Saturday, May 09, 2015

Crossing Romance Genres

Here's a question for readers. How do you feel when an author suddenly shifts to a different genre? I recently moved away from romantic suspense novels to sweet, contemporary romance novels and inspirational short stories. Now I've written my first historical romance, a novella titled THE RANCHER'S SPECIAL DELIVERY. Why?


Writers love to write. Otherwise, we'd have a different profession. To improve as writers, we need to stretch our creative muscles and go out of our comfort zone to try new genres. If I'm not growing as a writer, I should retire. Writing a historical (No, it's not an historical! I don't live in England.) provided new challenges, especially in research. I had to study train routes, dress styles, climate, and language from a century + ago. Avoiding anachronisms in dialog was the biggest challenge for me. I couldn't have my characters chatting in modern language using expressions that didn't exist at the time.


But I wonder if you as a reader get a bait-and-switch feeling when authors try new genres. If you purchase THE RANCHER'S SPECIAL DELIVERY, will you feel hoodwinked because your last Cheryl Norman book was a contemporary?


As a reader, I don't mind. I recall reading SKIPPING CHRISTMAS, a total departure for John Grisham from his legal suspense novels. Frankly, his holiday story delighted me. Yes, it was a different genre, but the cover art and tag line clued me in that this was a different John Grisham story. Not that I'm comparing myself to the talented Mr. Grisham! His foray into a new genre proved successful, judging from book sales and later a movie version (CHRISTMAS WITH THE KRANKS).


Some authors use pseudonyms for different genres, like Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick/Jayne Castle or the late Evan Hunter/Ed McBain. I used a pseudonym when I wrote erotic romance fiction. But my Cheryl Norman brand, whether it's a suspense or an inspirational, is the same. I write about characters learning lessons. THE RANCHER'S SPECIAL DELIVERY continues this theme in 1899 Colorado. It's a mail-order bride story, and I loved writing it.



THE RANCHER'S SPECIAL DELIVERY is a June release from Highland Press, both as a novella download or as part of the anthology HEARTS OF THE WEST, which will be available in both electronic and print versions. Let me know what you think.