Itâ€™s great to be back in OCC territory!
My name is Chris Green (writing as Crystal Green for Harlequin Silhouette), and Iâ€™m now an out-of-town member who misses coming to the meetings very much. If you havenâ€™t met me, you might not know that I write Silhouette Special Editions and Bombshells, Harlequin Blazes, plus single title vampire books for Berkley. Yes, just a few different genres and romance sub-genresâ€”and thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m blogging about today.
Writing for multiple lines.
There are a lot of authors out there who believe that writing in such an unfocused manner is a negative, and I absolutely understand their reasoning. â€œBrandingâ€ (making your name an easily identifiable product) is important to sales, and spreading out your â€œbrandâ€ (or what the audience expects from the author) only serves to hurt you in the long run. I can tell you firsthand that this is a scary situation for me because, oftentimes, a reader doesnâ€™t know what kind of story Iâ€™ll be giving them from one month to another. They canâ€™t depend on a definite â€œcomfort readâ€ from me. It makes Crystal Green, as a product, hard to pin down.
But my creative side loves that.
True, writing different types of stories is a business risk, but in my case, sticking to one thing is a quick road to burn out. First, I have eclectic tastes anywayâ€”for instance, I read three books at a time and theyâ€™re all from different genres. This is obviously reflected in my writing: I love challenge and variety (Key words, here!). Second, I know that if I created stories for just one line, I wouldnâ€™t be able to write as much as I do now. This past year, I had six original releases (that number isnâ€™t including two reissues). Next year, Iâ€™ll have about four, but thatâ€™s because these single-title fantasy Berkley Vampire Underground books take much more time (as do Bombshells). In order to keep up this pace, I need constant challenge and variety. Let me explain further: my â€œhome lineâ€ (where I made my first sale) is Special Edition; these books are known for their â€œhome-and-hearth/communityâ€ qualities and the stories speak to the innocent side of me that loves a good happy ending. Blaze stories, which are â€œhot and steamyâ€ romances, give me the chance to get a little wild. Bombshells feature more complex plots and they allow me to get a lot darker (Iâ€™ve written a vampire bookâ€”THE HUNTRESSâ€”as well as a murder mystery thatâ€™ll be released in fall, 2006.). And then there are the Berkley Vampire Underground booksâ€¦. These combine emotion, steaminess, mystery, adventure, and fantasy, so theyâ€™re a stew of everything else I write. So, you see, Iâ€™m getting plenty of that challenge and variety.
Third, and this is maybe the most important item for me, when I think of a story idea, it doesnâ€™t always fit into a certain line. I go with what excites me, and that can be just about anything. When I thought of the concept for THE HUNTRESS, I was writing for Special Edition and Blaze. Sure, I was wary about taking on another line, but, daggonit, I really wanted to do this book. Branding was the last thing that would soothe the creative monster in me, so I went for it. And you know what? That decision is redefining my careerâ€”it led to my three-book deal with Berkley and is taking me in different directions daily.
Business versus creativityâ€”thatâ€™s my biggest struggle right now. But everyone has to deal with it, and you have to come up with your own solutions. Whatâ€™s the right decision for you? How is each story idea going to affect your career and/or your well-being?
I hope this gives you something to chew on. Happy Holidays and all the best. : )
THE HUNTRESS has been re-released this month as TWICE BITTEN, a vampire story collection that also contains Erica Orloffâ€™s URBAN LEGEND. Youâ€™ll find PAST IMPERFECT, Crystalâ€™s next Special Edition, on shelves this month, too. Additionally, stay tuned for a release date for the first Vampire Underground book from Berkley.
To keep current with Chris/Crystal, visit her Web site at www.crystal-green.com, where thereâ€™s a great contest going on right nowâ€¦.
But that time is far away for me…LOL I want to explore *grin*
It’s a scary thing to think about–a real balancing act. I’m still trying to find a good balance, too. There comes a point where a writer might feel that they’re writing for too many lines, and then they have to decide what to weed out and what to keep–and what they keep should complement the other parts of your career.
Thanks for sucha great post Chris! I often find myself wantign to explore other sub genres and thiis very encouraging. 🙂
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