Paranormal Romance? Urban Fantasy? Historical Fiction? All of the Above?

I still don’t know exactly how to classify the novels from the Loving Husband Trilogy. Sounds funny, that statement, especially since Her Dear & Loving Husband has been out since April 2011 and now I’m working on the third and final book in the series. I remember when I became familiar with the genre Urban Fantasy last summer. Not too swift for someone who writes about vampires, right? I’m not sure how the term escaped my notice. I had heard it before, certainly, but for me the term Urban Fantasy conjures images of a futuristic city—like the Jetsons with their flying saucers and talking toasters. Since I don’t read novels that fit into the science fiction/fantasy genre, I didn’t pay much attention to the label Urban Fantasy.

Before, my best guess for the genre of the Loving Husband Trilogy was Paranormal Romance, and yet I was never entirely comfortable with that label. I have nothing against romances; in fact, I love them. But for my vampire James Wentworth and the human woman he loves, Sarah Alexander, I wasn’t sure the romance genre fully described their story. James and Sarah’s love, how it grows from tentative caring to passionate connection, is a major part of their story. And James is a vampire, which fits in nicely with the supernatural aspect of Paranormal Romance. But the romance, while important, isn’t the only facet of the novel. I know from several romance novelists that romance novels tend to follow a specific formula. I’m not so good at following formulas, so I wasn’t sure what romance readers would think of the books.

Then I began reading Paranormal Romance blogs, and I saw various discussions about Urban Fantasy versus Paranormal Romance. After some research, I found out that Twilight and the Harry Potter books fall into the genre of Urban Fantasy.  How did this affect how I viewed my own books? I found that paranormal characters are welcome in Urban Fantasy. Check. I found that in Urban Fantasy there is a coexistence between human and paranormal characters. Check. In Urban Fantasy the human learns of the existence of the paranormal. Check. In Urban Fantasy there can be romance. Double check. There is also emphasis on backstory, historical settings, and the characters may have tragic pasts. Check, check, check. Salem, Massachusetts doesn’t quite qualify as a city, but otherwise we’re on the right track here. And since Her Dear & Loving Husband is book one in a trilogy that features the same characters, that further qualifies James and Sarah’s story as an Urban Fantasy. Who knew?

And yet even Urban Fantasy doesn’t cover everything about the Loving Husband Trilogy. The books can also be classified as Historical Fiction, and no one was more surprised than me when I started seeing comments from reviewers calling the novels thrillers. A couple of people even put the books into the horror genre–James is a vampire, after all. I had the hardest time choosing categories for the novels on Amazon and Smashwords because so many genres seemed to fit.

What a realization, that Her Dear & Loving Husband fits into a genre–Urban Fantasy–I wasn’t even familiar with. I think that’s a pretty neat trick. I can’t wait to write my next book after I finish the Loving Husband Trilogy to find out what genre it belongs to.