Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Writing in a Genre I Never Thought I Would

Marjorie Brody
Things I don’t do: watch horror movies, watch horror tv, read horror novels.  When Kimberly Jayne, an author of romantic comedy, gave me the opportunity to read a prerelease edition of her dark fantasy, I thought, “Romantic comedy. Horror. Romantic comedy. Horror.” Surely a comedic author would write horror light enough I could force myself through reading it. Wrong. The voice in Demonesse was viscerally powerful. And, I didn’t have to force myself to read any of it. The story compelled me to continue reading. I expressed my surprise to Ms. Jayne about becoming engrossed in this genre. She could totally relate, as you will read in her guest post below. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Ms. Kimberly Jayne.         

Writing in a Genre I Never Thought I Would
        by Kimberly Jayne

I don't like horror.
Kimberly Jayne

When I was a kid, I reveled in telling chilling ghost stories in the dark that would scare the bejeezus out of my five younger brothers and sisters; but even I could only stand to watch Carrie and Halloween in the spaces between my fingers. I managed to read a number of horror novels with no problem as I got to be a teen, but a fateful matinee of The Exorcist scared the horror right out of me in two hours and two minutes flat. When you're an impressionable 17-year-old, even the logical Mr. Spock disposition I was born with had a hard time rationalizing "It's just a movie" against the theatrical terror of demonic possession and projectile pea soup that had been embedded into my psyche like a misplaced crucifix.

No, I'm not a horror fan.

And yet, here I am writing a dark fantasy series called Demonesse: Avarus. If you haven't figured it out, "dark fantasy" is often a euphemism for horror. I didn't know that until I was well into the writing, trying to find my story's place among gazillions of other titles. I was running comps like a realtor, trying to land in an urban fantasy or paranormal neighborhood. But Amazon had different ideas. Nice try, cookie, they said, but we're going to categorize Demonesse by your keywords as dark fantasy, horror, and occult.

What? But I don't like horror!

Heh. Turns out I do. Enough to write an entire series. Compared to other works in the genre, Demonesse is more like the dark fantasy worlds of Underworld and Interview with a Vampire, which have deeper story lines and full character arcs, and far less gratuitous blood and gore. No sensible character of mine goes into the woodshed where everybody knows the bogeyman is lying in wait with a machete.

I think the horror moniker is harder for me to accept because I also write romantic comedy. That's actually my first love, and the only reason it was easy to switch mindsets from sexy, spirited, and heartrending to sexy, dark, and dangerous was because the protagonist's voice felt so natural. Maia's shadowy journey drips from my fingers like honey from the hive—viscous, organic, and sticky sweet.

Maybe, sometimes, you can go home.

So, I accept my ominous genre. Mostly. It's dark fantasy, all right. But I'm calling on my inner Pollyanna to remind me that lots of folks who like Anne Rice and Stephen King may also like my Demonesse series. And I'll live in that neighborhood any day of the week.

Kimberly Jayne writes in multiple genres. She is the author of the dark fantasy series Demonesse: Avarus and the hilarious romantic comedy Take My Husband, Please. She has been making up stories since she was five, when she scribbled on her grandfather's notepads her first tall tale about pigs flying. Yes, she started that shtick. Since then, she's written just about everything and for various websites and clients, including humor features for Playgirl Magazine. She performed in the 2011 Listen to Your Mother Show in Austin, Texas, and her writing will appear in the forthcoming anthology, Feisty After 45: The Best Blogs from Midlife Women. Visit her at ReadKimberly.com.  

Demonesse: Avarus: In this compelling dark fantasy, empath Maia Kelly is the virtuous Catholic daughter of an excommunicated nun. After months of erotic fantasies, Maia awakens into her new life as a seductive killer powerless to resist the moon's calling, and no one she loves will ever be safe again. With her pious island existence shattered, she must choose between the demon that made her or going it alone in a supernatural sphere of unseen dangers she can scarcely comprehend. Either way, her nightmare has only just begun. 

Take My Husband, Please: After Sophie files for divorce from Will, his unexpected financial apocalypse brings him back under her roof. Awkward! And if that’s not bad enough, Sophie’s new guy—a sexy and successful entrepreneur—is not keen on dating her without proof that Will is truly out of the picture. Sophie and her best friend concoct a brilliant bet to keep Will “occupied,” but things take a surprise turn for the crazy when Sophie gets roped into sending her ex on five blind dates!

20 comments:

  1. I think it's a challenge and fun to try new genres. Great post.

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    1. Thanks. They say you just go where the story takes you, and that certainly happened with me.

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  2. Hi, Kimberley. Your experiences show that sometimes we can surprise even ourselves.

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    1. Only reason I deleted this is because it was a duplicate of the above!

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  4. The marketing decisions of publishers and Amazon often amaze me, and that's what these decisions on genre are--marketing decisions. They decide more money can be made by calling something horror than by calling dark fantasy or contemporary fantasy or something else. Still, good writing is good writing, no matter what they call it.

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    1. Thanks, I'm discovering all sorts of things about the publishing and marketing process, partly through others and partly through my own trial and error. Make that errors, plural...

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  5. Great post, Kimberly. I've decided that you never know where a publishing journey will take you--sounds like yours is full of twists and turns and dark shadows.

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    1. Thank you. I'm really enjoying the process much more now than I had before. Having work available for people to read is motivating for the next project and triples the excitement.

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  6. Great post, Kimberly! The story is always more important than the label.

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    1. Yes, I agree. Even when I have doubts about myself or the story or whether anyone will ever want to read it, I'm compelled to write this story until there's no more to write. I'm the only one who can write it, right? :-)

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  7. Juliana Aragon FatulaFebruary 9, 2016 at 5:25 PM

    Hi, Kimberly. I enjoyed reading your post. You and I have some things in common. I am writing my first mystery and it is both bloody and comedic. I know, huh? I have a twisted sense of humor that keeps me from falling on my face now and then. So welcome and I look forward to reading your work. Juliana

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    1. I totally get that. My first book, quietly sitting in a cyberspace drawer, was romantic suspense, and I was always backing out the humor. Not all of it, of course, but that was before I had confidence as a writer, and I paid attention to everybody, no matter how good or bad the advice. I am thinking about resurrecting it and making some major edits, but, hey, it's a full book I wrote!

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  8. Kimberly, I love the way you express yourself. Reading your post has convinced me that I need your books on my TBR stack. Thanks for coming to the SG and telling us about yourself!

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    1. Oh, how sweet of you--and pretty darn cool! I enjoyed writing for you all, and sharing a bit about me. I hope to learn more about you too.

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  9. Thank you all for reading and letting me share your space, and particularly to Marjorie! Hugs, KJ

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  10. This post was so well written and Demonesse sounds like a good time. I'm already a fan of your writing style.

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