Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Karen McCullough, Mystery Author, Mutiple Genres

It's a pleasure to welcome Karen McCullough as guest author here today. We share authorship in Stacy Juba's amazing authors' anthology 25 Years in the Rear View Mirror -- and I was excited to discover the wide range of books Karen writes. It works well for her, and she's willing to talk about how the genres blend in her writing life.

Writing Across Genres

I’ve been writing for almost thirty years now and I’ve been published for twenty of those. I write mystery, romantic suspense, paranormal, fantasy, romance, and science fiction. Frequently I combine several genres in the same book. 

Nearly all my books are described with more than a single genre label. A GIFT FOR MURDER is mystery with romantic elements, while A QUESTION OF FIRE is romantic suspense and WIZARD’S BRIDGE is romantic fantasy.  I recently outdid myself for crossing genres with my original ebook, MAGIC, MURDER AND MICROCIRCUITS, which (I swear!) has elements of mystery, fantasy, suspense, adventure, romance, and possibly science fiction.

It’s fun to let my imagination take me wherever it wants to go, but it’s not a great strategy for career success.

Most people who build a following do so by writing a series of similar books or at least books in the same genre. Think Stephen King, Janet Evanovich, J.K. Rowling, etc.  (Some are even accused of writing the same book over and over, but that’s a different blog post.) Most authors find success only when they are known for doing a particular kind of book or series. Not necessarily the same book, but similar to each other in some important ways. Publishers and fans expect it.

So I knew that writing so many different sorts of books would practically guarantee I’d never go far in the publishing world. And yet I’ve done it anyway.

I had to.  
I don’t know if I have a short attention span or get bored easily, but I find it drains me to do two books in a row in the same genre.  I keep wanting to do something new and different with each new story I start. I need a new challenge, a fresh direction.

It’s not like I’ve ever made a decision to write in multiple genres. It’s just worked out that way. I can only write the stories my creative brain comes up with. Apparently I have a wide-ranging imagination, and one that refuses to be contained in the same box time after time. 

When it came down to making a choice between writing what needed to be written and writing what might give me a chance for a more successful career, I chose the path of writing what I had to write. 

Karen McCullough is the author of more than a dozen published novels in the mystery, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres and has won numerous awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. Karen McCullough invites you to visit her website at http://www.kmccullough.com and her blog at http://www.kmccullough.com/kblog.

SPECIAL TREAT: Pick up a free copy of the anthology 25 Years in the Rear View Mirror with this link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/212151 At checkout, type this code: KP74F. Many thanks to editor Stacy Juba for making this available!


Jake said...

Thanks for anthology. Enjoyed your posting and look forward to reading your stories. Added to TBR list.

Stacy Juba said...

It's nice to meet another writer who likes to write in multiple genres. Thanks, Karen and Beth, for participating in the blog tour!

That code expires Sept. 20 so if anyone sees the post after that, just leave your email address in the comments and I'll get Beth another code.

Love your covers, Karen.

Karen McCullough said...

Hi Beth -- Thanks for hosting me at your blog and letting me rant about mixing genres!