Earlier this year I embarked on a writing project that was unlike anything else I'd undertaken and yet felt very much like home. Those of you who have read my work know I write romantic suspense and creative nonfiction humor. I use two different author names to differentiate between the two lines just so those looking for a slice of life humor collection don't suddenly stumble into characters battling alcohol and sex addictions or mental health issues. (Makes you wanna head on over to my Amazon author page and check out my books, doesn't it?)
Anyway, I mentioned earlier this year I began a series of books based on one character. The books were going to be cozy mysteries with an inspirational nature and most of them would be set in the towns and cities of Wisconsin, although some might be in Michigan, Minnesota, or any other town where I've been and had dinner in a funky diner. (That's a long list.)
As writers and authors, it's not uncommon to write different types of stories for different audiences. Authors have been doing it for eons. I was at a conference where Romance Author (who has been, for some time, writing a series of romances based on characters involved in mixed martial arts) Lori Foster talked about an upcoming series she was writing under the name L. L. Foster, an post apocalyptic set of novels with a killer heroin and a lot more darkness. She told us, all those years ago, that she didn't want her readers to be confused. She wanted them to know, if you're reading Lori Foster, this is what you're going to get. If you're reading LL Foster, this is what you're going to get."
Awesome. That speech meant a lot to me.
I've always been rather whimsical with my writing. I fell into the romance genre mostly because I had friends who were involved in Wisconsin Romance Writers (WisRWA) and Romance Writers of America (RWA.) I found myself listening to how to structure a romance novel, how to pitch it, how to sell it. And boom, Dream in Color, my first novel, was born and sold to The Wild Rose Press, a romance novel publishing house.
Since then I've been told I don't write romance, and yet my readers mostly read romance. I tried submitting "Lies in Chance" to Wild Rose Press. They told me it wasn't a romance.
They were probably right. I mean, I really never wrote that book to be a boy meets girl romance. I wrote it more as an homage to those prime time TV soap operas like Dallas and Falcon Crest and Knots Landing. Lots of characters, lots of stories.
Since then I've been fairly focused on romance, albeit very dark romance novels. I've been wrestling with some stuff in my own life and that's bled out onto the pages of both "Fresh Ice" and "A Hero's Spark."
My point is, as authors, we get to write whatever story we have inside of us. Remember, being a writer, being an author, is being a story teller. There's no big science to writing a short story, a novella, or a novel. You are telling a story. You are telling a story that has to have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and it probably should make sense.
You may tell a story that appeals to one audience while another prefers a different story you tell. My Sunday School students LOVE the story I tell about getting a spanking with a hymnal from my uncle when I dumped a baked potato into a glass of milk. (Yeah, I was a rotten child, but I have some GOOD stories.)
Adults do not love that story. Adults love the stories I tell about the woman I lovingly call "Elsie W." (Okay, My Sunday School students love those stories, too. Basically anything that gets me off topic of the lesson is something they love.)
I have stories I tell when I'm around kids, stories I tell when I'm around MY kids (who are adults, but not yet ready to hear about some of their mother's more colorful escapades), and stories I tell in polite or semi polite company. It depends on the audience and what mood I'm in.
Same with writing. And of late, I'm in a mood to have Nora Hill solve missing children cases using nothing but her knowledge of her own childhood and her constant rage against a God that gave her some special talents and very special challenges. I've finished the first book, "Missing in Manitowoc" soon to be released, and I'm starting on "Superhero in Superior" which I hope to have done early 2016.
Some authors, some writers, work with one genre, master one audience and hold them forever. I'd be down right gobsmacked if Stephen King popped up with a light humor women's fiction book. Then again, if he did, why not?
Writers may be many people in one body. Why not tell many stories to many people?
Go forth and WRITE!