Contemporary Freedom

ccnancyjardineToday my friend and fellow Crooked Cat author Nancy Jardine talks about genre in relation to her writing. I’m not entirely sure I agree with everything she’s said so look forward to your comments.

Hello Kim, thank you for inviting me to return to your blog. It’s lovely to pop back to see you.

Some authors quickly find their writing niche and stick with it. It may be that they feel more comfortable with writing political thrillers and that’s the only genre they keep writing in. Or, they only write gritty police procedural novels. Or, maybe they only write historical romances. Many of them are highly successful and their readers are content because they know what to expect from those authors—readers who only want the predictable.

It’s a sad fact of life that other authors who want to challenge readers, or who want to encourage them to appreciate something different in genre or across genres, find their work doesn’t sell well.

The truly mercenary author, I think, finds what genre or ‘fad’ is selling and rides along the crest of that wave—whether or not they enjoy what they’re creating.

I’m still a bit ambivalent regarding my genre comfort zone and I can’t bring myself to be one of those ‘one eye on the profits only’ mercenary type of author.

I love writing my historically based adventures but I’ve also found that writing my contemporary mysteries has given me a sense of freedom. The freedom is directly related to the fact that I don’t need to do so much research since I’m more familiar with the contemporary life my characters might have, or if their lifestyle is quite fanciful, I can find examples of sufficient similar celebrity lifestyles on the internet to make the scenario believable.

When I started to write Take Me Now, my latest Crooked Cat published contemporary mystery novel, I decided to make my TMNx1000main male character Nairn Malcolm an unusual Scottish highland hero. My Nairn was going to be just as charismatic and sword wielding as many of the current highland heroes that can be found in romance novels set in Scotland, but instead of making him a Jacobite, or a medieval hero, I chose to create a contemporary Nairn. I also purposely chose not to create a time shift character, there being plenty of that type of novel available on the market.

Since the story is a romance mystery, I made Nairn a bit more larger than life, yet not the typical hero image at the outset. Though he’s normally the quintessential alpha male, my main female character Aela Cameron finds he’s not at his best when she first meets him. The swooning over my gorgeous highland hero is temporarily delayed since poor Nairn has been the subject of a rather nasty and mysterious motorbike accident. And so begins the fun of the book but also the mystery begins because although I wanted to write an almost ‘tongue in cheek’ version of a highland hero, I also wanted and needed to create a sound mystery plot.

The contemporary freedom for me was also creating amusing dialogue between those main protagonists. Some of the best fun during the writing was during scenes when my strong secondary character Ruaridh Malcolm, Nairn’s father, stirred up some mischief.

If I were asked if Take Me Now is similar to my other writing, I’d have to say no it isn’t because as an author I really tried something different.

Take Me Now is available in ebook formats from Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1QbhUwn ; US http://amzn.to/1MdeuCU ; Smashwords; B&N; and other ebook stores.

Nancy Jardine writes: historical romantic adventures (Celtic Fervour Series); contemporary mystery thrillers (Take Me Now, Monogamy Twist, Topaz Eyes-finalist for THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE 2014); & time-travel historical adventures for Teen/ YA readers (Rubidium Time -Travel Series –Book 1 The Taexali Game).

Find Nancy at the following places-

Blog: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.com Website: http://nancyjardineauthor.com Facebook LinkedIN   About Me   Goodreads Twitter @nansjar  Google+ (Nancy Jardine)   YouTube book trailer videos   Amazon UK author page   Rubidium Time Travel Series on Facebook http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nancy Jardine
    Aug 24, 2015 @ 20:48:12

    Hello Kimm. Again, thank you for the invitation to visit. I’m now wondering what you might disagree with, since I can see there might be more than one thing I’ve written to disagree on! 🙂

    Reply

    • kimmwalker
      Aug 25, 2015 @ 07:32:33

      Hi Nancy. I suspect authors choose to write in a genre they understand best because they enjoy reading that genre themselves. As an avid reader, I tend to choose books in genres and by authors I know not because I want something predictable but because reading a book is an investment in time and money. That’s not to say I don’t read across a range of genres or take risks with unknown authors but most of the time I want something I’m pretty sure I will enjoy.
      I also suspect that when an author flits between genres the reason their work doesn’t sell as well as those who stay in a genre, is because they are having to build a new audience from amongst readers of the different genre.

      Reply

  2. Nancy Jardine
    Aug 25, 2015 @ 09:24:06

    Yes, absolutely, Kimm. I totally agree with the building of different audiences and yet that’s where I think some ‘predictability’ comes in. A reader might not want to read crime or historical or dystopian because they think they won’t enjoy it, but will happily take up a contemporary one. In such a case, I don’t think they’re buying by author preference – but a particular type of writing from that author. I guess I didn’t make that clear enough in the post!

    Reply

    • kimmwalker
      Aug 25, 2015 @ 16:26:38

      I suppose the ‘predictability’ comment is fair. I also tend to choose similar meals in Indian or Chinese restaurants because they are the ones I most enjoy and only get to eat when I’m in those particular eating establishments so very predictable. 😉

      Reply

  3. susanlodgebooks
    Aug 25, 2015 @ 09:29:19

    Enjoyed the blog Nancy.
    I have found that my historical tends to do better than my contemporary books. Contemporary romance is such a huge genre that it is a struggle to get the right audience targeted.
    Historical is my favourite genre to write and read despite having to constantly check the etymology etc. . . .
    I agree, contemporary stories give you a freedom but as I get older and my characters remain youthful I also have to stop and think – ‘Do they say that now ?’ 🙂

    Reply

  4. Nancy Jardine
    Aug 26, 2015 @ 12:52:14

    Hi Susan. That’s a good point about contemporary novels having a tencency to feature young characters. As an older author I don’t try to ape the current ‘twenties or thirties’ trends in talking. I just aim for something I hope is going to be reasonable and understood.

    Reply

  5. jbwye
    Aug 31, 2015 @ 08:27:37

    Kim is very accurate, highlighting the need to build a different audience when writing a novel in a different genre – and not only a different genre. Both my books are classified contemporary fiction, yet my second one is languishing in the market. It is for an entirely different readership, and I havent got to grips with that market.
    My first is only disqualified from the historical fiction genre because it takes place within living memory…
    Nancy, I must admit I prefer your wonderful historical fiction books to your sorties into the contemporary. Bring on the next one!

    Reply

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