The Bargain, by Jess Mahler, will be our first novel and is scheduled for release January 18th.
Jess very much had a love story in mind when writing The Bargain (actually, several love stories). But none of them are a “typical” love story.
When we call a book a “romance” these days we don’t just mean a book with a love story. Most books have love stories in them somewhere. It’s an unusual book (or series) that doesn’t have at least two characters (more often four or six or eight) pairing up somewhere along the line. Romance, in book talk, means a genre. With expected tropes, patterns, and plot points.
The Bargain has none of these. Well, except the Happily Ever After. But again, most books have that these days. Unless they are part of an ongoing series (and sometimes even then) most books these days end with the metaphorical equivalent of the characters riding off into the sun set, Happily Ever After.
So it’s not a romance.
We hear about genre mash-ups all the time, but fantasy-thriller isn’t one you hear too often.
Like any genre mash-up, a fantasy thriller has elements common to both fantasy novels, and thriller novels. Of course, in spite of our fun with gifs Michael wasn’t really singing about thrillers. He was singing about horror movies. The defining feature of a thriller–and the one that makes thriller fantasy an amazing mash-up inspite of their rarity–is a quest.
In a thriller the main character has a quest. And that quest has a time limit. If the MC doesn’t discover the cure, stop the assassin, uncover the conspiracy, before time runs out, it’s all over.
Quests are, of course, a long and well loved tradition in fantasy. A tradition that was codified by Tolkien, but existed long before a rag-tag group of adventures set out for Mount Doom on a hopeless quest. However fantasy quests are usually epic in nature. Thrillers tend to be more personal. While the fate of the world may hang in the balance, it’s the fate of the characters that has us holding our breathe as the last air-tight seal breaks in Andromeda Strain.