A Writer’s House turns over the controls today to guest blogger Susan Kelley.
Thanks for having me on your blog, Kathleen. I’m excited to have wrapped up my third space opera romance series recently. Every time I talk about my series, someone asks me to explain what space opera is.
Well, it’s not about singing. Think of it more like a soap opera that takes place in space. Some fan favorite movies and shows that fall into the space opera category would Firefly, Star Trek, Stargate and of course, Star Wars. They are all science fiction stories that focus on the characters rather than the science and tech. In Firefly, the crew of Serenity is what makes the show. They’re flawed, and they love each other. What would Star Trek be without the bromance of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy? We love those shows because we love the characters.
Space opera romance is a romance set in space. The same social issues as our present day can be used to raise the conflict between the protagonists. In my third series, The Galactic Outlaws, social class differences divide people and government officials are always good villains no matter the setting. In one of my other series, The Warriors of Gaviron, aliens of the good and evil variety, bring the conflict. My first space opera series, The Recon Marines, involves genetically engineered soldiers and the question of whether men created in a lab are actually human.
So why has space opera romance been so popular recently? I believe the popularity of recent movie releases like the rebirth of the Star Wars saga and the great Star Trek remakes led to that success. Also, space travel is sexy. Shipboard romances have been beloved since the first pirate ship romance in historical fiction. You can also create locales and landscapes as exotic as your thoughts can manage.
Writing space opera doesn’t require you to be a NASA engineer. Even if you only know a
little science, you can mix it in with your invented science and not offend most readers. Readers are expecting hard science fiction where you spend four pages describing the size of the ship’s engines. It’s all about the characters for readers.
Could you fall in love with a genetically engineered soldier who has zero social skills? How would you relate to an alien who looks human but has been raised on another world? Would you side with the rebels, like the Browncoats in Firefly, and take down a corrupt government?
Is space opera a new term for you? Have you read any or watched some on the big screen. Which is your favorite?
Susan Kelley has been published in romance for over ten years with sixteen published romances. She also writes epic fantasy under the name Susan Gourley and has four published fantasy novels. You can find her books on her publisher’s site and at all other eBook retail outlets.