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Genre Jumping . . .Is It a Good Idea or Not? with Nancy Fraser

Nancy Fraser travels through time – the 1950’s. the old West and modern day. She had a gift for finding romance in all time periods and today she tells us if she thinks it’s a good idea or not . . .

Genre Jumping … Is It A Good Idea Or Not?

Why would a perfectly-set-in-her-ways writer choose to change genres? As writers we hone our craft, develop expertise, AuthorPic [1]and lean heavily on our network of friends and critique partners for constructive criticism. Why then, when you’ve found that niche, that perfect sweet-spot of knowledge, would you dare to change from writing one time period, one genre, and venture out into no-man’s land?

Some do it for the money, some for the challenge. Or, if you’re like me, you do it for a bit of both. Sexy contemporaries are hot right now, whether full-length or short. Yet, if you’ve spent the past five or six years writing mid-1800s historical romance, the idea of changing is a scary one.

My co-author and I are in the middle of a six-book series set in the 1860s. We’ve received numerous 5-star reviews, won a cover contest for the second book, and seen reasonable sales, especially in today’s glutted market. Yet, when I chose to venture out on my own, I chose an entirely different timeframe. Well, two actually. You might say I eased my way into the here and now by making a pit stop in the 1950s first.

Vintage historical (post WW II through 1970) is also a hot genre at the moment. To take advantage of a more recent time period, I decided to indulge in my love for 50s-60s rock and roll, and my fondness for vintage romance (think early Harlequin). This detour got me out of the long dresses, bonnets, buggies and horses and into poodle skirts, bobby socks and music. The beauty of it all was, I could actually “remember” the history itself and didn’t need a pile of reference materials to help with the realism. And, even better, it put me into a ten-book series of novellas.

Now, here I am, easing my way into the 21st century, reading a huge pile of contemporary romances to learn the flavor and, finally, embarking on my journey. What I found most frightening was the language. No more innuendo, no more hiding behind antiquated words. In the new world, swearing is permitted and anatomically correct body parts are encouraged. I think this is where my age and my background in historical romance met the biggest stumbling block to creativity. Personally, I don’t find the “c” words romantic. I’m not offended by them, I just don’t like the “sound” of them.

Fortunately, there are numerous contemporary lines to choose from. So, depending on how you feel about writing sex scenes, using modern language or not, there is surely somewhere a time-traveling writer will fit in. For those contemplating a time change, the first rule of thumb should be to find your level of comfort, then to read books from the line that best suits what you want to write. Secondly, don’t force yourself to write something that bothers you. If you’re uncomfortable, you’re not going to do your best work.

My first venture into the contemporary market, Pushing the Limits (Entangled Flirt), has been a huge success and garnered a number of great reviews. I kept the parts I was comfortable with … like the steamy love scenes … and then wrote the level of language I find most romantic.

So, is genre-jumping worth it? Is it a good idea to leave one fan base in search of another? Is it possible to bring your fan base with you kicking and screaming into a new century? That’s something only you, the writer, can decide. Are you up to the challenge of writing/researching the new era? Are you comfortable with what you intend to write? Whether you’re looking for a more lucrative market, a new fan base, or just need the challenge of changing genres, research of some sort will be required. Just remember, write what you enjoy, what you’re comfortable with, and your best work will certainly shine through.


So, do you genre jump? Why or why not?

On Monday, Marci Jefferson discusses deepening motivation and plot in historical fiction.


PtL_500 [2]When a case of mistaken identity puts Cade Tucker in the wrong place at the right time, he can’t believe his luck. Drawn to the beautiful Julia McCormack, he flirts his way into her bed, and they welcome the New Year together.
Though they agreed their time together was no-strings-attached sex only, Julia’s having a hard time letting go of the best sex she ever had. She dives into work at her corporate law firm, hoping to get her mind off the man who rocked her world. But then Julia finds out the senior partner has appointed a new attorney to work with her on her biggest case, and her co-counsel will be Cade Tucker. Her plans to make partner are in serious jeopardy when she and Cade disagree on the best legal strategy for their case, but what will happen when they can no longer fight their desire, and the company’s strict non-fraternization policy threatens both of their jobs?

Like most authors, Nancy Fraser began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet, which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.

When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five beautiful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.

Website: www.nancyfraser.ca [3]
Blog: http://nancyfraser.ca/wordpress/ [4]
Twitter: @nfraserauthor
FB: http://facebook.com/nancyfraserauthor [5]

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6 Comments (Open | Close)

6 Comments To "Genre Jumping . . .Is It a Good Idea or Not? with Nancy Fraser"

#1 Comment By Mary Jo Burke On February 7, 2014 @ 8:44 am

Hi Nancy,

I’m published in paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary romance. The story goes where it goes. I just follow.

#2 Comment By Carrie Spencer On February 7, 2014 @ 9:36 am

Morning Nancy…

I’ve often wondered, with the way social media is, if you have to create new accounts for your different genres? Or do people seem more inclined to just follow you no matter which genre?

I remember when I first started reading romance, I ONLY read historicals…if it had an automobile in the story, I wouldn’t touch it. Do you find some readers follow and some stay where they are?

I’m happy to say I now read quite a few different genres lol…..


#3 Comment By Helen Henderson On February 7, 2014 @ 10:51 am

Since I started out writing non-fiction and working as a correspondent, being able to change voice to match the subject and publication just came naturally. So not only do I write in different genres, some of the work crosses the lines and is at home in morethanone genre. Readers who like my style and writing do follow both my science fiction and fantasy as do the romance readers who like the subgenres. That said, readers who like my historical westerns don’t follow to the other genres.

#4 Comment By Cassandra Black On February 7, 2014 @ 1:03 pm

Great piece, Nancy. Thank you for sharing, and congratulations on your success!

I love this statement: “… write what you enjoy, what you’re comfortable with, and your best work will certainly shine through.”

My take: If you enjoy writing across genres, why not? The market is wide open. Hopping from small business (non-fiction) to fiction was my biggest leap in terms of the types of books I authored. And then, within the FICTION arena, I finally found my market in interracial romance novellas. I have a few historical romance ideas floating around up there … I suspect I’ll tackle those in time, too.

Writing is fun — and there are no “lines.” If it feeeeeels good, write it, no matter the genre. You never know what will tickle a reader’s fancy — and what will ultimately release something within your soul as a writer. Keep writing, no matter if it’s cross genres. Nancy said it best: “… write what you enjoy, what you’re comfortable with, and your best work will certainly shine through.”


#5 Comment By Becke Martin Davis On February 7, 2014 @ 10:20 pm

Great post, Nancy! A friend of mine who had written romance for quite awhile recently made the switch to mystery. I’m thrilled that she’s doing so well with her new venture. I think it all boils down to writing what you love.

BTW, I’m looking forward to reading your new book!

#6 Comment By Robyn LaRue On February 9, 2014 @ 10:42 pm

I hope genre-hopping is okay because I do it just based on the story ideas that develop. Women might like them all, but only a few might interest the YA audience or romance readers.