Monday, March 24, 2014

Guest blogger: Nina Harrington - why writing in more than one genre is a must for any author

I'm thrilled to have a guest blogger here today - Nina Harrington, who also writes for Harlequin, has just released her first romantic suspense title and is here to toll us all about writing in more than one genre. Take it away, Nina!

Thank you Kate for your warm welcome to your Blog. I am very happy to be here.

When I am introduced to someone for the first time, and they find out that I am a fiction writer, often the first question they ask is: ‘What kind of books do you write?”

I usually resist the temptation to say that my pen name is actually E.L. James and I am here in disguise, and instead reply along the lines of:

“I write series contemporary romance for Harlequin Mills and Boon. And single title romantic mystery. And romantic suspense. Oh, I mustn’t forget the science fiction young adult crime and techno-thrillers which I still have to edit. I am also currently working on a non-fiction book and …”

You get the idea.

Depending on the nature of the project I am working on that day, my answer is bound to confuse and send people away bewildered.

The kind and polite person was probably expecting a one word answer. Surely a writer only creates one type of book? One brand. One name. One kind of book. Simple.

But therein lies the problem.

Think about the books you have on your bedside table or waiting on your Kindle or other eBook reader?

Are they all the same genre or subgenre?

Mine aren’t. At the moment my bedtime reading choices are a detective novel, a middle grade fantasy adventure and a gardening manual to help me with my new raised bed. And I love that variety in my reading. It is so inspiring and entertaining.

I like to think of this way. Would you like to eat the same food every day of the week, every week of the year? No matter how delicious the food, and how nicely it was prepared, I would soon become bored and crave something different to experience and enjoy.

Exercising the same muscles every day is not good for the rest of the body and can make you very lop sided!

But writers seem reluctant to step over the barriers, for fear of ‘diluting’ their core brand and confusing their readers and getting lost on the way.

I find that readers are incredibly smart people – they can definitely handle the fact that an author can write in more than one genre or multiple sub genres.

James Patterson writes under the same name regardless of the genre. He respects his readers and knows that they will decide what they want to read that particular book.

Moreover, my experience has been that writing in a different style and in a different genre, really does make my creativity step up another notch.

My latest release, ‘Deadly Secrets’, is a crime novel with a romantic thread. Not only did I have great fun researching the location in the Ionian Islands, but I really enjoyed writing a much more plot based story and stretching those story craft muscles.

This was a story that simply refused to go away, despite all of my nagging about it not being a romance novel.

But one thing remains the same. It is still my voice telling the story. And there lies the key. As writers we have so many stories burning inside of us, waiting to be told and not nearly enough time to write them all. Don’t let those stories wither and fade because they don’t fit neatly into the genre you normally write. They need you.

‘Deadly Secrets’ by Nina Harrington – out now from all your favourite online stores.


Caroline said...

Great blog, Nina. Best of luck with your latest release. Looks fab!

Nina Harrington said...

Thank you Caroline!

Anne Westcarr said...

I totally agree with this even though writers always seem to get the opposite advice. I used to wonder if wanting to write multiple genres might be a huge risk, but trying more than one genre seems much for fun to me :)