Monthly Archives: July 2012

Interview with Megan Derr

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Dragon-shifters! Fairy tales slashed! Epic world-building to rival the lot of ’em!

The author of getting on for a hundred novels, short stories, and novellas, Megan Derr has done it all, establishing herself as a leading light in the current world of m/m and slash fantasy writing. The final instalment in her Lost Gods series, Chaos, is out soon, and she has kindly taken time out of her mega busy schedule to answer a few questions about her contribution to the field.

Megan is also one of the founders of LT3, a rather wonderful publishing company that specialises in paranormal and fantasy slash and m/m.

Your contribution to the field of m/m/GLBQT/slash fantasy fiction is truly epic! What first drew you to write in this genre?

::laugh:: I think epic gives me too much credit, but it’s nice to hear. I started on the yaoi end of things, deeply mired in manga/anime/fanfic. Gundam Wing was one of my first major obsessions (5×6 forever!). I’d tried writing before, but it never stuck. Yaoi though, that stuck. Gradually I moved more into the slash arena, where I have been plaguing people ever since :3

Has the genre changed and evolved in the years you’ve been writing?

Yes, quite a bit. I remember how hard it was to find anything to read that was not fanfic or online fiction free online somewhere. I used to save up my money to buy the few slash books available in print. By the time I finish college, there were a handful of sites that sold m/m books. Somewhere in there, that number grew from a handful to a lot.  The popularity of ebooks has made all the difference, I think.

m/m – GLBQT – slash. Which of these categories, if any, do you most closely identify your fiction with?

I’ve always counted myself a slash writer. We use terms like GLBTQ at LT3, but I’ve always felt that belongs more to fiction that deals/represents that community. I’m a romance writer first, and I write primarily for my own entertainment.  I feel that falls under slash more than anything else.

How do you see the future of the field?  Will m/m fantasy ever go mainstream?

I’m not sure fantasy specifically ever will. As much as people out there love my stories, contemporary will, I think, always be the more popular.  But who knows. Fantasy in general is more popular now than it was when I was growing up and people mocked my poor Dragon Lance books. Comic books and fantasy stories are getting more and more attention, slash fandom is getting more attention from the shows they love. Maybe someday those of us in slash fantasy will get some major spotlight, too :D

How much pre-planning do you do before you write?  E.g. do you have endless notes on world-building, or do you like to see how things evolve as you go along.

That varies by the story. For the most part, I’m a jump-off-a-cliff sort. I’m perfectly happy opening a new doc, starting with what little I have, and seeing where it goes. But some stories just require more work. Lost Gods has all kinds of notes just so I do not completely screw up details and timelines across five books. My Dance books have a very stupid looking timeline that lets me keep track of who is how old and doing what to whom and when. But often what winds up being typed does not match my outlines/notes, so I guess in the end every story is some mixture of both.

Which, if any, of your books/series is your favourite?

Kria verse will always be my baby, as people have heard me say a thousand times (and are probably sick of hearing). I love my Krians, their enemies and friends. I’ll always be proud of Prisoner. But Dance comes in at a close second. I’ve put a hell of a lot of effort into that paranormal verse and am proud of how all the books have turned out. It’s also just plain fun to write.

Goodreads lists you as the author of 79 distinct works!  I’m passing on a question from a newbie to your writing–where should I start?

That depends on what you like ^^ But Prisoner or Dance with the Devil are both good starting points. Missing Butterfly is a fan favourite, but I’m not as big a fan of contemporary as I am of fantasy, and I think that shows even if I do work hard on everything I write.

Tell us a little about LT3. What’s the coolest part of running your own publishing company –and what are the hardest challenges?

LT3 is a very quiet little publisher, which is how we like it. We also seem to deal more with paranormal and fantasy rather than contemporary, which is also how we like it :3

The coolest part is just being right in the middle of it all. I like reading submissions, coordinating the cover art, arranging the print books, working so closely with other authors.

The hardest challenge is not being a hermit. Publishing requires being out there, talking, connecting, not being my shy, awkward self. Even just online it’s exhausting. The conventions we’re going to this year kind of have me terrified.

Please tell us about the newest book in the Lost Gods series, Chaos.

Chaos is book number five, the last and probably the hardest to write just because I hate endings. So many books I’ve read sucked it up at the end, and I don’t want my books to do that. Chaos is about a character only mentioned in the other books and his determination to free the long-sealed off country of Schatten. But the story also involves a young man in Schatten and one of the infamous Seers of Schatten. They were all a lot of fun to write, being so drastically different from each other. It was a blast writing the other books and building up to finally reaching the country where all the trouble began ^__^ Hopefully Chaos is considered a fitting end to the Lost Gods series. I am much with the love to everyone who stuck with me throughout it.

What projects do you (and LT3 press) have in the works that we can get excited about?

We just launched a new submission call for our serial line called If You’re Reading This … The idea was inspired by the old ‘message in a bottle’ concept and we’re looking forward to the stories we’ll get for it. In October, we have another submission coming out: Proud to be a Vampire.  But October we’re also going to be busy attending YaoiCon and GRL. We’re looking forward to finally meeting so many of the people we interact with every day.

Writing wise, I’ve got three main goals after my current project:  a fantasy polyamory story I started forever ago, but never got to finish, a story about a businessman and a crime lord, and a new book in the Dance with the Devil verse.

Thank you for having me and letting me ramble a bit. ‘Tis always a pleasure to spend time with such awesome people ^__^

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Thanks so much for Megan for dropping by!

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Interview with Jim C. Hines

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Jim Hines’s Princess Series starts with The Stepsister Scheme, in which we follow the adventures of Danielle (aka. Cinderella) after her marriage to the prince of her dreams. After her new husband is kidnapped by one of her evil step-sisters, she teams up with Snow White and Talia (aka. Sleeping Beauty) to go and rescue him. (As I’m writing this, it occurs to me to wonder if using the name Danielle is an homage to the movie Ever After? I just did some looking around, and that’s the only place I’ve seen that name in association with that character.)

The princesses are darker, more complicated, and more kick-ass than the Disney versions. The fact that there are three of them lends an unfortunate air of Charlie’s Angels, but three is a very traditional fairytale number. The tone of the writing is light, and very YA, but due to some of the sexual commentary and situations I wouldn’t recommend the books for anyone under 14.

The character that I’d like to highlight, though, is Talia. She is a Princess with a past, and her fairy gifts, originally intended to make her more graceful and princess-y, have instead helped her to become something like a ninja. As a side note, she’s also a lesbian.

Talia’s story doesn’t become fully fleshed out until the third book in the series, Red Hood’s Revenge, where the three princesses have to travel back to her home country of Arathea. I’m not going to give too much away, except to say that Little Red Riding Hood isn’t exactly like her folktale counterpart either, and it seems like she’s out to kill Talia…

The latest book in the series is The Snow Queen’s Shadow, published in 2011 by DAW.

 

Mr. Hines was kind enough to answer some of my questions by email.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Well, I’m an author (obviously). In addition to the princess series, I’ve written the Goblin Quest trilogy about a goblin underdog named Jig, and my latest book is Libriomancer, which comes out on August 7 and follows a magical librarian from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as he fights sparkling vampires and tries to keep his pet fire-spider from setting things alight. I’m 38 years old with two kids, I can do mediocre yo-yo tricks, and earlier this year I made a custom LEGO minifig of David Tennant as the 10th doctor.  I’m currently on the Hugo ballot for Best Fan Writer. I like Hot Fudge sundaes.

 

Do you have a day job as well?

I’m a state employee. I took this job back in 2001, because it was stable and fit well with my writing goals. It gives me a stable paycheck and benefits for me and my family, but doesn’t drain all of my brain and creativity.

 

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I started writing in 1995. Finished my first book in 1996. The first fantasy novel I sold was Goblin Quest, which I finished in early 2001. That book came out from DAW in November of 2006. Yeah, writing is not a fast-moving career…

 

How did you choose the genre you write in?

I’ve always loved science fiction and fantasy, and it just made sense to me that I should write what I love. There are other genres that would probably pay better, but creating these stories and being a part of this genre makes me happy.

 

Where do you get your ideas?

Mary Robinette Kowal gave me a magic marionette. Every morning, the marionette types a new story idea. The only problem is that once a year, it demands a sacrifice. It’s messy, and it upsets the cats. Fortunately, I’ve been able to keep it satisfied so far by feeding it internet trolls.

 

Do you work with an outline, or just write?

I work with multiple outlines. My brain just isn’t big enough to hold an entire book. I create an outline first, then start writing. After about 20,000 words or so, I discover all of the problems with my outline and make a new one. I usually go through three or four outlines before I get all the way through my first draft. It’s not fun, but it seems to be my process.

 

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

I’d love to! Libriomancer is my first foray into present-day fantasy. (Is it urban fantasy if much of it takes place in a small town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula?) Anyway, Isaac Vainio is a librarian with the ability to reach into books and create things from the stories within, anything from Excalibur to disruptors to thermal detonators. He’s bright, but a bit too impulsive. He’s part of a magical organization founded five hundred years ago by the first libriomancer: Johannes Gutenberg. But now Gutenberg has vanished, various species of vampire are starting to act up, and Isaac is caught in the middle of it.

I’m playing with various urban fantasy tropes with this one. For example, the traditional love triangle gets pretty bent up by the time I’m through with it. I also wanted the book to be fun, to show a bit of the joy and wonder of magic, and of books.

It’s my first hardcover with DAW, and I’m really excited about it. Preliminary reviews are good, including a starred review from Publishers Weekly and a very nice blurb from Pat Rothfuss. I’m really looking forward to the release, and to seeing what people think!

The first chapter is posted on my website at www.jimchines.com if anyone’s curious.

 

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

The goblin series draws a little on real life, oddly enough. While I never got stuck on muck duty or attacked by tunnel-cats, Jig’s experiences getting picked on by the bigger goblins echoes some of my own times during Junior High. (Which may be why I took such glee in killing off a few of those other goblins.)

Libriomancer draws a bit more on real life, since I set it in the real world. (More or less.) A lot of the locations are either real or based on real places, like the Michigan State University library and various bookstores. Isaac’s home town of Copper River is made up, but based in part on the towns we visit when we go up north for vacation every year.

 

What was your favorite chapter (or part) of Red Hood’s Revenge to write and why?

I think that would be the scenes with Roudette (Red Riding Hood) and Talia (Sleeping Beauty), whether they’re fighting or working together. They’re two very strong, very determined, very powerful women. They have so much in common, but ended up taking such different paths. I really enjoyed bouncing them off of each other and seeing what happened.

 

What project are you working on now?

Libriomancer II: The Sequel Without a Decent Title.

 

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

Jig the goblin had a pet fire-spider named Smudge who was a delight. Bringing him back for the Libriomancer series has been a lot of fun. Isaac’s love interest, the dryad Lena, is another idea I’ve worked with a lot. There was a dryad character in the princess books, Captain Hephyra, who became a bit of a fan favorite. I just really like the idea of this woman who is openly accepting of her beauty and sexuality, but also has the strength and power of the trees. Lena is rather different than Hephyra, but in some ways she’s an evolution of an idea I’ve been playing with for about a decade now.

 

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Write. Read. Write. Listen to published authors, but don’t take their every word as gospel. Write. Take your time, and don’t expect to master this overnight. Also, you should write.

 

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you!

 

Gay Representation in Game of Thrones: the Problem with Renly and Loras

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Hi! I’m Violetta Vane, writer of urban fantasy slash m/m romance. You might know me (and my cowriter, Heidi Belleau) from such novels as Hawaiian Gothic, but if not, don’t worry, because I’m not going to talk about writing. For my first post on this neat new blog, I thought I’d write something fan-oriented instead. So let’s hop aboard the spiky pedicab for a journey into Westeros!

I’ve read the first four books of ASOIAF and watched both seasons of Game of Thrones. I’m a fan. That doesn’t mean I’m not also a critic. My enjoyment is tempered with frequent bouts of groaning, hissing, head-shaking, and extending the middle finger at the screen.

Gay representation in Game of Thrones is a fascinating subject, because it’s actually quite groundbreaking to have an explicitly gay relationship in a mainstream, big-budget fantasy. I’m speaking of Renly and Loras. For those who don’t know the plot, Game of Thrones is structured around the quest for power after the death of King Robert Baratheon. He has a son and heir—Joffrey—but people are concerned that Joffrey is the product of an incestuous affair between Queen Cersei and her brother, and therefore illegitimate. Joffrey can’t help that, but just as importantly, he’s a smarmy little dickbag that every viewer loves to hate. The actor is young, but he does evil so well. Robert also had two brothers, Stannis and Renly. Stannis is off on an island for most of the first season, and all we know is that he’s not as bad as Joffrey, but he’s still kind of a dick. And then there’s Renly, Robert’s younger brother. Everyone thinks he’s a nice guy, and he has a nice smile (although I’m not a fan of the beard). His gay lover is Loras, the son of the powerful and wealthy Tyrell family. Loras is  known for his skill in battle and looking pretty. He’s called “The Knight of the Flowers”.

Once the claimants start gathering their forces—there are many many other claimants I haven’t mentioned—viewers are given a scene where Renly and Loras plot during sexytimes. We don’t get that in the book, because neither are POV characters, but everything that’s said between them politically makes sense in terms of the book. They have only that one scene; in contrast, the show contains double digits of heterosexual scenes of what I call exposition-by-whore, in which sensitive political details are discussed during, well, sex with whores. That’s one of my complaints, actually: since prostitution assumes more importance in the show than in the movie, then I wanted an actual prostitution arc that shows these women with agency, not just as exposition tools and victims. But I digress. Back to the gay… the gay which mightily disturbed many fanboys, who flooded the boards the day after that episode aired in order to complain about the Renly/Loras scene. Their biggest complaint was that the scene cuts right after Loras goes down on Renly—you could hear the “slurping” noise, and this nightmarish sound greatly traumatized their shell-like ears. Let’s spare a moment of silence for their suffering, okay?

Now let’s wipe away our tears and move on to the manscaping:

This scene was a little weird because Loras shaves Renly’s body but he doesn’t shave his beard, which I would imagine should be the first thing to go. But other than that, I didn’t have a problem with it. It made sense. It advanced the plot and gave us some understanding of the characters. The relationship was shown as important not just because of sex, but like all the other relationships in the story, because of power. Loras pledges his family’s support of Renly’s bid for the throne. They’re both shown as ambitious and scheming, but compared to other characters, relatively sympathetic. Renly honestly thinks he’d be the best person for the kingdom.

There’s nothing in this scene about being gay as an identity. We can, however, intuit that this relationship is against the rules sexually, but not socially. In a world where women are very much second-class citizens with limited access to power, segregated from men, relationships and allegiances between men are tight and long-lasting, sexual or not. And they’re often made by choice, whereas relationships with women are arranged.

There were some other same-sex scenes involving women in both seasons, but they were all crap, and really insulting. The two women were always performing for a man. It seemed like pure fanservice for straight fanboys. That’s especially enraging because it’s possible to cater to this audience while still including genuine attraction and relationships between women. An example is Spartacus, which is loaded full of plot-relevant lesbian sex and UST.

The dynamic of the Loras/Renly scenes in the second season—now that, I had a lot of problems with. Renly has declared himself a contender, gathered an army, and married Loras’ sister, Margaery. This is all according to Loras’s plan. The marriage cements the powerful alliance that should all but guarantee Renly the southern throne. He’s doing pretty well for himself. Yes, it sucks that he’s gay and has to marry a woman and have a baby with her ASAP, but compared to all the horrible things that happen to other characters who pursue power (torture, rape, mutilation, death, not necessarily in that order) he’s got it good. Loras, who’s in bed with him, reminds him of that, and lays down the law: no more sexytimes unless Renly starts seriously trying to impregnate Margaery. Here’s a link to the resulting scene.

Margery gets down to business right away. She comes off as a sympathetic, pragmatic character in this scene. She speaks to Renly in a respectful and friendly manner, reminds him they need to get an heir, and says she’ll do whatever it takes to make this as easy as possible. She gets naked and mentions soothingly that he can think of her brother while he does it. In fact, they can even bring Loras in, if that would help… Cut to Renly, looking scared. Then cut scene. That’s it. We never know if he successfully does it or not, but he very likely doesn’t.

My problem is that with this scene, Renly stopped being a character who happens to be gay. Instead, he became “the gay character”. And gayness is defined as not being able to have sex with a woman. This is unrealistic, first of all. It shouldn’t be so hard. He could have it over in two minutes. No one is asking him to compromise his emotional integrity, and the value of maintaining some kind of sexual integrity is dubious in the context of a show where sympathetic characters are constantly being forced into transactional relationships and have to make the most of these bad situations. This scene does a good job of characterizing Loras and Margaery, but by defining Renly’s gayness as lack and weakness, it does an awful disservice to his characterization. We’re told he’d make a strong king who could make difficult decisions, but this scene directly contradicts that.

It might not be a problem if there were other gay people and relationships on the show, but there aren’t. This is it.

I won’t go further into this storyline in terms of spoilers. But there might be spoilers in the comments, if we get a lot of comments going. I’d like to ask readers: what did you think of Loras/Renly in Game of Thrones, including the casting? Do you agree with my criticism or disagree? Do you think it could have been portrayed better while still staying true to the books? Or do you think the showmakers did a decent job? What did you like most about the relationship portrayal, and least?

Worldbuilding, M/M Style

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In the worlds of fantasy and science-fiction, and all the various permutations of them, one of the single most important elements for the writer to get “right” is the worldbuilding. The readers and viewers expect to be immersed in the worlds the author creates and as much time needs to be given to the development of that world as to the characters themselves.

Now, it’s my argument that we do worldbuilding whenever we write, because the “world” of our story has its own distinct rules and cultures. But that’s a minority view, and for now, let’s concentrate on the worlds of fantasy and science fiction and all the many ways they can be combined. In addition, there are some unique challenges when writing GLBT fantasy or science fiction that aren’t necessarily present in heterosexual environments – though that’s not always true.

Let’s start with the basics. What is worldbuilding?

Let’s take a look at a couple quick videos to get an idea. The first is from Star Wars.

What do we see from this brief excerpt? A desert world surrounds our hero, alien, with strange cars that don’t need wheels. A scary figure in black with harsh breathing threatens a young, beautiful woman. We then see a spaceport, similar to any port with incoming and outgoing craft but with unusual features such as droids and alien figures.

What don’t we see? Dogs, modern fixtures of everyday life, fast food outlets, cars, and other trappings of everyday life. We don’t see tall office buildings, nor do we see billboards. We do see police that look like soldiers (a bit like the German SS, actually), bigots, a teacher, our hero, and pet-like droids that tug at our heart-strings the way good side-kicks are supposed to.

Let’s look at a second scene:

Unfortunately, the scenes I’d like to post aren’t available copyright-free so I can’t, but this gives you a good overview of the world. In quick strokes, Joss Whedon, the creator, paints a picture of a place that is like Star Wars meets the Old West. One of the things I love about this particular series and the movie Serenity is that they got the ships “right” when they’re in space – they have no sound! Sound is a factor of atmosphere and gravity, and in space, there is vacuum and nothing to vibrate to cause sound in our inner ear. However, to my dismay, I watched several trailers and they all added the sound back in!

This actually proves my point, in a way. As we worldbuild, we need to make sure the details we create are meticulous and internally consistent. Firefly was the first space show to get that particular detail “right,” at least that I’m aware of. All the other shows, even Star Trek in its various iterations, add big booming sounds for the spaceship drives.

So, in essence, worldbuilding is creating a plausible environment in which your characters interact with each other and the environment itself. This is why I argue that setting a story anywhere is worldbuilding, because if you interact with the setting then you need to be careful to get the details right – or, at least, consistent. As Mies van der Roh, the architect, said, “God is in the details.”

The unique challenges faced by writing a story with same-sex partners is that the author has the opportunity to create a culture that plausibly accepts, or does not accept, such partnerships. If you want to write a world where two men can have a committed relationship and marry, form family unions with children and a white picket fence, then you need to build a world in which that could plausibly happen. Readers are sophisticated and will be skeptical since, in our everyday reality, being gay is not accepted and is, in some places, punishable by law. (For example, in the Soviet Union, up until its collapse in 1989, being gay was an offense punishable by death.)

In Burning Bright, Rachel and I set it in the world of “now,” but added things like magic and werewolves. But the culture is present-day America, set in Chicago, with all that implies. We didn’t sugar-coat any of the relationships and explore the consequences of being gay in a culture that isn’t openly accepting of it. From the military world the characters come from to the world of present-day Chicago, they must fight for acceptance or hide who they are. This affects each of them differently, according to their personality, just like in everyday life.

Their families, too, are affected by it. Some embrace their sons anyway, others disown them, depending on their own beliefs and desires.

In Emerald Fire, however, we decided to take a completely different tack and create a world where being gay was totally normal and accepted, and necessary for the survival of the people living on Persis. The planet is a desert world, too harsh to live on the surface for one month of the year, called Daymonth, and dangerous the rest of the time. Historically, the settlers protected their women and children and many of the traditional “women’s work” jobs fell to young men. Over time, training academies sprang up to help these young men stay competitive in the workforce and to collectively bargain, provide support, etc.

The most fascinating part of doing this is that we’ve created a gender-stratified society in which women are cloistered and protected. Without intending to at first, we created a situation where women who might want to become Hunters, say, couldn’t because of social norms. This allows us, later, to explore those consequences with our characters, but it was an interesting outgrowth of the worldbuilding.

In classical fantasy, there aren’t many GLBT stories, sadly. My favorite is by Mercedes Lackey, the series of The Last Herald Mage. In the first book, Magic’s Pawn, Vanyel Ashkevron has a secret, in that he’s gay. The story, however, isn’t about a gay boy coming of age – it’s a coming of age story first, and a fantasy epic, and his being gay is merely part of the storytelling. It’s an excellent story on its own merits and shows how worldbuilding, handled by an adept, becomes another character in the story.

One of the best examples of worldbuilding is Anne McCaffrey’s the Dragonriders of Pern. I can’t post the cover paintings here, though I could post a picture of the book itself; however, it’s worth checking out the site’s archives of official and fan art, here. One of the most amazing fantasy artists is Michael Whelan, who did many of the American releases of the Pern books.

What Ms. McCaffrey did, though, is create a world grounded in science and sociology. Settlers found a world in the orbit of a G-type star, just like our own solar system. They landed and interacted with the world in ways that, as we read about them, make sense and are logical and grounded. Rather than a fictional place, these stories become fiction about a place that becomes as real for the reader as the England of Shakespeare. Truly masterful.

There are many other excellent examples in the literature of worldbuilding. What are some of your favorites?

Crossing the Line

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Do You Cross The Line? By Alex Beecroft

Here’s a topic that’s on my mind at the moment – crossovers and crossing genres. As an author I hold my hands up and confess to being a serial monogamistas far as inspiration goes. That means, if I’m fired by enthusiasm for the 18th Century, I’ll spend five or more years writing stories set in the 18th Century. And that’s great, isn’t it, because people will get used to the idea that if you pick up an Alex Beecroft book, it’ll be set somewhere around the 1750s and will probably involve sailing ships. I’ve got this branding thing sorted.

The trouble is that eventually my happy little butterfly of a writer’s mind decides its got all the juice out of the celandine of historical fiction, and flits off to the bluebell of fantasy instead, where it hopes to suck up enough sugar to last another half decade. But butterflies are flighty things, and who knows how long that will last before it’s off to the daisy of contemporaries or the purple flowering loosestrife of gothic murder mystery? And as if that wasn’t bad enough, who knows when it will cycle round to historical again and set in for a five book series set in the stone age?

From my point of view as an author, I love the fact that I can write about what takes my fancy at any time, and I’m rather pleased to know that if one obsession peters out, I can find another one. It’s much preferable, from my POV, for me to be writing from love and enthusiasm than it would be if I felt compelled to write more of the same over and over because that was what was expected of me. I think that writing something simply because I felt I ought to would make my life not worth living, and it would also lead to the slow but inevitable descent of my stories into lifeless rubbish.

At the risk of being a little controversial, I can’t help feeling sometimes that that’s what happened to the later volumes of Harry Potter, or the Anita Blake novels – the authors got fed up of churning the same thing out and lost interest, and it showed.

But I can’t help wondering what readers think of that. I, for example, know that I will read anything at all written by Ursula LeGuin, no matter what the genre, but I will only read CJ Cherryh’s Science Fiction and not her fantasy.  What about you? Will you follow an author whose work you enjoy across genres? Or do you think “oh, I wish she would stop messing about with werewolf cop romps in Barbados, and get back to her 12th Century gardening detective novels.” Does the butterfly author risk losing everything every time they try something new?

And since I’m talking about crossing lines, lets talk about crossovers too. Here I’m on even more personal territory. I’ve realised that while I love historical romance and I love fantasy and mystery, what I’d like most would be to write historical fantasy romance. Maybe even historical fantasy mystery romance. The book I had most of a blast writing was The Wages of Sin – a historical ghost story murder mystery m/m romance.

Even my new Fantasy novels, Under the Hill: Bomber’s Moon and Under the Hill: Dogfighters have a strong streak of World War II in amongst the elves and the contemporary romance. I’m trying to have my cake and eat it – trying to amalgamate all the genres I like into every story.

But again – lots of doubts. Does, say, a historical fantasy appeal to both historical and fantasy fans, or does the presence of fantasy put off the historical fans, and the presence of history put off the fantasy ones, so it ends up appealing to neither?

These are the questions that are keeping me up recently, and I don’t have any answers. What do you think? Is it a good thing if authors jump genres? Should they change pseudonym if they do to avoid confusion? Is it a good thing to amalgamate genres, or should the genres be like noble gasses and resolutely refuse to be made into compounds? And if you like the idea of crossovers, what would you like to see crossed over with what, and why?

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Alex Beecroft was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. She studied English and Philosophy before accepting employment with the Crown Court where she worked for a number of years. Now a stay-at-home mum and full time author, Alex lives with her husband and two daughters in a little village near Cambridge and tries to avoid being mistaken for a tourist.

Alex is only intermittently present in the real world.She has lead a Saxon shield wall into battle, toiled as a Georgian kitchen maid, and recently taken up an 800 year old form of English folk dance, but she still hasn’t learned to operate a mobile phone.

You can find me at http://alexbeecroft.com or http://alex-beecroft.livejournal.com I talk more on LJ