MY TREK ACROSS THE DIFFERENT
How I went from being a contemporary romance author to an author of Speculative Fiction
First I have to tell you that I had my blog post completely written but like most writers I work on more than one project at a time. I was in the midst of editing and trying to fill out the tip sheet for a newly sold book. (YEAH) Anyway I guess I had too many tabs opened and the one for the blog disappeared. So I did a universal search for the title of the blog, ‘‘’What’s In a Name?”’ which was what I was going to blog about, mainly the different labels placed on genre reading.
So why is it that you’re reading about how I went from writing contemporary romance to speculative fiction? Simple. The first document that came up wasn’t mine and I was taken aback. It was a blog post a friend had sent me sometime ago to proof. Her blog was about authors using pseudonyms. Two entirely different subject matters, one title. As you know you can’t copyright a title and I could have gone with the already written blog. But…..I’m a nice person. And it goes to show that the title of anything is an unspoken promise between the writer and the reader that what they will get will have something to do with the title.
So how did I go from writing contemporary romances to…
To Paranormal (vampire series)
To Speculative Fiction.
Here goes: As I lay in my bed this morning knowing I was going to have to start my post from scratch because of the title I couldn’t in good conscience use. Of course it would have been easier to come up with a different title instead of writing an entirely different post, but easy isn’t my style. Realizing what I was going to write instead, it occurred to me that I didn’t go from contemporary to speculative fiction but the transformation had happened the other way. I thought about the first novels I’d ever completed. Yes, you know the ones. They’re sitting under my bed gathering dust and in all likelihood will never be sold as they cross too many genres. Hmmm. Does that sound a bit like speculative fiction to you? There was definitely a paranormal theme in my early writings as well as women’s fiction. A romance was thrown in just to spice things up, but it was a forbidden romance. So what happened? I asked myself. Why did I change what I’d started out to write? I’m laughing at this moment because I know the answer. I joined RWA and my local chapter, Windy City.
Before you get the wrong idea that this will turn into a rant against RWA, I have to tell you it’s the exact opposite. I served my chapter in every position imaginable, including vice-president and two terms as chapter president. There was nothing like reporting my first sale to the group who’d been there with me for rejection after rejection. Due in part to RWA, but in a larger part to Windy City, I learned the craft of writing. As a reader it had never occurred to me that in order to write I had to do a bit more than put pen to paper. I had to have a plot, goals, motivation for each character and my characters couldn’t head hop. It took me two years to finally get ‘POV’ how not to switch, and how to do it when I wanted by using well placed transitions.
As I think back to those early days when Susan Elizabeth Phillips asked me during a critique session what genre I wrote in and I looked at her with this confused daze and answered, “I haven’t decided.” I now know the answer. I was writing speculative fiction. I don’t believe the label had been used at that point. If it had, I never heard any one mention it at Windy City, nor on any of the RWA loops. Apparently if it wasn’t on those loops it didn’t exist.
So what we had was a writer who loved the security and comfort of belonging to a welcoming writer’s family and learning the do’s and don’ts.’ At that time it never occurred to me that I was a square peg attempting to fit into a round hole. Nor did a light bulb pop on when I was told repeatedly that I couldn’t write a scene a certain way. Even hearing that I loved to push the envelope with my characters didn’t give me a clue. What else could anyone have expected when a non-conformist as I like to think of myself was surrounded, loved and taught by a group of romance writers? I was fighting a losing battle. I became a romance writer, sort of, or at least as much as the non-conformist that still lived inside of me could commit to.
But there came a time when there was a rumble that I was being allowed to get away with writing women’s fiction and passing it off as romance. HUH? Hey, I had learned from the best. I knew all of the romance rules. I guess I just didn’t like them. Romance rule: A heroine couldn’t be sexually involved with two men in a romance. My very first book, The Color of Trouble, the heroine was involved with two men. I did win an Emma award from Romance Slam Jam for favorite new author but that’s besides the point. Let’s fast forward to another of my novels, Many Shades of Gray. The rule: Heroines are likeable. I didn’t want her to be likeable. I made her a writer and had her state within the first two pages that she was a real “B” and knew it. I thought that I was being true to what I’d promised the reader by letting them know what kind of character she would be up front. LOL. Many readers complained that she was a real “B” Go figure. But the salve was the dozens of letters I received from readers who loved the story and got it.
Let’s take the terms hero and heroine. I HATE THOSE TERMS!!! I like to write about flawed realistic people doing dumb things that I see people doing everyday. I want readers to look at my work and go, ah ha that’s so and so, or even, that’s me. I don’t care about the, ‘Happily Ever After,’ I just want a satisfactory conclusion. And if the writer has to kill hero, heroine or both, it doesn’t much matter to me.
Finally a glimmer of light and ADAM OMEGA—VAMPIRE came into being. He was perfect for me, the anti-hero. I did everything with Adam that had been written vampires couldn’t do. I didn’t want the same old, same old. Adam wears a cross, eats, including garlic, goes out into the sun, washes his hands in holy water, goes to church to pick up women and harass, reads the bible and quotes scripture to an almost religious zealot who wishes him dead. Did I mention that I even made him a priest before he was turned a thousand years ago? LOL. My agent and the first editor had a problem with the religious angle. For the first time in my career I wasn’t budging. I was fighting for the integrity of my characters and willing to allow the series not to be published rather than dilute it. A very understanding acquisition editor who’d actually purchased the book but wasn’t doing the editing pleaded with my editor from a rival publishing house to edit my book on a freelance basis.
I’ve refrained from name dropping until now. I know the day will come when I will work with an editor other than Sidney Rickman. Actually I already have and didn’t much care for it. So right here I’m going to send up a prayer. “Dear Lord, I pray that Sidney Rickman somehow will remain in my life and will be able to continue to edit my books, no matter who the publisher is. Amen.” Big request I know, but hey, I write paranormal so why not.
I really was preparing for an uproar, to be driven out of the country when the first of my vampire series, In The Beginning hit the bookstore shelves. But what I found was a surge of love for Adam. It was phenomenal. Of course it made me want to make him even more evil since women appeared to be falling in love with him. What was the deal? I didn’t write him for them to love but to hate, to be afraid.
Okay, NEXT. Speculative Fiction. This is where my trek gets really interesting. On Oct. 17th I have a new novel coming out with WDpublishing. Again To Live. It has a paranormal element and forbidden love. LOL. Sound familiar? To date I have 17 published novels. To Live Again is the first in a trilogy. It’s done in first person which many readers hate, but which the story called for. It’s my first and only first person novel. At least let me put it to you like this, someone once said, a writer makes plans and the characters laugh. Neither Dyanne nor F.D. Davis has any plans for writing another first person novel. If it’s extremely emotional as, To Live Again; is it takes a toll and makes you cry. I’d rather laugh when I write.
To Live Again is Michelle Powers’ story. She’s a married woman, twenty-six years with five adult children. One day at an extremely low point in her life she meets a man, Chance Morgan and thus begins the unraveling of her life. Chance is her reincarnated husband. If you’d like to read an excerpt posted on authorsden. click the link here. Http://www.authorsden.com/
Until I began writing this post I had not given it much thought. But I’m now in the same place where I began my writing. Speculative Fiction appeals to me on so many levels. I love the sound of it, the way it rolls off my tongue. For me it gives me the right to be free, to be me. Speculative fiction is me. It’s exploratory, probing, inquisitive, interested in the possibility of what ifs.
Finally my friends telling me that I love to push the envelope, that I wasn’t really writing romances all makes sense. I was trying to get back to what was in my heart. I was— am an author of Speculative Fiction. You never know what you will get will me, but you will know that it will be well researched, entertaining, probing, asking the hard questions. It will make you think. And it will be the best book that I am capable of turning out at that particular moment, because believe it or not, I’m not done yet. (P.S.—Speculative Fiction is in caps for emphasis.)
Available through Amazon and Barnes and Nobel
Coming Oct. 17th 2010