|Which box are you in?|
Publishers have this unfortunate habit of placing authors in a specific genre box. If your first novel is romance, then you are a romance writer, and woe betide you if you step outside this genre. My first accepted novel, Dead Wood, was a contemporary crime one, although I had previously written a romantic saga. So, I was popped into the contemporary crime genre box and, if I was still with my traditional publisher, that is where you would find me languishing.
|My Dundee Crime Series|
Now, I am quite happy to be a crime writer, and I suppose I’m best known for my Dundee Crime series of books. However, I’m not sure that I want to be restricted in my choice of what to write. So, having successfully made the conversion to being an indie writer, I have a bit more autonomy.
If you are wondering how I have exercised that autonomy, you have to look no further than my historical saga, A Salt Splashed Cradle, set in an 1830s fishing village. In that book I was able to sail off to the the fishing grounds, go whaling, bait lines, and generally live the life of the ordinary fisher folk. No murders, although a lot of envy, jealousy, and even a bit of sex (shock, horror).
Then there is my most recent crime book, The Death Game, published in March. This one is not contemporary crime. It is historical crime, featuring one of Scotland’s first policewoman, and set in 1919, the year after the end of the First World War. This one has a bit of a gothic feel to it, and since its launch, my readers seem to be liking my change of direction.
However, I’ve made the genre jump again and have just published a nonfiction book, although I’m still focusing on crime. This one is called Crime Fiction and the Indie Contribution, and it is an examination of crime fiction from the early days of the genre, through to modern times. All my reading examples in this book have been gleaned from the pens of indie authors, and/or indie publishers.
This book started out as a series of posts for the Edinburgh e-Book Festival, and it was Bill Kirton who suggested I turn them into book form. It seemed a good idea at the time and I thought it would be an easy task. However, I hadn’t counted on my own inbuilt need for perfection. I don’t suppose I really meet my own standards, but I do have to try for them. So, that meant the posts had to be rewritten (too bloggy for a book), plus I had to include a lot more material. This resulted in the 12,000 words I wrote for the posts working out at more than 40,000 words for the finished book.
Now the book is finished I’ve lost count of how many indie books I have used as examples, but as some chapters quote 3 books, and some 4 books, then it must be somewhere in the region of between 51 to 68 books. And I read every one of them! So, if you want to know if you’ve been included, then I’m afraid you’ll have to read the book!
I’m currently writing my second historical crime novel, but I can’t help thinking about different writing genres and whether I’m ready to try something else!