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Thursday, September 22, 2011

More Author Insight: Trying a new genre

If you tried your hand at any other genre, what would it be?

"My particular blend of genres is a big enough pool for me to splash in - I already get to play with elements of paranormal, sci-fi, historical, horror, etc. I do like a challenge, though, so maybe I'd try some sort of fantasy novel. I'm normally not a big fan of fantasy, so at least I'd have creating a fantasy world I was fond of as the end goal!" - Lia Habel, author of Dearly Departed.

"I'm totally interested in mysteries. A good mystery just kills me and I can't put the book down.  I will go there one day!" - Geoff Herbach, author of Stupid Fast.

"I think I will always write fantasy. I can't help it. It's just the way my brain works. I was that kid who always checked her closet for the entrance to Narnia, who always put "magic wand" on her birthday wish list, and wrote extensive missives to the Tooth Fairy. I think fantasy is (or can be) a literature of hope and empowerment. I love the themes of love-conquers-all, little-guy-defeats-the-massive-evil, and I-have-a-telepathic-dragon-and-you-don't. That said, the genre of fantasy is quite wide from fairy tales to vampires to... well, anything that couldn't actually happen. Sky's the limit. I can see myself playing in all sorts of subgenres and for all different ages." - Sarah Beth Durst, author of Drink, Slay, Love.

"Before Born Wicked sold, I was working on a retelling of Sleeping Beauty that I’d love to finish. I love reading retellings, studying them. The idea of borrowing themes and touchstones from traditional myths and molding them into something that has contemporary resonance fascinates me." - Jessica Spotswood, author of Born Wicked.

"When I first started writing, it was because I wanted to illustrate picture books and I needed stories to go with my drawings. Now, picture books are definitely something I still hope to publish. I worship good picture books! They are concise, literary gems. Timeless, and so meaningful to young readers. And so deceptively hard to write!" - Marianna Baer, author of Frost.

"That’s a toughie. I’ve actually tackled most genres, except Westerns/frontier novels and high fantasy, because you can always fold, say, romance into mystery or mystery into science fiction—and, frequently, those make for more interesting stories anyway. Whatever I choose, I try to push myself into territory I’ve never gone and which makes me nervous. I’m not a wash-rinse-repeat kind of person, and one of the things I love about being a writer is learning new stuff.

So, push comes to shove? I’d say historical fiction. History’s fascinating and the type of world-building to be done is quite difficult. Good historical fiction doesn’t call attention to the facts or setting but focuses on story. My problem is that there are so many facts to master and integrate so they flow naturally from my brain. For example, we don’t flick on a light and reflect on the history of electricity. Neither would that person lighting a whale oil lamp, but do a little research and you learn that there were different grades of whale oil, some of which burned better than others and shed different kinds of light. The best was very bright and somewhat yellow, as well as incredibly expensive. Leaving aside the social class of the person who could afford the best oil, what would the light do to colors? I know that the light of a Coleman lantern is harsh and white and uniform, hard and flat enough to wash out shadows and make the skin beneath your eyes a weird purple-gray. But I’ve never seen the light given off by whale oil; I can only guess, just as I have no idea if the oil smelled. All that has to become automatic; you must think and write with familiarity, authority, and authenticity—as if you’re really living it.

Very daunting. Or maybe I’m just an obsessive geek." - Ilsa Bick, author of Ashes.

"I actually love jumping genres, but I’ve yet to try my hand at steampunk. I think that could be really fun." - Angie Frazier, author of The Eternal Sea.

"Straight up horror. I love to scare people and I think it would be awesome to have no other job than to be scary--without worrying about a happy ending. Because sometimes people need to get gored to death, you know?" - Stacey Jay, author of Juliet Immortal.
"Horror. Real up all night, don’t-turn-the-light-out horror. I love to be scared, and I think the things that motivate us most are love and fear, and how we react to them." - Amy Garvey, author of Cold Kiss.
"Maybe a mystery. I love a good puzzle." - Brenda Pandos, author of The Emerald Talisman.

"I've always been a big history buff, so I'd love to write a historical novel.  I don't know if I'd ever have the guts to take on that kind of research, but it would be fun!" - Gemma Halliday, author of Deadly Cool.
"I have published memoirs, fable, poetry, history, short stories, and young adult novels; write everything from brand language to employee magazines to video scripts for corporate clients; and I am at work on a novel for adults.  I would love to know what it is to write a screenplay.  I’d like to know everything about making films." - Beth Kephart, author of You are My Only.

On Tuesday, find out what misconceptions the authors had about the publishing industry when they first started.  

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