leaves a comment here.

I’d never read an urban fantasy novel before meeting Suzanne, but her books are so creative, funny and clever that she’s converted me! (Plus, the men in this series are smokin’ hot! Hands off, ladies – Alex Warin is mine.)

Take it away, Suzanne!

I was in a Houston bookstore for a signing last week, and the store owner had a confession: “I wasn’t sure where to shelve your book,” she told me. “The romance in it is light for paranormal romance, but it has too much romance to be pure urban fantasy.” Finally, she shelved half her copies in romance, and the other half in UF.

It didn’t come as a surprise. The slow-simmering romance you’d expect to be a staple of a series? Usually, it isn’t slow at all. I knew paranormal romance fans might read my recent release and cry foul for undeveloped relationships. I knew urban fantasy fans would grumble about it having too much romance. It’s hard to find a UF series these days where sex isn’t a given in book one, even if true love trails behind.

Royal Street
In Royal Street, the first book of my Sentinel of New Orleans series, my heroine DJ meets some potential suitors. (I should add here that Dj is a wizard.) First is Alex Warin, a big, macho, black-clad kind of monosyllabic guy who’s not nearly as tough as he pretends. There’s a strong attraction between DJ and Alex, but neither quite trusts the other, plus they have to work together, which raises ethical issues that the plot wouldn’t accommodate logically.

And there’s the undead early 19th-century pirate Jean Lafitte. What girl can resist a handsome, rakish pirate, alive or undead?

Then, there’s Jake Warin, Alex’s cousin. DJ likes him immediately—he seems sweet, he seems uncomplicated, he seems easy. Note I say “seems.”

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