Let me be honest here. I love a trashy beachy romance as much as the next girl. There's something so fun about reading a book where the only point is that two people fall in love. The literary equivalent of a rom com. You don't have to work too hard as a reader, you know the obstacles will be overcome, and there WILL BE A HAPPY ENDING!
Yeah, I'm totally not writing that book.
That being said, there is a romance in my novel. It's hot and torrid and tragic. I'm not writing a romance. My story is not a happy one, but I've been told by several people that it's also one you can't stop reading. I wanted to create a "real" world, where emotions are raw and exposed and everything is gritty and true to life. Guess what? Romance is true to life. If you put two people in a life or death situation and the only other person they have to rely on is each other, sex will happen. It's a human truism.
I've never been one to shy away from the blood and gore. I want to make you shudder and squirm. Murder isn't pretty. But the flipside of violence is sex, and I didn't feel you could have one without the other. Adrian, my editor, told me that she pegged the romance from chapter two, when it doesn't even start until chapter 16. But in the same breath, she'll insist, same as me, that this is NOT a romance.
Now, the downside of writing this way is that other people get to read it, and they inevitably have comments on it. Most awkward thing EVER: getting a sex scene edited and having a conversation about whether or not your character would use protection......