Having had individual careers as historical romance writers, B and I struggled a bit on how to define Brit Darby and what category or genre we best fit in as a team.
Yes, Brit Darby books have a strong romantic vein, but they are not solely romances. We include a lot of history and characters based on real people. We blend in a good dose of fantasy and our plots tend to veer from the traditional romance plots, with a bevy of secondary characters to lend complexity. We write until the story is complete, not really caring about the final word count.
Perhaps Brit Darby books fits best into the “Yang” category, if there is such a thing. That’s because our writing style leans toward the masculine energy, Yang, rather than the feminine, Yin.
There’s a clue in the fact that both B’s and my personal taste in movies tends to run toward the adventurous, action-packed flicks and series, usually described as “guy” flicks. Sex, graphic violence, even lots of splashy, gory, oozy blood, does not put us off. Spartacus, The Tudors, Deadwood, Black Sails, Marco Polo, The Vikings, Hell on Wheels, Sons of Anarchy, Justified and the list goes on. (Okay, full disclosure, this is a list of some of my favorite series, but knowing B, they are on her list as well.) I do know for a fact, that one of our all-time beloved trilogies is Lord of the Rings and we have each watched it many, many times. At least once a year we drag our copies out to faithfully watch the whole series in order—the long versions, of course.
But there’s still enough Yin in me that I’ll cry a bucket of tears over a well-done romance any day, and I’ve never outgrown cuddly stuffed animals. I love to decorate though I lean toward dark, rich tones, and black is my favorite accent color. I even have a single wall in my living room that is black. Yes, black. And it’s beautiful — according to everyone who comes to my house and comments on it. I am partial to pink and wear it often, but I’m not much into pastels. Even when I was little, I didn’t want to be Tinkerbell; I wanted to be Peter Pan, but a female version. Again, a little Yin, a lot of Yang.
B and I both love the medieval era and all things Celtic. And of course, history in general. (B confesses she has a bit of an obsession with armor, war, weaponry.) All of this influences us when it comes to writing our stories, building our characters, and pushing the boundaries of what is considered appropriate for the romance genre. Brit Darby doesn’t hold back on the villains; they are as nasty as they need to be. Scenes are flavored with language that is appropriate to the characters. Violence is not obligatory but used when the story calls for it. The hero and heroine enjoy a healthy sex life. Other secondary characters may not be so nice, their baser needs might be a bit ugly, raw.
That was one of the main reasons we chose to go the Indie route and not return to the publishers we had before. Our traditional publishing experiences, though similar, did not leave us wanting more of the same. We wanted to do what we do best, what comes naturally, and what we love, which includes things we were discouraged to do by agents and publishers in the past.
In the end, our goal is to bring all our characters to life on the page. And if that means letting Yang energy loose to charge at full gallop, so be it.