Thursday, May 6, 2010

Guest Blog & Giveaway with Marian Perera

Today I'm excited to welcome Marian Perera, author of Before the Storm to my blog. Marian, Thanks for stopping by!!

Fantasy and Romance: when two genres are better than one

Fantasy is the Little Black Dress of the genres. It goes with everything – science, romance, history, horror – and usually makes a good thing even better. I love writing in it, and combining it with other genres for the best effect.

The addition of fantasy elements to a romance has to be done carefully. They can’t be wallpaper, because readers expect good world building. And they have to be internally consistent. A land where bride abduction is common is unlikely to be one with a strongly matriarchal culture.

But when the fantasy part of a story is built up well, it intensifies the romance in several ways. For instance, only in fantasy (and science fiction) can the characters come from different species altogether. This can create insurmountable problems, since people can’t usually alter their biology even for those they love.

The classic examples are paranormal romances where one person is a vampire or werewolf, but anything’s possible along these lines. In my world of Eden, people from Iternum are infertile with anyone from other lands. So even though the law in Iternum can be cruel and arbitrary, its people don’t often leave, because there’s only one place in all of Eden where they can have children and put down roots.

Strange customs – which of course require or result in our main characters becoming involved – can be easier to buy in a fantasy land. Arranged marriages aren’t taken for granted in First World countries, but they might be the norm in a medieval land. Ditto for menages and BDSM. Although Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series isn’t romance, it’s a good example of this – the heroine is an anguisette, someone who derives sexual pleasure from pain.

Legalized prostitution is another way a created world can differ from ours. In many such worlds, prostitution is made far more respectable – the Companions of Firefly are gracious and well-educated geishas/courtesans.

In some, though, the profession might be even more despised. Alex, the heroine of my debut novel Before the Storm is a mare, a woman kept for the use of the Dagran nobility. As a result, she’s intelligent and strong as well as charming. But she’s held in contempt, because she’s owned by one man and loaned to others, and because those men know that any secrets she coaxes from them may be relayed to her owner.

What’s unusual here is de rigeur in Dagre, which is like Victorian England reflected in a fairground mirror – the kind which distorts images.

The background of a fantasy world can also intensify a romance. Set a love story in a contemporary town or city and it becomes familiar and accessible. But when it’s in a strange land, that lends the romance the allure of the exotic. A name alone can do this, if it’s evocative enough.

The name “Eden” always reminds me of the beautiful but doomed garden, even though it suggests romance too. There couldn’t be a better setting for Alex’s relationship with the first man who loves her despite her being a mare, and even though she knows they have no future together.

Magic can cause out-of-body experiences and sensory perceptions that deepen sex scenes as well. That’s why I love writing fantasy – it opens up possibilities, making worlds as wide as an imagination. Which is to say, limitless.

Now I have a question for you.
What novels have you enjoyed that combined fantasy and romance?

Bio: Marian Perera is the author of Before the Storm, a romantic fantasy where psychic magic and steam engines clash on the battlefield. When she’s not writing, she studies medical laboratory technology (one more year of college to go!).

She has a website and a blog where she discusses writing and publication. Comments always welcome!


Thanks to Marian I have a copy Before the Storm (e-book) to giveaway to one lucky winner. Here's what you need to do to enter:
  • Leave a comment along with you email address. Also make sure to answer the question that Marian asks at the end of her post.
  • Open to Everyone
  • Winner will be announced on May 12th

Before the Storm -- Out Now
By: Marian Perera

Book Summary: Whore…gift…and unexpected ally.

Eden Trilogy, Book 1

In Dagran society, Alex is the lowest of the low—a “mare”, an object to be used by the nobility. When her owner, Stephen Garnath, gifts her to his greatest rival, she begins plotting her path to freedom. Nothing and no one will ever control her again. Not her degrading past, and certainly not her growing attraction to a man reputed to be an even crueler master than Garnath.

Robert Demeresna is instantly suspicious of such a generous gift. Yet she comes to him armed with only her sharp mind—a potent weapon he can use to defend his people from the enemy. And underneath, an unbreakable spirit that besieges the walls of his heart.

Slowly, Robert chips away at Alex’s defenses, striking sparks that make her begin to believe even a lowly whore like her could be worthy of him. Until Garnath springs a trap so cleverly hidden, war is unleashed before either of them sees it coming. A new kind of war fought with steam engines, explosives—and magic with a killing edge…

Warning: Contains violence, steam engines, steamier sex and multiple explosions of the unstable chemical variety.


  1. One of my favorite series that mixes fantasy with romance is Bianca D'Arc's Dragon Knight series!

    1. Maiden Flight
    2. Border Lair
    3. The Ice Dragon
    4. Prince of Lies
    5. Wings of Change
    6. FireDrake
    7. Dragon Storm

  2. I am reading Anne Aguirre's Hell Fire at the moment and the interplay between the heroine Corinne and the two men Chance and Jesse is quite well done, so I would chose that.

    With my short term memory it is hard to think back too far ! LOL

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    Carol T (International)

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  3. Hi Anna and Marian,

    Marian, I loved reading through your write up for this post. Fantasy and romance are my two favorite combinations. I don't think I could ever get tired of it.

    Some of my favorite novels that combine the two:
    Jeri Smith Ready - Aspect of Crow trilogy
    Patti Nagle - The Betrayal
    Dru Pagliassotti - Clockwork Heart
    CL Wilson - Tairen Soul Serries
    And Elizabeth Vaughan's Warlands trilogy

    I agree with what you said one hundred percent about a romance being more intense when it's set in a fantasy world for the exact reason that it is out of reach, not accessible because it's not a familiar place that already exists. I was a fantasy reader before I discovered romance. I love venturing into the unknown in a fantasy and it's even better when there is a bit of romance added to the mix!

  4. I read a lot of romantic fantasy stories, and have quite a few on my keeper shelf.

    Some of my top favorites:

    Merry Gentry series by LKH
    Lords of the Underworld by Gena Showalter
    Fever Series by Karen Moning
    Mermaid series by Joey W Hill
    Vampire series by Joey W Hill
    Psy/Changeling series by Nalini Singh


  5. The only fantasy/romance I have read it the fever series by KMM and the Psy/Changeling series by Nalini Singh.

    kissinoak at verizon dot net

  6. One that I am reading right now is
    Jenna Black's The Morgan Kingle series - The Devil's Playground.

    but I really love J.R.Ward's Blackdagger Brotherhood series

  7. I've read a lot of urban fantasy which usually combines fantasy elements with romance. A few of the series I've enjoyed are:
    Lords of the Underworld by Gena Showalter
    Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris
    Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost
    Riley Jenson series by Keri Arthur


  8. My favorite would be J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    forwhlz at gmail dot com

  9. My favorite that combines fantasy and romance: Juliet Marillier's Sevenwaters trilogy. She is an expert at combining both which makes for a compelling read!

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

    krae991 at yahoo dot com

  10. Great interview! I enjoy many series that combine fantasy and romance. A few are: the Dark-hunter series, the Immortals After Dark series, and the Psy-Cahngeling series.


  11. The Heart book series by Robin D. Owens is a great combination of romance and fantasy. I really enjoy reading she also has another series...errmmm I think it's called The Summoning series...there's a romance woven into each story.


  12. dragon born

    Jeri Smith Ready - Aspect of Crow trilogy

    are the only two i really remember besides the paranoraml asspect

  13. I can't think of any other than the Twilight series, but even though we hardly ever watch t.v. here, we've all seen Firefly and enjoyed it a lot. (I know that doesn't really count, but just because I haven't read any fantasy/romance novels doesn't mean that I don't want to...)

  14. This book sounds very interesting. I don't tend to read straight fantasy, but I love urban fantasy that has a strong romance. Some of my favorites are:

    anything by Patricia Briggs
    Kate Daniels and The Edge series by Ilona Andrews
    Soulless by Gail Carriger
    Riley Jensen series by Keri Arthur

  15. Thanks for commenting, everyone, and especially to Anna for hosting this giveaway!

    I'm also pleased to get so many suggestions of fantasy/romance novels that I can read over the summer.

    And AmyC - You're a Black Jewels fan too? The first book in that series inspired this one - I wondered what the prolonged effects of being a pleasure slave might do to a woman.

    Mary - Firefly is just plain wonderful, no matter what genre we're discussing. :)



Blog Widget by LinkWithin