Romance novelist Pamela Green -- pen name Leonie Hart -- has lost her edge. Or so says her agent, who insists that Pamela's brand, and therefore her fan base, is fading. The problem seems to be that when she sits down in her pristine, hard-won office, adorned with movie adaptation posters and awards, she's stumped -- devoid of inspiration.
These early, listless scenes from ILYA's Room for Love are contrasted starkly with those centered on a down-on-his-luck drifter who's struggling to survive on the streets of London. It's apparent that the author sees an awing gape between those who experience a plot-heavy life and those who write plot-heavy stories. So when the two characters meet, and reluctantly fall into cohabitation, the rift between their lifestyles quickly becomes fodder for its own story -- a story that subverts our expectations of what a romance should look like.
ILYA's story takes a trope -- girl meets boy, and the two enter into a whirlwind romance -- and turns it on its head. Pamela's motivations, as well as those of her houseguest, are called into question. Are her intentions behind allowing a stranger into her life pure, or are they rooted in a desire to kickstart her creative imagination? Likewise, her houseguest, portrayed initially as a frustrating freeloader, is revealed to have more nuanced desires.
While ILYA's ilk are penning graphic novels that favor the realistic to the fantastical, this particular story adds an extra layer to the form by criticizing the assumptions we rely on when telling stories.
Read an excerpt from ILYA's Room for Love: