I write Victorian-era romance set in the West.
When I first set out to write, it hadn’t been my intention to write westerns. I happen to live in the West, and I liked the Victorian age for a number of reasons. Not the least of which, it’s not Regency.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the Regency era, and I love to read Regencies, but the era itself is so freaking short. And, if romance novels are to be believed, the Duke of Ross got around! (When I say I love Regencies, I’m not kidding. I’ve read four in the last three days. Said Duke of Ross was mentioned in all of them. The rogue!)
So, anyway, when I started writing, I wrote “not precisely” westerns, but Victorian-era historicals set in the West. The entire time I was writing The Marker, I kept telling husband, “But it’s not reading like a western! It’s reading like a Regency set in California!” Call it western-light, I guess. What’s funny is that, when RT reviewed it, the reviewer did actually say that it’s a western that “has the feel of a Regency.”
All I could do was nod and say, “She gets me, she really gets me!”
In any case, now that I’ve written three historicals, and am finishing up a fourth, a part of me wants to branch out. Write something new and different. Write something–dare I say it–contemporary. I have these ideas in my head for a romantic suspense, a paranormal and two different romantic comedies. And I’m left in a conundrum.
Meggan Connors does not write fast. She also writes historicals. A book a year is really about as fast as I go. Maybe a book and a novella, but that’s the best I can do. So if I veer off track, and I start writing a contemporary, do I need a new name, and a new persona? Or can I simply reinvent myself? Or, more to the point, do I even need to reinvent myself?
As a reader, I read across genres. I’m not married to any given period. Yes, I read a lot of historicals. I also read a lot of paranormal. I used to stick to those two for the most part, but then I got sucked in to romantic suspense, and, later, contemporaries and romantic comedies. Basically, I just read.
As a writer, can you do the same thing? Simply write something completely out of the genre you’ve established for yourself?
I’ve read so many differing opinions. Some people say that you need to write under a new name if you’re going to genre jump. But I can barely manage the social media I have for one persona. I can’t imagine adding on to that!
Other people say that a new name is unnecessary. Just have a common theme throughout your work, and you’re okay.
And I… I don’t know.
What do you think? Can an author write in a genre completely different from the one already established? And how do you feel when one of your favorite authors does this?