Do you have a favorite genre? I think most readers of this blog love speculative fiction of some sort, whether it's urban fantasy, or paranormal romance, or YA paranormals, or science fiction, or horror, or fantasy....or some blending of the above. These days, we're seeing more genre-bending as traditional cozy mysteries add paranormal elements, and urban fantasy isn't so different from horror.
Today, welcome author Marissa Farrar to the blog. A UK-based author, Marissa started writing horror, then "horror romance," and now doesn't like putting books into boxes. Read on for a chance to win a copy of her new book, Alone, a vampire romance (but a whole lot more). And then, if you'd like to sample a free short, Marissa has shared with us a short-short story; look at the tab marked "Grief," above, then click.
Putting Books into Boxes
by Marissa Farrar
Ever since I was young, I considered myself to be a horror writer. In my teens, I feasted upon authors such as Stephen King, James Herbert, Dean Koontz and Richard Laymon. In turn, those were the types of books I wanted to write.
However, as I grew, my taste in books also grew. I began reading authors such as Jodi Picoult and Emily Barr, definitely women’s fiction authors.
However, my love always remained within the paranormal.
When I sat down to write Alone, I knew I wanted to write a vampire romance. I’d just learned that Mills and Boon had recently brought out their paranormal imprint, ‘Nocturne,’ and thought, ‘yeah, I can do that.’ We were living in Spain, I had a small child at home, and I’d decided it was time I earned some money from the hundreds of hours I poured into my writing.
However, within a few pages, I knew there was no way Mills and Boon would be interested in this book. My natural love of all things dark quickly crept in and my main character, Serenity, was suffering the abuse of a violent husband.
You see, for me, although I love the paranormal, it's real life that makes a book genuine. It’s things not always being as perfect as they seem on the outside, it’s people experiencing real trauma, but growing within themselves and overcoming whatever life has thrown in their path. The most important things in our lives are the simple ones: our relationships with other people. Without those relationships, we’d be nothing.
I want my books to be about real people, the battered woman you might pass in the street, the man struggling to balance bills with a sick child at home. Most of my characters are just like you and I. They don’t have any special powers. They’re just normal people, who, put in extreme (paranormal) situations, are able to achieve things they never thought possible.
Because of this, I’ve always struggled to put my work into a specific genre. I’ve had Alone be referred to as Paranormal Romance, as Horror, as Urban Fantasy and even Women’s Fiction. Personally, I think it contains a little bit of each of those genres without really falling into any one.
I hate that authors are forced to put their stories into boxes these days, especially publishers trying to get authors to fit a particular mould and altering their books to fit into a category. I tried to do that once (and failed miserably—the story simply had a life of its own) but the result was a dark story of a battered woman’s emotional journey, and she just happens to fall in love with a vampire!
So what do you think? Do you stick to a particular genre when you’re looking for new titles? Do you ever wonder if you’ve missed out on titles that have been incorrectly classified or simply don’t fit into one particular ‘box’?
I’d like to give away three e-copies of Alone to three commenters, so please, let me know your thoughts! The sequel to Alone, Buried is scheduled for a mid-October release and to introduce new readers to the series, Alone is currently priced at only $0.99 from your favourite e-store.
And if you’d like to sample some of my writing, you can read my short story The Sickness of Grief for free, right here!
Thanks for having me, Suzanne.
Thanks, Marissa! To win a copy of Alone, just tell us your favorite genre, or genre blend. I'm an urban fantasy fan, but love some dystopia or horror thrown in. And a little kissing or whatever is okay, too :-) You know the routine--four entries are possible: +1 for blog follow, +1 for comment, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, +1 for a Tweet or RT of the contest (just click on the Twitter link below to share). Go for it!