Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Writing Across the Genre Spectrum By Kelli A. Wilkins



When people ask me what I do, I tell them I’m a writer. Usually their next question is: “What do you write?” My answer? “Everything.”
I write fiction in various genres and levels of intensity. I can give romance readers a tender love story or a spicy erotic novella. Fans of speculative fiction can be terrorized by my horror stories or whisked away into an alternate reality in my sci fi tales. I’ve also written several non-fiction books. Looking to take care of a cat or a hermit crab? I’ve got those covered. And if you’re ready to write your own fiction, well, I wrote the book on getting started.
I’m often asked a lot of questions about how (and why) I write across the genre spectrum. Here are five FAQ:
How did you get started writing in so many different areas?
I never set out to be such a multi-faceted writer; it was something that happened gradually. I started out writing short horror fiction, and always dreamed of “one day” having my work included in an anthology. (I’m happy to say my horror stories have appeared in many anthologies!) Then one day I came across a “10-minute love story” in a magazine and thought, “I could write one of those.” So I did. The story was accepted and I became a regular romance author for the publication. A year or so later they asked me if I could write sci fi. I said, “Sure!” and I did.
From that point on, I realized that I didn’t have to “just” write horror, or romance, or sci fi… I could branch out into any genre or type of writing I wanted. I figured, why limit yourself? If there’s a market for a particular type of story, why not write it? From there, I started writing longer romances, and eventually got those published.
Within the romance genre, you write contemporary, gay, paranormal, fantasy, and historical stories. Why do you vary so much in one genre?
I get inspired from a multitude of ideas, so I basically go wherever the story takes me. My fantasy romance, A Most Unusual Princess came about because I wanted to write about a headstrong princess looking for a husband. The idea of a gay wrestler forced to come out sparked A Secret Match, and a mysterious stranger collapsing into the arms of an 1877 storekeeper became my historical romance novel, Lies, Love & Redemption.
The plot and the characters dictate the genre, setting, and heat level in my books. So I may write a hot contemporary romance one month, and then two months later I’m writing a mild historical. I don’t mind switching up genres because it gives me leeway to create unique characters and plots each time I write. I never know where the next story will take me.
Within the historical category my books range from mild to super-spicy and take place in different time periods (Old West, Colonial, Pioneer, Celtic). I don’t stick to writing “all” Westerns or “all” Colonials. Once I have the time period for the story, I do research for details and/or ideas for clothing, occupations, etc. I like to weave authentic details into the books and blend them in as naturally as possible. When I’m writing fantasy romance, I try to make the details believable, even if I’m making them up!
How do you balance writing romance and horror? Which one do you like best?


My horror stories are more psychologically spooky rather than gory, and usually after I finish writing a few romances I switch up and write a horror tale or two. I use different “writing muscles” when I tell a horror story, and I can develop different plots, characters, and have an overall darker tone in my horror fiction than I can in a romance.
I like both genres, so it was only a matter of time before I blended the two… into paranormal romance. When I write paranormal romances I have to make sure I don’t cross over too far into the horror world. You don’t want to create a paranormal hero/heroine that’s too frightening and/or violent in the story. Romance lovers don’t want to read about a full-fledged monster. The character has to be likeable and loveable with all the traits of a romance hero/heroine – even if he or she is a vampire who needs to feed. (This was the basis for my paranormal, Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover.)
You wrote the non-fiction book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction. What made you decide to write a book about writing?
Every time I do an interview, I’m often asked the same batch of questions: Where do you get your ideas? How do I get published? How do you write a book? What advice do you have for writers who are just starting out? Do you have any writing tips? 
I’ve answered these questions many times in interviews and addressed them in blogs, but I always wanted to say more. One day, I started thinking about everything I’ve learned over the years, and inspiration hit me: Why not write a book on how to write? The result? You Can Write—Really! A
Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction.
This fun and practical book walks you through the story-creating process step-by-step: from getting a great idea to meeting your characters, developing a plot, and on to writing, revising, and submitting your work. It covers the basics of storytelling – regardless of what genre you write.
Each easy-to-read chapter is based on my years of hands-on experience as a writer, advice I’ve received, and the technical “know-how” I’ve gained in writing classes and professional writing workshops. Basically, it’s practical advice on how to get started, almost like a Writing 101 workshop. Any writer can use the tips and writing exercises for an extra boost of motivation or just for fun.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Busy. I’m always multi-tasking. I constantly find myself adding something extra to my “to do” list. I might be writing a book, promoting another book, blogging, Tweeting, and writing my newsletter all in the same week!

I get new story ideas all the time, so I’m always thinking about more than one plot or set of characters. For example, I’ve been in the middle of writing a book (Trust with Hearts) and had the entire plot for a new book (A Deceptive Match) jump into my head. When that happens, I take a break from the book I’m writing, make an outline and take notes for the new book (so I don’t forget anything), then go back to the first one. I can only write one book at a time, so the new title has to wait in line until I’m ready. I think that’s why I’m able to write so many books – I always have the next one (or two) lined up.
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Writers shouldn’t be afraid to try new things. Yes, it might be “easier” or “better” to find a genre or niche and stay there. That may work for most writers, but for me, that could become tiresome after a while (like having the same thing for dinner every night). I like to explore something new and different each time I write.
For me, writing across the genre spectrum is just what I do. Some days, I venture down a dark and mysterious pathway into a haunted cemetery… Other days, I’ll lose myself in the romantic adventures of a feisty historical heroine… But no matter what I write, I enjoy creating the characters, plots, and settings that bring the story to life for readers – and I hope they enjoy the journey as much as I do.
My latest romances are both contemporaries, but are very different subgenres. Here are the book summaries and links to Trust with Hearts and Beauty & the Bigfoot.

Trust with Hearts
After a bitter breakup, Sherrie Parker seeks refuge at her cousin Dave’s house in rural West Virginia. Early one morning, she runs into Dave’s other houseguest, a singer named Curtis Taylor. The last thing Sherrie wants is to share living quarters with a country music crooner – even if he is sexy, in a cowboy sort of way.
Thrown together by circumstances, Sherrie and Curtis get off to a rocky start, but soon discover they have more in common than they ever imagined. Unable to fight their growing attraction, they give in to their desires and start a sizzling summer romance.
Everything is perfect between them until Sherrie discovers that Curtis is keeping secrets from her – and his biggest secret of all will change everything. Can their newfound love survive, or will destiny keep them apart forever? 

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Beauty & the Bigfoot

Can true love exist between the species?

Tara’s world is anything but normal. Her father is known as the resident crackpot – just because he’s on a personal mission to catch a Sasquatch. Despite all of the “Bigfoot evidence” cluttering their house, Tara never really believed in Bigfoot… until the day her father brought him home.


She affectionately names her father’s prized catch “Joe” and discovers there’s something oddly familiar – and erotic – about him. With a media circus descending on her father’s ranch and a showdown brewing with the local sheriff, Tara risks her life to save Joe.

When Tara finally succumbs to her animalistic urges, she learns that Joe is not exactly who – or what – he seems. Joe is more than a Sasquatch… he’s her soul mate!


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I also have several works-in-progress. I just finished writing the first draft of a new paranormal romance, and I’m revising another historical romance novel. And naturally, I have ideas brewing… for another contemporary gay novella, and two more historical romances.
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts today. I welcome comments and questions from readers and other authors. Feel free to contact me via the email address on the News page of my site or on social media. Follow my blog and/or sign up for my newsletter to learn more about me and my books.
Happy Reading!
Kelli A. Wilkins

 


About Kelli A. Wilkins an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels.

Her paranormal-comedy, Beauty & the Bigfoot, was published in September 2017.
Kelli released Trust with Hearts, a contemporary romance, in July 2017. Her third gay romance, Four Days with Jack, was released in June 2017. Kelli’s trilogy of erotic romance novellas, Midsummer Night’s Delights, Midwinter Night’s Delights, and Ultimate Night’s Delights was published in spring 2017.
Loving a Wild Stranger was published in January 2017. This historical/pioneer romance is set in the wilds of the Michigan Territory and blends tender romance with adventure.
Kelli's third Medallion Press romance, Lies, Love & Redemption is a spicy historical western set on the Nebraska prairie in 1877.
Like to be scared? Don’t miss Dead Til Dawn and Kropsy’s Curse.
Kelli’s writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative guide filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.
Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: @KWilkinsauthor.
Visit her website, www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings, read book excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb.

Find Kelli & her writings on the web

Amazon Author Page: Author Kelli Wilkins
Facebook Author Page: Author Kelli Wilkins