Two Questions With (The Romance Edition!)…Janet Walden-West

The Two Questions with… blog tour has returned!!

This week I am very happy to host my friend Janet Walden-West on the first round of the “Two Questions With (The Romance Edition)…” blog tour.

Huge thanks to Janet for taking the time to participate. I’m really glad you came along for the ride.

Here’s Janet’s Two Questions!!

Hi, guys. I’m thrilled to be back with the crew for another round of “2 Questions With.” When Ken proposed we do a February romance set, I was all over it. Especially since I like to think that I had something to do with infecting him encouraging him to look at romance arcs in a new light in his writing (I have a very healthy ego, y’all).

Do you include some type of romance arc in your SF/Thriller/High Fantasy?

Disclaimer up front—I also write contemporary romance and romantic suspense. I’m a card-carrying (pin, actually) Romance Writers of America member.

But, I started out strictly as a F/UF writer, and was rabidly anti-romance.

So, how did I come to romance writing? In a roundabout fashion (i.e. the hard way, my usual m.o.). Basically, every Fantasy or Urban Fantasy story I started accidentally ended up with some sort of romantic element. Enough that as a newbie, with no real idea of what resources were out there, where to turn, or local writers’ groups available, on a whim I submitted my ms to RWA contests, either in the SF/F or mainstream with romantic elements divisions, to gain feedback.

FYI, I got some amazing insights, instruction, and direction to craft books from those contests. I also learned that nope, I didn’t write pure romance—my stories didn’t end in a Happily Ever After or even a Happy For Now.

Fast-forward, and I eventually found my writing peeps through the Roaring Writers, and PitchWars. But despite my structured outlines, some sort of romance always works its way into my non-romance stories. Interpersonal relationships, and the barriers and upheavals that come with those interactions, can definitely add another layer of tension and conflict to any plot.

Many psychologist’s propose that the need for love is one of the top three most basic human requirements. Who am I to argue? 

When writing Fantasy/UF/Paranormal romance or any genre really, how important are the romantic arcs, or how much page time do you dedicate to the romance?

Obviously, if you’re writing true romance, there are expectations to be met, as is true in any genre. Our genre rule is that if the story can stand alone if the romance arc is removed, then it isn’t a romance, but a story with romantic elements.

Paranormal romance certainly expects the romance arc to be the primary focus. Still, many PNR and romantic suspense also expect a secondary outer plot arc, hopefully one that ties into or supports the romance beats. The romance should thus be over fifty-percent of your page time.

Somehow, the line between PNR and UF has blurred. Lots of people expect a romantic entanglement in UF now. And a lot of readers turn up their nose at UF, because of the perceived emphasis on romance.

For me, the main characters’ inner growth arc, and the outer plot arc, take precedence in UF. Here, for me, romance should make up far less than half the story. Despite my own inclinations toward including relationships in my UF, I’m 100% okay reading it without any romance. Honestly, no romance is far better than a poorly written one.


Janet Walden-West lives in the southeast with a pack of show dogs, a couple of kids, and a husband who didn’t read the fine print.  She has an unseemly obsession with dusty artifacts, great cars, and bad coffee. A founding member of the East Tennessee Creative Writers Alliance and The Million Words craft blog, she is also a member of Romance Writers of America member. She pens Urban Fantasy that escapes the neat confines of the city limits in favor of map-dot hillbilly towns, and inclusive Romantic Suspense and Contemporary Romance. A #PitchWars alum, her first short story, Road Trip, is included in the Chasing the Light anthology.

Find Me At:


Twitter: @JanetWaldenWest

Instagram: janetwaldenwest