My stepmother introduced me to romance novels at the ripe young age of 13. I still remember my first novel, Ashes in the Wind, by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I was captivated by the beautiful heroine, strong, brave hero and the fascinating story line.
I read the book cover to cover in a week. And I was hooked. I read everything by Ms Woodiwiss that I could get my hands on. When I finished with her books I moved on to Shirlee Busbee and the rest is history.
While I was most captivated by historical romance, as I grew older I started to develop a fondness for romantic sci-fi. In fact, anything with a paranormal twist easily captured my attention. The more sups (sci-fi lingo for supernaturals), the better. And, of course, anything that combined elements of magic won, hands down.
It’s no wonder then, that the first novel I wrote was a romantic sci-fi with plenty of magic tossed in. The sci-fi enthusiast in me finally found a way to express the ‘what-if’ ideas swirling in my head, while the hopeless romantic in me, brought Dark Awakening’s characters to life in make-you-swoon moments reminiscent of the romantic greats!
And while romance novels account for a 1.5 billion dollar industry, marketing a sci-fi romance book isn’t easy! Most consumers who read sci-fi books shy away from romance, and women who are die-hard romantics find it difficult to immerse themselves in a world of fantasy (and not the erotic kind!).
Nevertheless, Dark Awakening adeptly brings both worlds together giving readers all the steal-your-breath romantic moments romance enthusiasts crave while staying true to a dystopian world of magic and conspiracy.
Portal fantasy and time travel
One of the things that makes romance books like Outlander, A Discovery of Witches and Beyond the Highland Mist so popular is that they transport us into another time or another world. Dark Awakening and Dark Gathering don’t disappoint in this regard, taking readers to the 23rd century and a dystopian world of magic and tyrannical dictatorship.
If you’re at all familiar with the Georgia Guidestones, the premise behind Dark Awakening will seem familiar: genetic engineering allows the government to control the population and weed out undesirable characteristics. The result is a Utopian society that has lost all sense of individuality and humanity and instead, works to further the New World Order’s twisted repressive agenda. And, if there’s one thing history has taught us, those in power don’t give it up so easily; and those with little to no freedom don’t tolerate rigid control for long.
Likable, believable characters that tug at your heart
At it’s heart, Dark Awakening is a romance story, seeped in tradition, fantasy and war. It’s a love story between two people who never should have fallen in love and yet they do. It’s a story that spans time–that shows how the basic human notions of love, freedom and personal growth and achievement don’t dissipate with time or diminish in conflict, but grow stronger as a result of these challenges and changes.
Dark Gathering continues this exploration and highlights the complexities of love, showing how difficult it can be to marry one’s feelings with a sense of duty and obligation. In Dark Gathering, Caitriona Sinclair loses her memory and as a result, her memory of Duncan MacKinnon and the relationship they were building all but disappear in the blink of an eye. Yet despite this loss, Caitriona’s soul recognizes Duncan’s and it’s this soul-connection that helps her find herself and fulfill her duty to Duncan’s war.
There’s nothing worse than reading a novel where you’re asked to make too much of a leap into a fantasy world. While Dark Awakening takes place in a dystopian future, the events leading to that time period are steeped in current political and religious underpinnings that easily transport you to the 23rd century.
One Amazon reviewer said it best, “I usually am not a sci-fi fan as the plots can be so preposterous, but this one is so close to what could happen that it’s very believable, almost eerily so! The story pulls you in and you feel the bond developing between the characters. Found myself reading well into the night! I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book!” — Stephanie Collins, Amazon reviewer.
One of my favorite fantasy series is Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth books. While Richard and Kahlan battle evil, their magical gifts grow in power with every book. The result is a journey of both personal discovery and an exploration and development of their powers. And the combination makes for a very entertaining read!
In Dark Awakening, Caitriona Sinclair begins her journey with an understanding and awareness of a very simple visionary gift she inherited. As she begins to tap into her power, she soon realizes that her ability to see future events is only the tip of the iceberg–that her powers go well beyond this one skill. By the time readers jump into Dark Gathering, Caitriona begins to develop these other, latent abilities, bringing readers along in our heroine’s journey of self discovery and growth.
Through it all, Caitriona struggles between holding on to the 21st century, power-executive career woman she once was with the very powerful, magically-gifted woman she is becoming.
What do you like in a romance novel? Drop me a line below–I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Dark Awakening and Dark Gathering are available in paperback and digital formats. Dark Storm, the final book in the Dark World trilogy will be available in late spring, 2021.