Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Writing on Wednesday - Guest Michele Drier on Writing in Two Genres

Ever wonder how writers juggle their work when writing in difference genres? My guest today is Michele Drier, who talks about keeping her journalist amateur sleuth from bumping into her vampires. Welcome, Michele!

Writing in Two Genres

by Michele Drier

I write in two genres.
I didn't start out to do this, it's all my son-in-law’s fault.
Even though I wrote for a living most of my career, it was newspaper articles, columns, grant proposals, policy white papers, fund-raising letters and brochures.
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to write a novel. I pictured myself in a sun-drenched room surrounded by books writing at a beautiful wood desk under a window looking out at lawn that swept down to the sea.
About 15 years ago, I put the idea of writing the Great American Novel on the shelf and decided to write a mystery. This was the genre I read the most and I loved solving puzzles, whether crossword or murders.  So I started a book about a newspaper editor who's always trying to figure out a mystery beyond what her reports cover on the crime beat every day.
It took a few years, a writing coach, more rewrites that I can remember and probably 40 rejects from agents until it finally sold to a small press.
Edited for Death came out Oct. 1, 2011 in trade paperback.
 But before it came out, my son-in-law said, “Why don’t you write vampire books?”
Well, I'd only read two, Anne Rice's  Interview with the Vampire and The Historian, and neither of those were light or breezy.
Then he said, "Go to a bookstore and see how much space they devote to vampires."

I did.  I also saw how many zombie titles and fantasy titles and mystery titles there were and decided if I were going to write genre fiction, vampires would be a good backup to mystery.
Easier said than done.  The mysteries were a series revolving around the newspaper editor, her cops reporter, her lover and characters involved in the mystery itself.  These people were real.  They lived in my head.  I'd been a journalist and an editor. I knew how and why they thought, how they behaved, what interested them.
Vampires, on the other hand, were true fiction.  I  read Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong and their vampires were different from each another, so my vampires, the Kandeskys and the Huszars, were different.  And I had to develop their world and populate it with beings who didn't behave in ways I knew.
As of this June, there are now three books in the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, with more to come.
And I'm a little bipolar, trying to tell the stories of these two very different worlds.
If I'm only writing one story, I can keep the others in a back room most of the time.  I have an open file for each series and jot down notes about events, other characters, situations, because I can't trust my self to remember them all.
Real difficulty comes when I'm trying to write both genres as the same time.  My critique group from Sisters in Crime reads chapters from my WIP mystery, Labeled for Death.  They're good and they're helpful and I come away from sessions with the next chapter hammering to get out.
Then I sit down at the computer and the Kandeskys, particularly that sexy Jean-Louis, take over.
In order for me to continue a story, I have to read the last five pages or so to recreate the place, mood, plot and characteristics of the story.  Because of this, so far I've been able to keep Amy, the newspaper editor, away from the sexy vampire, Jean-Louis.  And Maxie, torn about letting Jean-Louis turn her into a vampire, has never met Clarice, Amy's sharp cops reporter. 

But I'm suddenly toying with the idea that maybe all these characters should meet.   It would be an interesting party! They could congregate around me at the kitchen counter, where I write uncomfortably on a laptop and have a view of cereal boxes in the pantry!

Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian.  She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home.  During her career in journalism — as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers – she won awards for producing investigative series.

Her mystery Edited for Death, called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review and a Memorable Book for 2011 on DorothyL, is available in paperback at Amazon and B&N.

Her paranormal romance series, SNAP: The Kandesky vampire chronicles, is available in ebook at Amazon.  The first book, SNAP: The World Unfolds, received a 4-star rating from the Paranormal Romance Guild.  The second book, SNAP: New Talent, also received 4 stars from PRG and the third book of the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, Plague: A Love Story, was published in June 2012.

Visit her website:   

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