Writing Uncharted Regions
Clash of Wills was my first foray into the romance genre. Before that, I’d written mainly young adult fantasy. I wanted to broaden my horizons and so I thought I would combine my enthusiasm for magic and wizards with a love story. But the prospect of writing out of my comfort zone was a little scary. I’d read a lot of romance novels growing up, but I was clueless about the specifics of writing one. So I consulted the publisher’s website for guidelines on what constituted a romance, and then set to work constructing a romance fantasy novelette that met the criteria.
Because the focus of the story HAD to be the romantic relationship between the man and woman, Clash of Wills turned out to be somewhat easier for me to write than other projects I’ve done. Having romance as the through line helped me plot the story and keep it on track. Since I’m an inveterate pantser, plotting for a change was a novelty. The original manuscript I submitted was around 9,900 words and took about two weeks to write.
This, however, was not the manuscript the publisher bought. The senior editor asked to see some specific changes before making a decision. I love a challenge, so I set about making those changes and then some. I dug deep to make the most of every encounter between Princess Samantha and Prince Wills. I took the opportunity to make the secondary characters winsome and memorable. In short, I made the story the best it could possibly be. In the end, the rewritten novelette well was over 12,000 words...and was accepted for publication.
However shaky I felt when I began to write romantic fantasy, changing genres was made easier by the research I’d done up front. I learned a lot during the editing process—about point of view shifts in particular—that helped me become a better writer. With Clash of Wills under my belt, I went on to write four more romantic fantasies of various lengths. Most of all, I discovered that writing uncharted regions might be daunting, but it can also be a lot of fun.
~ S.G. Rogers
When an unconventional princess meets a footloose prince, a battle of wits begins…
Princess Samantha’s magical compass will help her locate her long-lost brother, but only if she manages to escape her royal parents for a few weeks. When an unwelcome suitor comes to call, Samantha seizes her chance. She beguiles the prince into taking her north, intending to abandon him at her earliest opportunity. Unfortunately, his captivating good looks and charming manner present an unforeseen complication—especially when she is forced to accept help from the very man she has deceived. To maintain his bachelorhood, handsome Prince Wills is not above deception. Although reluctantly entangled in Samantha’s scheme, he vows to protect her…until a lie threatens to destroy their alliance. Can his powerful attraction to Samantha overcome his mistrust? And can they survive a dangerous quest to the wild and magical Uncharted Region?
Princess Samantha sprawled on her stomach as she studied the dog-eared pages of an atlas with such concentration one might think she intended to absorb them. Her fingertip traced a path on the map from her current location in the Kingdom of Paloran to the Uncharted Region where wizards were said to roam. A round silver instrument rested on the rug next to the worn atlas. Set in a clam-shaped metallic shell, it resembled a pocket watch. Although it had a needle similar to that on a compass, there were no directional markings. Samantha blew on the needle; it danced in a circle and stopped in the same spot as before.
When Nanny entered the bedchamber, Samantha quickly snapped the device closed and
covered it with the atlas. A look of sympathy crossed Nanny’s plump, youthful face, but she pretended as if she hadn’t seen anything. “Your Highness, isn’t the crown prince of Insolitia calling on you shortly?”
“Another royal boor to look me over? I cannot wait.”
“We’d best be getting you ready.”
“Father will not return until tomorrow, and Mother has gone to town today, so—”
“No, Your Highness.”
“Come now, Nanny. It will be amusing.”
The seams of Nanny’s elaborate, borrowed gown fought to contain her ample flesh. “I can’t breathe,” she groaned. “How do you stand it?”
“Take shallow breaths,” advised Samantha. She slipped a pinafore apron over her own plain muslin dress. “Now remember, when I drop my handkerchief, you’re to send me out of the room straight away to fetch tea. After that, you’re on your own. Be polite to the prince, but not overly friendly.”
Nanny sighed. “I cannot believe you are making me do this again,” she lamented. “If the king and queen ever discover—”
“Don’t worry, they’ll blame me. You’re more like an older sister than a nanny, anyway, and everyone knows I’m a terrible influence on you.”
Clash of Wills, available from The Wild Rose Press February 29, 2012.
Originally from Southern California, S.G. Rogers has lived in Asheville, North Carolina and Laurel, Mississippi. She earned her first black belt in taekwondo from martial arts champion Billy Blanks. Later on, she earned black belts in taekwondo and hapkido from Master Myung Kim. Currently residing in beautiful Savannah, Georgia, S.G. Rogers writes fantasy and romantic fantasy stories. She's owned by two hairless cats, Houdini and Nikita, and lives on an island populated by exotic birds, deer and the occasional gator. Although she's most often drawn to speculative fiction, she's been known to break away to write other genres. Tab is her beverage of choice, but when she imbibes, a cranberry vodka martini doesn't go amiss.