As a teenager, I loved science fiction and fantasy books, but my school library carried very few of them (I read them all, repeatedly). I had little book money and no means of getting to the public library. So an adult friend supplied me with books. He bought them for himself, read them, and if he thought they were particularly good, he then handed them off to me.
I read many now-classic writers. And one day he gave me a book by Barbara Hambly.
I don’t remember which book it was–doesn’t matter because I ended up reading all of them. Barbara Hambly wrote a kind of fantasy I had never seen before. Women were prominently featured in her novels–strong, capable women who felt like real people. And in many cases, they fell in love with equally strong and interesting men.
I realized that this was something that was missing in the other fantasy books I was reading. The characters in those books tended to be one-dimensional, perhaps at most having a single quirk that defined them. And if there was a love story, it was usually just a beautiful woman being “awarded” to the hero for accomplishing his quest. That didn’t interest me much. After reading Hambly, reading about interesting fantasy worlds wasn’t enough for me anymore. I wanted to also read about interesting people. And I wanted to read about their relationships.
Unfortunately, there seemed to be very few authors writing this sort of book. I devoured everything by Hambly and then for a decade found little else that interested me. During this time I read mostly nonfiction.
And then I discovered Lois McMaster Bujold. Bujold doesn’t write what I’d call epic fantasy romance, but she does write stories that combine the two elements I look for in a novel: a fascinating world and fascinating characters. I loved all her work but particularly the Miles Vorkisogan series (science fiction rather than fantasy). I also discovered Ellen Kushner, who writes wonderful romantic fantasy as well.
But these authors alone could not produce material quickly enough to satisfy my craving. Thus I started to write my own. I started off writing a character-based YA fantasy, then discovered the RWA, joined, and began writing epic fantasy romance. I sold my epic fantasy romance series to Penguin believing I was the only person who wrote in this subgenre. It’s not searchable on Amazon, after all, nor does it have its own shelf in the bookstore. How does one even find epic fantasy romance?
Hence the creation of this website. It turns out I was wrong–while we are a relatively small subgenre, there are many authors besides me writing epic fantasy romance. Huzzah! More for me to read. And I hope that this website helps other readers like me to find these special books.