Different genre tie-in – good idea or not?

So, I’m 61K into “Under the Hill”, and I’m now completely sure that I have a Fantasy novel on my hands, not a romance.  This is all well and good, except that two of the characters (George and Chris) have backstory together – massive, massive backstory.  I find myself really wanting to write their massive backstory as a m/m romance novel.

The trouble is – can I write a Fantasy, sell it to a Fantasy publisher, and then use two of the characters in that book for a Romance, which I would inevitably have to try and sell to a different publisher?  Will any Romance publisher want to touch a romance, knowing that in the Fantasy I’ve written, my two characters will have been separated by cruel circumstances and never be able to get back together again?

It would be a lot easier just to take the setting for the romance and do it using different characters.  That’s my backup plan.  But that wouldn’t be half the fun.  The whole point is that it would be C&G’s back story.  Argh! This sort of thing was much easier in fanfic.

Does anyone have any experience of this sort of thing in publishing?  Characters who’ve migrated through different genres?  Is it at all possible?  Do you think it would be wise?

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