Monday, November 3, 2014

Whenever I try to slot my books into categories, I realize that I am an unapologetic rule breaker. Unapologetic because I can't seem to write any differently, so it's either quit or plow ahead. Being a rule breaker is not always a good idea. Publishers and agents and bookstores and librarians can't slot you onto a particular shelf or sell you as easily.

Luckily for me, I have the most wonderful, risk-taking, supportive publisher - Imajin Books.

My novels might be literary, if I were not too embarrassed to say so. Embarrassed because it sounds pretentious, but also seems to imply that my novels are "about nothing".

My books do appear to fit within literary agent Nathan Bransford's definition. "In literary fiction the plot usually happens beneath the surface, in the minds and hearts of the characters. Things may happen on the surface, but what is really important are the thoughts, desires, and motivations of the characters as well as the underlying social and cultural threads that act upon them." I do have plots, some pretty complex ones, but I'd have to agree that the characters rule.
According to author Anita Mason, the difference between genre and literary fiction is best described by comparing fiction to a wheel. "We can call the spokes crime fiction, science fiction, horror, what you will. The hub holds the spokes together, but their strength is in their separateness. And in the fact that they do what they do, and not something else.
What is in the hub? Clearly, because the spokes connect with it, it has to be a bit of everything...[or]...the possibility of everything. This is why the literary novel cannot be governed by rules. ... And it isn't easier to write something that doesn't have rules; it's harder. There's nothing to start from."
It's even more difficult to have anyone label your books literary, especially if the novels straddle the line the way mine do. Plus most readers want more direction than that. They need cues so they can decide whether or not this is a book for them. For instance, they want to know if there is a puzzle to solve. In my books, there are definitely puzzles. Thus they are mostly classed as mysteries. Readers like to know if there is romance. There are love stories, though perhaps not always classic style. There is an element of the psychological thriller (emphasizing the psychology of the characters and their emotional states) in most of them.

 So I do like to warn readers. Or entice them, maybe. Personally I like reading books that don't follow the rules. I don't like the predictable. Which is probably part of the reason I write like that. I want my readers to know that they are in for a roller coaster ride that will sometimes go off the rails or take them into unknown, frightening territory. My endings are usually filled with hope and justice and love—but not always. However, if you like thoughtful writing, deep characters, and twists and spills, my books are for you.

Now you are prepared! My novels are included in both a Mystery/Crime anthology and a Romance anthology. The Deadly Dozen has all kinds of crime sub-genres included, while Sweet & Sensual has romance and its sub-genres.
The Bridgeman (the Emily Taylor novel in DD) is a dark tale about the masks some people wear and the evil that lurks in the mundane. Psychological thriller literary mystery might be its reader cues. 

Sweet Karoline is not really sweet, but it does have some heart-warming elements. Not to mention sensual, both in the standard way and in its setting. Romance? Definitely there, but I'd have to qualify it as a non-traditional, doesn't-follow-all-the-rules kind. Sweet Karoline might be classed as a psychological thriller historical romance literary mystery.

I may not be able to promise to follow the rules. But I do promise a compelling, challenging, mesmerizing read.

Post a Comment