Valentine’s Day Tigers – Yuri Lenkov


I talked about Lance and his asexuality last time in this post. I wanted to prove to myself that an asexual character can belong in a “steamy” romance. It was also to prove to myself that an asexual author can write a steamy romance. Funny, maybe, since I’ve been writing romance for a solid year now, but that was my thought process. Because of that, being relatable in that way, Lance is very special to me.

Yuri is special to me for a similar reason. He’s aromantic. I relate more to Lance in his very nature, but this aspect of Yuri is something we share. I thought putting Lance in a “steamy” romance novel would be hard, but the thought of putting Yuri in a “romance” novel was even harder.

Valentine’s Day Tigers went through several revisions before settling on the story I have. I was originally going to make it so the story had a central love interest (Ash wasn’t set in stone then), and that the twins would find a way to work that out between them and the love interest. Well, when Yuri told me he was aromantic, the story changed.

For me, the idea of romance is very confusing. It’s the same for Yuri. He gets love. He loves his brother dearly. He comes to love Ash too, but it isn’t romantic. Yuri simply doesn’t have a need for a romantic partner. He needs love and support, but it isn’t the same thing. His brother is enough to fill that space. It’s a close friendship. Maybe closer than most people can relate to since that kind of closeness often crosses over into what other people would only want or expect from a romantic relationship. Or it’s something that changes when a romantic relationship comes along.

I’ve had times in my life where a friendship meant pretty much everything to me, but as soon as that friend found a romantic partner, it was like our friendship no longer mattered. It seems to be a rather common occurrence. When people find a romantic partner, that’s the thing that matters. I always put more stock in friendships, and I started to realize most people just didn’t seem to do the same. For them, a potential romantic partner took precedence over everything else. No, I wasn’t in a romantic relationship with these friends, but I was invested as if we were–just minus the romance.

I learned we had different expectations when it came to our relationship. Something like this happens between the twins in Valentine’s Day Tigers.

Everyone is unique, and I think we’ve probably all felt like an outcast at some point. Over something. About something. But this particular thing has been a struggle in my life, and it’s nice to finally have a character that shares that with me. Friendship, family, means everything to us. It’s likely neither of us will ever have what others call a “romantic” relationship, but that doesn’t mean we can’t live fulfilled lives. I wanted to capture that and stay true to Yuri, and I feel like I did. I’m glad the story went in the direction it did.

Yuri alone probably wouldn’t have fit into a romance novel because he would have broken the genre. But he works in this particular book, highlighting another aspect of love that some romances might not acknowledge. Lust, love, it’s all mushed together in romance, but to me, they’re very different things. I took a chance with Valentine’s Day Tigers to explore some things I haven’t seen in romance, things I wanted to see.

They say you should write the book you want to read, and I did that.

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