Sunday, February 24, 2013

Being Multi-genre

Now that I’m a multi-genre author, I thought I’d explain how I became one.  When I started writing seriously back in 2004 I knew I wanted to write a mystery because, after all, that’s what I enjoy reading most. So I wrote Genesis Beach, which began as a short story and turned into a novella because I didn’t have enough room to tell my story. Eventually the book became a novel, by the sheer numbers under consideration by a publisher.  In it I introduced Logan Hunter, an intern for the SBI, (NC’s equivalent to the FBI).

When I fell into that dark area called “writer’s block”, I whipped out fresh clean paper and started writing another book about Logan Hunter, set in another area of North Carolina. This time she was a full-fledged SBI agent and I challenged us both by having her track down a serial killer in western North Carolina. Just North of Luck remains my most graphically violent novel.

I added Hell Swamp and Sin Creek to the mix, giving Logan plenty of heinous crimes to investigate. Along the way I added some awkward romance and showcased different parts of North Carolina in each book. Now that I’m writing the fifth book in the series, I’ve aged her and certainly she has matured into an experienced agent not to be underestimated.

But after the fourth mystery, I wanted a diversion, so I wrote a women’s fiction, Slightly Cracked, the plot of which I’d be carrying around in my head for some time. It’s about life-long friendship with plenty of hilarious antics to be sure.

I also authored a unique cookbook featuring recipes from mystery writers across the country who graciously shared family recipes with me in exchange for promotion under each one.

So now I’m “multi-genre”. It just happened. I don’t have the space here to expound on my journey, but I can truthfully say that I’ve enjoyed the ride. I hope to write another women’s fiction soon and I’m already doing research for an historical mystery. Maybe I bore easily but I suspect that there’s more to it than that. I’m having the time of my life learning new writings skills and techniques and experimenting with new characters and even new genres.

It’s kind of what makes me tick. Is multi-genre for everyone? Probably not, but I’m enjoying myself and discovering that I can not only make readers squirm with discomfort but also make them giggle. Now that’s priceless!
Any more multi-genre folks out there?


L. Diane Wolfe said...


And I've decided I like writing the non-fiction best. I guess instructional is my style.

Susan Whitfield said...

You're a natural, Diane.

randi lee said...

Love your blog! New follower here :) You make some very interesting points, Susan. I'm a multi-genre writer as well. I simply can't stick to one type of writing----need to be doing multiple things at the same time!

Susan Whitfield said...

Hey, Randi, some of us just have to experiement. So glad you like the blog. I've been on hiatus for a while but I'm in the process of interviewing folks for the rest of the year. Let me know if you'd like to guest or be interviewed. That goes for the rest of you, too.

Paula Ray said...

Hi Susan,
I enjoyed learning about your journey and look forward to meeting you.

For years, I have been struggling to find my niche in the literary world. I've written horror, science fiction, speculative fiction, literary fiction, romance, and poetry.

Every time I attempt to pin myself down to just one genre, I quickly bore of it and feel frustrated... groaning," but this isn't ME." I was right and wrong about that.

People are multi-faceted, myself included. When I finally gave myself permission to write in all genres that interested me, simultaneously, without restraint, I found my happy place. To an outsider it may appear scattered and unfocused, but for me, it's just right.

The only problem is that I have decided to use different pen names for different genres and keeping up with that may prove to be a living nightmare.

Susan Whitfield said...

Paula, my friend who uses pen names with different genres seems to be handling it well. She also has multiple publishers and I'd probably lose track of everything if I went that far.

Paula Ray said...

I've OD'd on facebook. I'm looking for the like button for your last comment :) Can't wait to meet you in person.

Susan Whitfield said...

Why, thank you, Paula. I hope to meet you soon as well.