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.


Skyewriter said...

Thought provoking, but I agree. The tag line and cover art can clue the reader in to the genre. And, since I love reading more than one genre why wouldn't I be delighted to disccover than an author I enjoyed wrote a book in one of the other kinds of stories I love? As for the pseudonym, for the same reason, I vote no. Unless I researched the author and found out they had another line under another name, I might miss a great bunch of books.

Polly McCrillis said...

If I'm a fan of the author, I'll read anything she/he writes. David Baldacci, for instance. Like Grisham, he wrote primarily in the suspense genre. But he branched out to YA fantasy and introduced children to Freddy and the French Fries. Because I love his writing I had to give both sub-genres a go and was glad I did. What a story teller!

And I agree, Cheryl, that it's good for a writer to try out different genres. There are too many possibilities for us to get penned (no pun intended!) into just one. Congratulations on writing for your first historical. I LOVE mail-order bride stories!

Cheryl Norman said...

Thanks for your feedback, Skye and Polly.