This is the first of a series of five posts by multi-published, multi-genre author Laura Strickland. I've asked her to share with us a little about her genres, and maybe you'll find something new you'd like to read!
Confessions of an Inveterate Genre-Hopper
Readers and fellow authors often ask me why—and how—I write in so many different genres, everything from Scottish Historical Romance to Steampunk Adventure, to Romantic Comedy. Fans seem perplexed by my constant switch-ups but I have to confess, for me genre-hopping’s not as strange as it may appear.
I’ve loved Scottish Historical Romance for as long as I can remember. My Scottish Historical, Devil Black, was the book that let me break through with my fabulous publisher, the Wild Rose Press. But for me, writing is a visceral-yet-mystical experience. I need to feel the emotions of the work first, and then get it out onto the page. For that reason, I’m purely a pantser. If I write an outline, the emotions have been exorcised and I no longer feel the urge to write the book. And if I write in one genre too long, I begin feeling as if I’m penning the same story over and over again.
Part of this no doubt stems from the online writing community to which I once belonged, called Fanstory. Fanstory is a wonderful resource for any writer or aspiring author wishing to flex some writing muscle. Multiple contests are posted, most with prompts. Writers are given a specific word count and a deadline. GO!
With that kind of training behind me, it got so I could see a prompt on virtually any subject, and float an immediate idea. It’s a bit like showing a red flag to a bull. Now when I see a submission call, I can’t restrain myself, even if it’s for a genre I’ve never attempted.
My advice to fellow writers and readers longing to pen their own stories is, go for it. Don’t be afraid to take a chance—on a different genre, a new style, or an unusual subject. Some of the best stories come when we reach beyond ourselves. What fresh genre have you always wanted to try?
Of course, some books tend to defy genre, like my latest release, Cinder-Ugly:
From the moment Cindra is born, misshapen and ill-formed in face and body, her beautiful mother hides her away, allowing the world to see only her other three perfect children. Cindra, raised by an aged nurse and assigned humble duties in the kitchen, receives little affection and plenty of abuse from both her mother and sisters. Starved for beauty, she longs most of all for love.
Prince Rupert, newly returned from an education outside the kingdom and forced to take over duties as king, sees the beauty of Cindra’s spirit. In her sister-in-law’s garden, he courts her with rare flowers and nearly makes her forget her mother’s hate. But when war tears them apart, will Cindra have the courage to stand on her own? And when faced with the challenge of leading Rupert’s subjects through a siege, will the strength of her compassion be enough to sustain a kingdom?
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