Reading other genres, but not truly getting away from romance (Melissa Robbins)

As a member of WARA that writes more mystery than romance, I tend to read genres outside of romance. But as any great reader knows, romance is in almost any book.

Reading Young Adult books makes me feel young. I'm currently reading Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan. It's Book Two of the Kane Chronicles about a brother and sister who are saving the world using Egyptian magic. Along with his Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Greek Mythology) and Heroes of Olympus (Greek and Roman Mythology) books, Riordan has gotten a generation of kids reading again. Kids want to pick up his books and (shh don't them) might actually learn something in the process. I still get my romance fix with them. In Throne of Fire, poor Sadie likes two guys, Walt, a fellow magician who is dying from the same affliction King Tut died from and Anubis, yeah that Anubis, the God of Funerals or as Sadie calls him, the God of Toilet Paper (humor abounds in the books). For those of you who are familiar with Egyptian mythology may be scratching your heads. Anubis doesn't always have the head of a dog. He's a god. Anubis can be a handsome teenager in a black leather jacket if he wants to be, although Sadie says the kilt and kohl around the eyes, which would look weird on some guys, really works for him. ;0) Talk about your crazy love triangles. I'm dying to know how Riordan solves this girl's romance issues.

Also on my new Nook color shelf to be read is Headwind by KK Brees a mystery about Professor Katrin Nissen, a spy for the OSS in the early days of WWII. Haven't heard of Brees? This is her first published mystery book and a fellow Sisters in Crime Guppies writer (the 'Great Unpublished'). We Guppies are all about reading fellow Guppies' work. I'm all over it, because it features WW2. I have a shelf dedicated to WW2 books, fiction and non-fiction. Other great ones on my WW2 shelf are by Connie Willis, Blackout and All Clear. The story starts in Black Out and finishes All Clear. Waiting for that second book just about killed me. Willis normally writes science fiction and these two books do involve time travel as the characters travel back in time to WW2, but as a writer who is also writing a WW2 mystery, Willis' research is amazing. And guess what? There's romance in that one too. As Polly is stuck in WW2, Colin, who Polly didn't care for at first, tries desperately to find her and bring her back. Tears, people, tears.

Another favorite series of mine is the Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. I know. I know. I've mused about this series before on this blog. Jace is the snarky hero the reader can't help but love. Since the YA fantasy book has demon hunters trying to save the world, I wouldn't call it a romance book with all the demons, vampires, werewolves, warlocks and fairies running around, but it definitely has romance in it. Love is a theme of the book, but not completely for the reasons you might think. If my writing buddy Fran wants to know how I wrote that one chapter (she knows which one), a particular airfield scene, or the scene involving a motorcycle from my work-in-process, it's because I read this series. Learn from the masters, people.

With the joy of being a writer, I also have the privilege of reading work-in-process stories by fellow writers. Although Fran's WIP is a Regency romance, it has mystery in it, so I get the best of both worlds and Cheryl's paranormal mystery has romance in it too, because as she says, a book without at least a little romance would be dry and no fun to read.


Joan Vincent said...

Melissa, the series you mention sound great. I love the combination of entertainment and education in the Riordan books. I'll have to check hem out the authors you mention. Another series you might enjoy is Jacqueline Winspeare's Masie Dobbs series. It's a WWI era mystery series I discovered this summer.

Rox Delaney said...

My oldest grandson who turned 7 in May is fascinated with Percy Jackson, thanks to the movie. His reading level is on the plus side of age 7, but the PJ books are just a tad difficult. He keeps trying, though.

As for romance in all books, yeah, it's a standard. Even the hard-edged detective books from the past had a pretty woman or two that the PI would fall for, at least for a while. Or a secretary that added some sexual tension if not romance, at least.

You obviously enjoy reading!

Penny Rader said...

Great post, Melissa. The Percy Jackson books have been on my to-check-out list for two reasons: 1) I enjoy stories with a mythological background, and 2) I'm always on the lookout for books I hope my grandkids will like.

When I was still working at the bookstore I regularly read a lot of y/a books. They have great stories.

Melissa Robbins said...

Joan, I have the first Maisie Dobbs book in my to-read pile.

The Percy Jackson movie didn't do the books justice. The actors did a great job portraying the characters (Grover really is that funny), but the screenplay was way off.

Rox, I hope your grandson keeps with it. He won't be disappointed.

Penny, all the Riordan books have hilarious lines that kids (and adults) would love.

I will say that the Mortal Instruments series is for the older young adults.

Rox Delaney said...

I heard the PJ book and movie were quite a bit different. Not a surprise. Percy's older in the movie, for one thing. But that's okay. Like Penny, I like a good mythology based story. (grin)

Love YAs, too, and need to get back into reading them again. Need to get back into reading anything, to be honest. LOL