by Laura DiSilverio
This weekend, I had the pleasure of doing an event at the Park Hill Library in Denver with the fabulous Chris Goff. We were interviewing each other, and she asked me a question that made me stop and think.
"You have written four cozy mystery series, a humorous PI series, three standalone suspense novels, a young adult dystopian trilogy, and you're working on a women's fiction book. Why don't you stick with what you're good at? Why keep trying new genres?"
I stumbled my way through an impromptu answer, but since then I've been thinking about it. Do I have ADD? Am I simply contrary? Am I easily bored? Do I need new challenges? Maybe a little of all of those (mostly the last two). But truthfully, I am overflowing with ideas, stories, and thoughts I want to share, and some of those ideas come across more effectively in one genre than another.
The standalone suspense novels came about because I had "darker" issues and characters I wanted to explore that wouldn't work as well in the cozy format. Also, I was interested in trying multiple third person narrators and seeing how that would affect plotting and novel construction. (You might have to be a writer to see why that would appeal.)
The YA trilogy happened because of my daughters' prompting and because I wanted to try my hand at world-building. I found it wonderfully freeing to invent a plausible world with its own values and technology and even vocabulary. With those books, I also took on the challenge of writing from a sixteen year old's point of view and using present tense.
The women's fic that I'm working on now is called The Empty Nesters Club. My youngest goes off to college this August (joining her sister at the University of Alabama--Roll, Tide!) and I will be--sob!--an empty nester. This one is very much written from the heart and doesn't have a single dead body. I was intimidated by that at first--What would I do to liven things up in the middle if I couldn't kill someone off?--but I actually had too many events and conflicts to include in the book, and I had to pick and choose.
What other genres might I try in the future? Well, the next book I plan to work on has historical elements, which is new to me. It takes place in the 1970s and the present. I'm enjoying the research for that one. I can see writing a caper novel one day, or perhaps sci-fi. The genres I can promise you I will never write are erotica and horror.
What about you? Do you mix it up in your work life, if possible? Do you read multiple genres, or are you faithful to crime fiction? Let me know in the comments!