I have loved Sci-Fi since forever. So many possibilities… My husband claims I came from the future. No wonder I was writing straight sci-fi when I joined Romance Writers of America with two completed sci-fi manuscripts. My next novel was a reincarnation love story (set in India where I studied for about a year). I found an agent and my first three novels were published by a small local print press in 2000 and 2001.
But something strange happened while I rubbed shoulders with romance writers. Love and romance started to infiltrate my sci-fi stories. I suddenly understood why my mother used to say: “I don’t like movies without women.” She meant without relationships, without romance. Soon I was mixing genres and writing something no one had ever heard of before: Science-Fiction Romance!
Was it the sultry futuristic romance bordering on erotica? Hell no. We are talking hard core, save the planet and the universe, alien invasion, intergalactic prison type of adventure, with action-packed scenes and gun-toting, butt-kicking heroines. But it was much more. Despite the plot-driven action, the fully developed love story with strong conflicts, three-dimensional characters and sizzling love scenes, maintained the romantic tension throughout. The result was what reviewers later called a breathless page turner.
Everyone in the business said, “You cannot mix these two genres. Sci-fi has a male readership and romance a female readership. There is no market for such books.” As if women couldn’t appreciate a little action in their novels.
But I loved what I wrote, and I wasn’t going to let nay-sayers destroy my dream. If I liked sci-fi romance, someone else would, sooner or later. It took a few years for the market to catch up. In late 2003, a brand new electronic publisher, Triskelion Publishing, made a presentation at my RWA chapter meeting. They were looking for a fresh kind of cross-genre romance, and one of their projected lines was sci-fi romance.
I saw my perfect match. It wasn’t a New York publisher, but no one in New York published what I wrote at that time. Besides, Triskelion projected to break into wide distribution mass market paperback within two years. Impressed by the quality of my previously published award-winning novels, Triskelion took me as one of their first authors. Before long, I was writing new stories on deadlines and published four novels and a novella with Triskelion Publishing. Two of these novels finalled in the Golden Quill Contest. Another was nominated for a reviewers’ choice award, and all of them gathered five star reviews.
But all is not golden when you blaze new trails. Finding contests to enter was a challenge, as they have strictly defined categories and very few include a sci-fi romance or even a futuristic category. Sci-fi romance is usually lumped together with paranormal and time travel, which are very different types of books. I found that to be detrimental to the sci-fi romance genre. Paranormal judges expecting shape-shifters, ghosts or sexy vampires do not necessarily appreciate action scenes involving aliens.
Nevertheless, the sci-fi romance genre started to find its audience. When Triskelion succumbed to its growing pains, I was left with yet unpublished novels frozen in bankruptcy court… But that’s another story.
The good news is, Triskelion opened the market for sci-fi romance. New readers come each day from generations who spent their teens playing video games and want the same kind of excitement in their romantic literature.
Since then, several New York publishers opened sci-fi romance lines. But other sci-fi romance authors still publish through strictly Sci-Fi publisher. These authors have to label themselves as writing Sci-Fi rather than Romance. Not me. I claim both.
Recently, the eBook industry with the advent of the Kindle, the Nook, the iPad and all the other electronic devices, opened new markets for this particular genre. So most Sci-Fi romance is now published in eBooks.
To date, with twelve novels from four different publishers, I am still writing Science-Fiction romance for Desert Breeze Publishing, as well as some contemporary romantic suspense (including paranormal) for Sapphire Blue Publishing.
My latest series, THE CHRONICLES OF KASSOUK, started with the award-winning White Tiger in 2009, and continues with Red Leopard (April 2010), Black Jaguar (Nov. 2010), Blue Lioness (August 2011), and Noah’s Ark (April 2012). You can find out more about my many titles and future releases on my official website, at http://www.vijayaschartz.com
Born in France, award-winning author Vijaya Schartz never conformed to anything and could never refuse a challenge. She likes action and exotic settings, in life and on the page. She traveled the world and claims she comes from the future. Her books collected many five star reviews and literary awards. She makes you believe you actually lived these extraordinary adventures among her characters. Her stories have been compared to Indiana Jones with sizzling romance. So, go ahead, dare to experience the magic, and she will keep you entranced, turning the pages until the last line. Find more at www.vijayaschartz.com