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Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Musings

When an author has an identity crisis...

A couple of years ago, I discovered a great new author. I enjoyed reading her series of suspense because they had innovative, unique and complex plots. They involved time travel to exotic locations and the author was so good at writing suspense that I kept the pages turning long after I should have closed the book and gone to bed. One sign of an excellent book and a great author is when I finish that last page and go looking for more.

So I was very excited to learn that she had written two more series and both of them had been published this past year. I immediately purchased the three books in a series that sounded very similar to the one I'd loved. I started reading the first in the series last week and it's obvious the author has changed genres.

Now, there's a right way and a wrong way to change genres. If you don't want to lose the audience you've worked so hard to get, you want to keep the same or a similar writing style. I was concerned when I wrote my two historical books that I'd lose my suspense audience so I wrote them with the same level of suspense as my other books - even though they were true adventure. The result: one won an international award (River Passage won the 2010 Best Drama) and the other is still my best-selling book (Songbirds are Free.)

In this new series, I'm told there is a plot - I read it in the blurb. But I haven't seen it yet. I am halfway through (around 50,000 words in) and so far, the two main characters have ridden on horseback and had sex at every turn. Nothing else has happened.

I'm not a prude (so my children and grandchildren tell me.) I know sex sells. But I have to wonder how a writer who was SO good, SO adept at suspense, turned to a no-plot series featuring nothing but sex. The money might be there in the short term. But is it worth the reputation in the long run?

The style was so different that I went online to research whether there were two authors with the same name. I found out, both series were indeed hers - and so is the third series, which has also been recently released. The newest series is all about gay sex. Manlove.

That doesn't do anything for me.

If this author writes another book in the first series I read, I'll try her again. Until then, call me disappointed.



2 comments:

Bonnie Watson said...

She should have gone with a pen name. But do you think a person should use a different name if they're just writing a single book and not a series?

p.m.terrell said...

I have heard that writers often use different names for different genres. I think there are pros and cons. On the one hand, it clearly defines a separate audience. On the other hand, it makes it difficult for a fan of one genre to find the author's other works. I have also wondered how they manage explaining the different names at book signings...