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Jeffe Kennedy | The Emergence of Fantasy Romance

The Tears of the Rose
Jeffe Kennedy




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The Twelve Kingdoms #2

December 2014
On Sale: November 25, 2014
Featuring: Amelia
336 pages
ISBN: 075829445X
EAN: 9780758294456
Kindle: B00KFP7YCW
Paperback / e-Book
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Also by Jeffe Kennedy:
The Promised Queen, June 2021
The Sorceress Queen and the Pirate Rogue, April 2021
The Golden Gryphon and the Bear Prince, February 2021
Under a Winter Sky, November 2020


When I first started writing Fantasy Romance, I didn’t know that’s what it was.

After all, none of the books I read said “Fantasy Romance” on the spine. They were Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Science Fiction and Romance. I would sort through the back-of-book blurbs, searching for the kind of story I loved – one with solid world-building, beguiling magical elements and meaty romance. Finding a good blend of those became an enduring quest.

It turns out I’m not the only reader who felt this way. And now we’re seeing the emergence of Fantasy Romance as a strong genre in its own right. From talking to readers – both those who like the same books I do and who like what I write – I think this is a natural outgrowth of a couple of generations of female reader coming into our maturity.

See, when I was growing up and raiding the library for everything I could lay my greedy hands on, I loved Science Fiction and Fantasy. The alien worlds, the magic, the shapeshifters, vampires, witches, sorceresses, spaceships, dragons – all of it rocked my world. However, so much of it was male-oriented. Don’t get me wrong – I read those, too. But the big scores were finding books with interesting female characters. Ones who did more than get rescued or who apparently had no lives off the page. Back then I didn’t have ways to articulate that dissatisfaction, I only knew that they bored me. Now I understand that many of those female characters simply served as foil for the male characters’ adventures.

No wonder I got bored with them.

When I found books with not only well-drawn female characters but who were sometimes the protagonists, and heroic ones, I glommed onto them. Writers like Anne McCaffrey, Patricia McKillip, Mercedes Lackey, Vonda McIntyre, Tanith Lee, Anne Rice, Robin McKinley, Andre Norton, Madeleine L’Engle and Mary Stewart gave me great fantasy to chew on with wonderful female leads. Occasionally male Science Fiction and Fantasy authors wrote from a female point of view – like Stephen R. Donaldson and Jack Chalker – and I devoured those, too.

Then I discovered Romance. Or, more accurately, I defied my book-snob mother and sneakily acquired a paperback Romance novel from the used bookstore down the street, to at last sate my driving curiosity about those torrid covers I saw in the grocery store. (Back then, libraries did not shelve such books – no no no.)

That Romance novel delivered everything I hoped it would. Sexual tension, adventure, swooning romance, sex scenes! And, most of all, the story focused entirely on the heroine. How she thought, felt and acted drove the story. Even in those older romances, where the heroine had little power and was swept away by a powerful hero, she had an agency I rarely found in other genres. Thus began a lifelong love of romance.

While some of my Fantasy and Science Fiction female authors offered up some romance – particularly Anne McCaffrey – they rarely gave me what the Romance novels did. And I wanted BOTH!

Turns out, I’m not the only one.

And those girls, those adolescent and teenage readers have grown up and we’re writing in that intersection. We’re creating these stories with women following the classic hero’s journey, in complex worlds with magic, politics and religion forming a tapestry for the epic sweep of a stirring epic fantasy. With our vast and varied knowledge of the Fantasy canon – including all the Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy that’s burgeoned over the last couple of decades – we also know and love the Romance genre. Better, we’re finally in a place where we aren’t sneaking off to buy those illicit books not good enough to be shelved in the library. The sense in the SFF world that romance dilutes the genre hasn’t gone away entirely, but tons of us love to have both.

I think we’re entering a new golden age of Fantasy Romance, with smart writers who write female protagonists in dense worlds with epic plots and who don’t shy away from romance. For me, in particular, part of a woman’s journey in life involves dealing with love, intimacy and passion. It’s also not her entire life. So I love writing about the men who play a role in helping my women become the heroes they need to be. Always good to have someone in your corner when you have to save the world!

That’s what Fantasy Romance is all about for me.




3 comments posted.

Re: Jeffe Kennedy | The Emergence of Fantasy Romance

First of all, I wanted to say that the cover of your book is
so beautiful, that it totally took my breath away!! Second,
I had no idea that your books aren't being stocked in the
libraries!! That really is being discrimanatory, and in
fact, I plan on checking in the libraries in my area, to see
if they in fact stock your books, and if not, why?? I have
not read any of your books yet, but can see the love and
passion that you have put into writing your books, and would
love to read your latest book this upcoming Winter. I plan
on putting it on my TBR list, to start on it after the
Holidays, once everything dies down, and the snow starts to
fly. I'm scheduled for minor surgery after the 1st of the
year, and this will give me a chance to catch up on some
reading. Have a wonderful Christmas, and a Happy New Year!!
(Peggy Roberson 11:27am December 19, 2014)

Hi Peggy! So sweet of you to check on my behalf. I think some do and some don't - it really depends on who's in charge of deciding what the library buys. Good luck with your surgery! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, too!!
(Jeffe Kennedy 11:49am December 19, 2014)

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