Good morning, world! I'm happy to welcome Bella Street, author of the series, Apocalypse Babes, as my guest star today.
After reading her book The Z Word, I tracked her down and asked her if she'd guest blog and talk about writing in such diverse genres. (My review of The Z Word last week.)
Bella's books are sold by all the popular ebook retailers. For more information, check her website or her blog BellaStreetWrites.
Bella Street: In Her Own Words
Thank you, Joan, for having me on SlingWords!
One of the best things about being an indie author is the ability to explore new realms in writing. While maintaining an author brand is important from a marketing perspective, I believe an indie author has a bit more leeway in taking her writing in different directions.
My book,Kiss Me, I'm Irish, is pure romance with a paranormal twist. Boy and girl meet, sparks fly, and a HEA happens that hopefully makes for an enjoyable read. But while writing pure romance for the last fifteen years, I was also getting addicted to serialized TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. It makes perfect sense...on some level.
Had I ever written sci-fi before? Nope. But I knew what I liked and what I hoped to achieve. One thing I really liked about a series is getting to know the characters in many different situations; I liked getting to watch them grow and evolve. But that also requires more developed characterizations. If characters are expected to carry a show or book series over a long story arc, they must have epic (for them) goals, motivations, and conflict.
Probably the biggest challenge for me was how to write in a genre that didn't rely on the classic boy meets girl framework. The conflict had to be less about romantic back and forth interaction and more about how my characters affected, and are affected by, their world. I spent a lot of time studying science-fiction tropes and reading sci-fi sub-genres, while learning about historical and cultural symbolism for added layering.
The Fun Part: What if?
A popular modern trope in fiction is the kick-butt heroine who is strong and capable. Being of a contrary nature, I had to ask what if a heroine was average? Insecure? The kind of girl who wears bright pink without a second thought?
What if her main goal in life was security and safety in the make-believe world of West Hollywood? What if she was motivated by a past that forced her to come up with a do-over identity she desperately wanted to stick? And what if she was torn from that world and thrust into a past she never dreamed she'd have to face?
Add Zombies, Mix Well
Then throw in zombies for an extra kick.
The tagline to the series that arose out of this genre shift was: No mad skillz, no sacred destiny, just a pink tracksuit that will take her places she never wanted to go.
Romance is still a part of this story. I'm not able to leave it out as it's my favorite genre as a whole. But mixing genres allowed me to explore different characterizations and growth arcs. Like that pink tracksuit, it's taken me places I never thought I'd go.
Food For Thought
On closing, I'll leave you with these questions. What is a genre you've always wondered about? What would it be like to write in that genre?
Thank you, Bella, for visiting today. To your closing questions, I'll add a question from me. What's stopping you?