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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cross Genre

Please welcome guest blogger Allison Pang

I originally wrote A Brush of Darkness (formerly known as Shadow of the Incubus) as a paranormal romance. There was an HEA (Happily Ever After). There were longer love scenes. There was far more romance in general than there is now. At the time I wasn’t entirely sure about the HEA thing, but everyone I spoke to insisted it had to be there if the book were going to qualify as a romance.

So I shoehorned it in. Abby and Ion were going to be together forever, by God!

And then I sold it to Pocket (along with a request for two more). I was ecstatic…until the editor requested that I rewrite it as an Urban Fantasy. And, oh yes – take out that HEA. And maybe try to set up a love triangle for the next book.

I wept.

Sort of an interesting conundrum, really. On one hand, as an author you want to believe the book and the story are your words and your ideas and they should never be changed. On the other, publishing is also a business. I’m of two minds. Sure, I’d like everything to be perfect…but I also consider myself something of a word whore. I’m perfectly willing to make changes if it means a stronger book, and I had to trust that my editor knew what she was doing.

So I sat and looked at the revision letter (all 26, single spaced paged of it), and while I didn’t take every suggestion offered by my editor, I did agree with many of them. (Not that this happened overnight. It required several days of chocolate.)

In six weeks I rewrote about 70% of the book. The underlying themes were still there. It still started the same way and ended the same way. (More or less.) I got rid of some of the love scenes. Shortened others. Brought up some of those secondary characters. Made Abby more independent overall. Beefed up the world-building. Strengthened the mystery elements.

In short, the suggestions made it a stronger story.

Not that it’s without fault. I’d say the book stands as more of cross-genre than anything else. It’s worked for many readers so far, though there has been a bit of backlash from some because there’s not enough romance for straight PNR (i.e. no HEA) and too much romance for straight UF. It still holds as being marketed as a UF, because even if I removed the romantic elements, the story would still stand. However, given the general overlap between UF and PNR anyway, I suspect it’s probably going to become more common to see the genres merge over time, granting authors a greater flexibility to write the stories they want to tell.

A marine biologist in a former life, Allison Pang turned to a life of crime to finance her wild spending habits and need to collect Faberge eggs. A cat thief of notable repute, she spends her days sleeping and nights scaling walls and wooing dancing boys….Well, at least the marine biology part is true. But she was taloned by a hawk once. She also loves Hello Kitty, sparkly shoes, and gorgeous violinists.

She spends her days in Northern Virginia working as a cube grunt and her nights waiting on her kids and cats, punctuated by the occasional husbandly serenade. Sometimes she even manages to write. Mostly she just makes it up as she goes.


A Brush of Darkness

I had a naked incubus in my bedroom. With a frying pan of half-cooked bacon and a hard-on. And a unicorn bite on his ass. Christ, this was turning out to be a weird morning.

Six months ago, Abby Sinclair was struggling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Now, she has an enchanted iPod, a miniature unicorn living in her underwear drawer, and a magical marketplace to manage. But despite her growing knowledge of the OtherWorld, Abby isn’t at all prepared for Brystion, the dark, mysterious, and as sexy as sin incubus who shows up searching for his sister—and is convinced Abby has the key to the succubus’s whereabouts. Abby has enough problems without having this seductive shape-shifter literally invading her dreams to get information. But when her Faery boss and some of her friends vanish as well, Abby and Brystion must form an uneasy alliance. As Abby is sucked deeper and deeper into this perilous world of faeries, angels, and daemons, she realizes her life is in as much danger as her heart—and there’s no one she can trust to save her.


Sandy Williams said...

Ooh, interesting. I originally wrote my book as a paranormal romance, too, only I wasn't as smart as you, genre-wise. I didn't have ANY sex in my book. I know! The horror! When an agent pointed this out, I was like, "Oh, duh." Fortunately, the agent I ended up going with said my book was definitely UF. Thank God. Because I don't know how I'd rewrite it for the other genre.

Sales of chocolate in your area must have skyrocketed during your revisions. :-)

Rosalie Lario said...

Some people specifically look for cross-genres like this one, Allison. Like me! I've been looking for a good "urban fantasy romance" ever since I finished Jeaniene Frost's last Night Huntress book.

I can't wait to read your book!

Anonymous said...

The genres cross so readily these days, in my opinion. I'm glad you worked it out and are paving the road for us. :)

Enjoy the journey!

Maria Lima said...

In six weeks I rewrote about 70% of the book.

::mind boggles:: I am in awe of that. Great job. I loved the book and think it works immensely well as urban fantasy/cross-genre. Kudos to you for pulling it off!

Linda Leszczuk said...

My WIP is an UF...I think. I've got a serious romantic relationship in there but the ending is more a "maybe" than HEA - partially to leave the door open for a series. The whole genre/subgenre thing can make you crazy.

Glad it worked out for you.

Anonymous said...

I've no head for marketing matters, so maybe I'm speaking out of my butt. HEA/noHEA is irrelevant.

A well-written unique story will stand out regardless. If I can get a smut-loving PR book club to praise Feed from Mira Grant, anything is possible.

Paranormal books are like 31 flavors, everyone has a preference. Write what you love, trust that fans have an open mind.