Writing Across Multiple Genres: AuthorToolBox

It’s time again for my contribution to this month’s #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop where dozens of experienced writers share their experiences.  I encourage you to check out their thoughts by clicking on the icon at the end of this post.  This month I ask the question: Can an author write across multiple genres and develop a following? 

My latest book, At the River’s Edge, is a murder mystery set current-day near my home in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Prior to this novel, I’d written the Miles Stevens investigative suspense series. This three-book series is based on a CIA agent from a couple decades in the future sent back in time to stop global terrorism: Cyber One (cyber-attacks), Melting Sand (nuclear flare-up), and Gone Viral (viral contamination).  I’ve also written three short story collections of eclectic tales and two additional crime/suspense novels set a few years into the future: Better Late Than Ever and Corrupt Connection.

If there’s a common thread in all my novels, it’s suspense.  I attempt to build tension early in each novel and then dedicate the rest of the story to disclosing and resolving the conflict. I also include a male and female protagonist in each novel working as a team to thwart evil.

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I’ve recently decided I prefer writing murder mysteries, and have already started my second, putting the Miles Stevens series temporarily “on hold.” But can an author write across genres and still build an identity and following with readers?

My short answer is probably not.

It’s tough enough for indie authors to develop a following when they focus on a single genre.  Most big-time authors narrow on a niche, and if they ever decide to divert course, they sometimes write under another name. Witness J.K. Rowling’s efforts to step away from YA/Fantasy as Robert Galbraith, crime novelist.

Admittedly, I’m no J.K. Rowling. My following numbers in the hundreds, not hundreds of thousands.  Nonetheless, my readers have expectations. And if I ever want to get to thousands of dedicated book buyers, I doubt I can do it writing in multiple genres.

So, where do I go from here?

My plan is to continue to market the Miles Stevens series.  I may even add to it if there’s continued interest, but my writing focus going forward will be on suspenseful mystery novels.  This is for several reasons:

  • At the River’s Edge has sold more copies in the first two months than any of my other titles.
  • I also believe mystery and suspense has a wider appeal to both men and women, whereas my Miles Stevens series leans more toward men.
  • And most of all, if I were to pick a genre in which to write, it would be mystery novels, and specifically murder mysteries.

Keep a lookout for Butcher Road, the next in what I hope to be a long line of murder mysteries.

To enjoy other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click HERE.  Thanks to Raimey Gallant for facilitating this year’s blog.  I look forward to 2019.   Happy blog hopping!Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2

Butcher Road - 3D-Book-Template

Life Events – How They Impact Writing: IWSG

It’s time for my October contribution to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. The questions posed this month to IWSG writers are: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

Be sure to click on the #IWSG icon at the end of my post and check out the responses from dozens of interesting and experienced writers.

I consider “major life events” to be things like births, deaths, illnesses, marriages, divorces, starting a new job, losing a job and other events of similar magnitude.  Given this definition, I have experienced only one major life event since I began writing novels nearly ten years ago. After being widowed years earlier, I met and married Claudia. This event had a profound effect on my writing and my life.

I’ve chronicled on this blog the role Claudia plays in my writing.  Without her personal encouragement and professional editing support, I would not have produced the quantity and quality of writing that I’ve been able to deliver.  We enjoy many things together: travel, friends, hiking, our dog Milo, and of course, our family, but writing is something we do on an ongoing basis and occupies a great amount of our time.  I’m not sure what would replace this time together if I ever decided to stop writing.  Therefore, I probably won’t.

Author and Editor - Copy (2)With regard to the second question, I can’t come up with a good example of where writing has helped me through something. I have a good routine and rhythm to my life these days, so there’s not much that I have to “get through.”  Writing is something I do because I enjoy it and find it challenging.

I do believe writing helps keep my mind sharp and continues to give me a feeling of accomplishment. Both are important at any age, but especially for someone of my generation.

Many thanks to  Dolorah @ Book Lover,Christopher D. Votey, Tanya Miranda, and Chemist Ken for hosting this month’s blog hop.  To follow nearly 200 writers participating in this week’s IWSG blog hop, click on the icon below.  You can also follow on twitter @TheIWSG  or #IWSG.

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