I didn’t start out writing paranormal romance. I didn’t even start out writing romance at all–my very first story, back when I was seven, was science fiction. Since then, I’ve written science fiction, fantasy, Y/A, mystery, non-fiction, and of course romance, of several different flavors–paranormal, contemporary, historical, romantic suspense. I think it’s my love of all sorts of different genres that makes it absolutely impossible for me to resist trying to mash them up.
Take my Colliding Worlds series, for instance. It’s paranormal romance, sure. It’s also got some of that medieval/fantastical/historical flavor to it in the castles and swords and lineages. But at it’s heart, the idea for Colliding Worlds is based on science–it’s an idea born from the Many Worlds theory of quantum physics, to be exact. My characters aren’t scientists, so when describing the “colliding worlds” they gloss over anything too technical, but that doesn’t change the fact that my entire paranormal romance series wouldn’t exist if I weren’t a science fiction geek.
So I love genre mash-ups, and I’m not the only one. Crossing genres has become more and more popular in recent years, which is no doubt how paranormal romance finally managed to gain some ground (after existing for a looong time in the shadows…pun intended…). Romantic suspense is a mash-up too, albeit one that’s been around a while. As is science fiction romance, fantasy romance, and post-apocalyptic romance (a small sub-genre, but one I enjoy).
Romance isn’t the only genre being mashed, either. Urban fantasy originally came from a cross between contemporary fantasy and the noir mystery genre. And history–if that can be considered a genre (there are “historical novels” so maybe…?) has been successfully crossed with mystery (historical mysteries like Anne Perry’s, for instance), romance and fantasy, of course, and even science fiction–called by a name you might recognize: steampunk. And if we’re talking science fiction, have you ever heard of Star Wars as a “western set in space?” There’s a mash-up right there. (Let’s not even talk about Firefly–Western, indeed.)
What about you? What are some of your favorite mashed-together genres, or some of your favorite titles that have elements from more than one source?