I’ve written two books and both are so completely different, it’s like they came from two different people. If I had a publisher, the marketing person would likely send me hate emails, or at the very least, I’d hear her/him scream as they rip up their blurbs about what kind of writer I am, or portend to be. (this sounds rather dreamy actually, wouldn’t I love to have a marketing person? Frustrated over my many talents? Swoon.)
I couldn’t help how this happened though, really. There I was. Writing and re-writing the first book. Then, I’d have a thought, or idea, so persistent (for months) I’d have to jot it down. When it came time to write another book, what was I supposed to do? Decide what I’d been thinking about practically non-stop wasn’t worth the effort because it wasn’t LIKE what I wrote before? Uh, no.
Matter of fact, my train of thought for the first book was interrupted by the characters for the second book so many times, it could be what took me so long to finish the darn thing. I’d start thinking about what kind of people they were going to be, what they would look like and what situations they would find themselves in. It was downright distracting.
So, how different are these books? Well…, the first one, which was originally categorized as lit fiction, is now under submission as a Young Adult. It tells a story from the perspective of an eleven year old girl, raised in the rural south. She is dealing with all sorts of adult problems and issues while yearning for a closer relationship with her mother.
The second book is historical fiction about a young couple living a hardscrabble life in the early 1900’s in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and how they try to come to terms with their marriage after the death of their young son.
Apples and oranges, black and white, yin and yang, and all those other polar opposites come to mind. But the most important question is, does having written two books in two different genres matter as far as a publisher goes?
From what I’ve been told, no.
For example, it’s possible that if the first book sells as a Y/A, then the publishing house might pick up the second book under another division of their company. As my agent said, this would be to keep me “in the family.” I like the sound of that, keep me “in the family…”
At any rate, as I work on my third book, I’m sort of smiling because it’s back to writing from the perspective of a “young adult.” I won’t know if it’s classified as that or lit fiction until I’m done with it, but I don’t worry too much about genre. I just try to write the sort of stories I’d like to read.
The idea I have for the fourth book…, well, guess. It’s not the Y/A genre, it’s back to historical fiction…! I worried early on this would seem like wishy-washy writing, but I’m not sure now that it really matters. Look at J.K. Rowling. She’s left (temporarily?) Y/A writing with her recent launch of “A Casual Vacancy.” Maybe publishers don’t care all that much about pigeon holing their authors into a certain genre, maybe that’s a thing of the past.
What it ought to boil down to is this; if the story is good, who cares what category it’s in?