I consider myself a moderately romantic person. So why can't your heroes and heroines catch a break in the intimacy department, you might ask. Well, of course, because I'm writing heroic fantasy and I must make my protagonists work and suffer to do their great deeds. And, indeed, I view romance in a literary sense - what the dictionary refers to as "an exciting and mysterious or exotic quality found in heroic literature" that can elicit sympathetic emotions on the part of a reader. I love tropes like [identify the book!] amnesia, telepathy, two souls in one body, love that transcends death, the forced cooperation of people entirely unsuited, enslaved or otherwise imprisoned heroes, the doubting hero, the hero/heroine who gets shafted by the gods, etc. etc. These are storylines that have intrigued us humans since we began telling stories. I like to think I give a different spin on them, of course.
As for the nitty gritty of romantic love in my books, there are two questions I get asked a lot.
- What about Seyonne and Aleksander?
- Which is your favorite romance in your books?
1. Yes, I considered having Seyonne and Aleksander be physically attracted to each other. But then I decided that that was not the story I was trying to tell. Their relationship was a deep and abiding love and respect that could not be categorized as brotherly, father/son, romantic, or even exceptional friendship. I can't ever picture them as casual buddies. Though they shared an intimacy that no one in their world would ever match, there is a reason that Seyonne persisted in called Aleksander "my lord" all the way to the end of the books. And Aleksander didn't fight him on it.
2. As for which romantic relationship I like the best? That's a much harder question. Seri and Karon are obvious, and yet, I think that Jen and Gerick in Daughter of Ancients might be the romantic relationship I had the most fun with. They each had so far to come. You can't give yourself to someone else fully until you see yourself as a worthy gift [Carol's pop psychology for the day]. And it was the relationship that I gave myself the leisure to develop through lots of story time. I regret that I just didn't have the time to develop Valen and Saverian's relationship more fully. I think they will be very much fun, and...who knows? I just couldn't take up more pages with it - I was pushing page limits in Breath and Bone as it was. And then there's Aleksander and Lydia. Another reason Seyonne didn't have a chance, even if he'd been interested. I went looking for a perfect foil for Aleksander, and again, despite the lack of page space for her, I was delighted with the woman that stepped forward.
As for Aidan and Lara...their relationship was not about romantic love at all. Maybe it could be, maybe not. [I do know this answer, but I'm not telling.] You'll have to decide it for yourself. Or, if I ever get the chance and the inspiration to write more... So many books.
Happy Valentine's Day!