Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The F Word

My name is Deb Stover and I'm a genre slut--technically, a sub-genre slut.  My published novels, short stories, and novellas all fall under the romance and/or women's fiction umbrella.  However, from there they pretty much run the gamut.

Time travel, historical, paranormal (ghosts, reincarnation, angels, curses, witches, devils, fairies), fantasy, contemporary, suspense/mystery, western, sexy and not-so-sexy, humorous and serious, scary and not-so-scary, and...so forth. 

Yep, I'm a serious sub-genre slut....

My brilliant literary agent advised me a decade ago that I should focus.  I cringed.  The "f" word?  F-f-f-f-focus?  Only write one kind of book?  Seriously?

Yes, seriously.  In order to build my readership, I should f-f-f-f-focus on one sub-genre for several books and stop being so, er, promiscuous with my muse.

This is like the desert island question.  If you were stranded on a desert island with only one book to read, what would it be?  Voracious readers consider this a special level of hell.  One book?  Yikes!  What a nightmare...

So, just as I decided to try f-f-f-f-focusing on contemporary paranormal romance for a while, my personal life went into the tank.  My husband's cancer came out of remission and became terminal, my health took a horrible turn, and I spent approximately six years pretty much unable to work.  I finally finished The Gift, which is a paranormal contemporary romantic suspense psychic empath ghost story (big grin), and realized, after losing my beloved husband, that I did not want to f-f-f-f-f-f-focus on this type of book.

Life is too short, and writing is too hard, not to follow our muse.  Yes, I absolutely agree with my brilliant agent's F-word advice.  She's wise far beyond her years.  However, I realize now I need to f-f-f-f-f-focus on the books of my heart.

I need to practice what I preach.  I often tell beginning writers not to write what they don't enjoy reading.  I ask them what type of book first made them sit down at the keyboard and type that first manuscript.  So I asked myself those same questions.

I've just completed a proposal I warned my brilliant literary agent is "classic Deb Stover."  Bless her, she said, "That sounds wonderful."

Let's hope she still feels that way when she reads it.  :)

Writing is hard work--really hard work.  Before we publish, we do it for love, and because our Muse demands we breathe life into the characters who haunt us day and night.  There's no money, no royalties, no deadlines.  It's all for the passion and pleasure of storytelling.  And, if we get lucky, we get both.

I got lucky back in 1995 when my first book was published.  I have to say that almost every one of my published novels have been books of my heart.

I'm ready to get lucky again.

Happy writing and reading!