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What’s in a genre?

Labels can be useful.

Is this parsley? Or is it thyme?

Is this a middle school? Or is it a high school?

Labels can also be useless or, worse, counterproductive.

Is he a nerd? A geek? A poser?

Is he a future success story? Or a failure waiting to happen?

As a writer, I’m struggling with labels right now. Is my first novel, The Monster’s Daughter, YA? Or is it horror? I’d put it squarely into the category “YA horror,” no matter how I envision it as a coming of age tale, but the categories available don’t allow me this designation.

tmd one year collage

I’m left to choose between “Teen: monsters” or “Horror.” I personally feel the latter fits somewhat better, but it also makes my novel virtually invisible in searches. The former doesn’t fit quite as well but opens my book to a much wider audience. Read more…

A WIP blog chain, or: “I am not a fish!”

Chain letters usually go straight to my spam filter, but when I received an invitation to participate in a chain blog, my curiosity was piqued. Its sender was Sara Burr, a writer and blogger who  captivates me with her eloquence and thoughtfulness. I haven’t had a chance to read her first novel yet, but you can bet I’m looking forward to it!

With two days of editing my newest book under my belt, this chain blog was perfectly timed to get me thinking both about what it is and what I want it to be. It’s also got me wondering. I know we’re not supposed to play favorites with our children, but is it OK to favor certain of our books over others? Because it’s possible–not certain, mind you, just possible–that I enjoy this one a heck of a lot more than the ones that preceded it. Maybe. A little.

What is the working title of your book?

Elelu. It’s not the most descriptive working title, granted, but I’m still early in the process!

Where did the idea come from for the book?

It came from my idea box from younger years. I had a night dream that jarred that old idea loose and got to daydreaming up what the story would look like if I wrote it today. Then, without too much delay, I got to writing.

What genre does your book fall under?

Urban fantasy. I’d also classify it as Young Adult, but my fiancee, Ba.D., is fighting me on that one: “Everything is YA right now! It’s a meaningless classification. Just go with what it really is.”

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’m way too early in the process to start playing that game! Right now, I want to stay true to my characters as they are instead of envisioning who else they might be.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When the sole survivor of mermaid genocide lands in her lap, loner Abigail must decide not only what she believes in but how far she’s willing to go to save someone else.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Independently published. Although there are pros and cons to each, I’m much more interested in creative control than traditional publishing at this point.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About four months, excluding the month I took off.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

This question had me stumped until I started reading Necromancing the Stone last night. So far, it’s similar to that book’s predecessor (Hold Me Closer, Necromancer) in tone and pacing.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My fiancee inspired me. When I had the dream that got me thinking about writing my old story, I described that dream in depth to Ba.D., who told me that sounded like a book he’d love to read. Over the next couple of weeks, I told Ba.D. what I was thinking and asked for his input when I encountered any logic or plot hurdle I couldn’t seem to jump by myself. With his encouragement, I moved from thinking about the story to actually writing it.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I grew up poor, but not so poor that my mom couldn’t cough up gas money to take one of her barely-running cars to the Oregon coast every year or two. Those coast trips brought me a sense of possibility. In  Elelu, I’ve captured the feelings of hope and home that imagining the ocean continue to evoke in me. I’ve done this within an exciting story full of characters you might not always agree with but whom I think you’d probably enjoy grabbing a cup of coffee.

Click here to learn a little more about Elelu. Otherwise, please mosey on over to visit the next link in the chain, my friend E.L. Farris. Her heartbreaking yet inspirating first novel, Ripple, will hopefully be out in time for Christmas.

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