Thursday, March 4, 2010

By Any Other Name

Do you ever get confused by all the genres? Romantic suspense; women's fiction; urban fantasy; fantasy; sci/fi. Then there's mystery with all its sub-genres--cozies, detective, hard boiled, soft boiled, whatever boiled!

I do understand the importance of labeling...bookstores need to know where to put each new release...but how do the powers that be decide? For example-THE WITCH'S GRAVE and THE SEVENTH WITCH were on three of Amazon's lists-women sleuths (okay, I get that characters are women and they do solve the crime); occult (natch-they're witches!); and last but not least, romantic suspense. (There's a lot of irony in this last one! You're looking at an author who had to drink two beers and listen to the soundtrack of BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY in order to write a kissing scene!! Don't think I could drink enough to write a real sex scene!! *g*)

Now let's look at my present manuscript. According to my editor, they consider it to be "women's fiction". I thought I was writing another mystery, but if they want to call it women's fiction, okay by me. But here's the kicker...they're also calling it "Southern Gothic"...only it takes place in Minnesota. Should we coin a new phrase--"Northern Gothic"? And if we did, what would that mean??? (There is a definition for Southern Gothic...I looked it up!)

So here's what I've decided...I'm just not going to worry about it!!! Trust me, with the way my mind works, I could twist myself seven ways to Sunday (as my mother used to say) pondering what kind of book I'm writing. I'd be second guessing every scene, every chapter. I'm going to let Avon worry about where to put me. Come next May, wherever I am...I just hope you find me!!!!

That's it for this week-see you next Thursday!!



Blodeuedd said...

Lol, I have given up about thinking about things like that, I usually give a book a bunch of genres these days :)
And it's cool

Diane P said...

What is the new book about?

Sharon said...

I looked it up. Well, you in good company according to Wiki. I look for paranormal/romance/mystery in any combination to pick books. But once I find an author I like I will follow her to any genres there after . I really love your writing style and story telling abilities, so...I will find you! Are you giving any hints about the new book?

Shirley Damsgaard said...

Thanks for the kind words, Sharon! Hmm, about the new book, well, right now the title is DIE STANDING, but that could change before May. As I said, it takes place in Minnesota and is about a woman who was always the golden girl—perfect life, perfect fiancé, perfect job-until she was attacked one night while walking to her car. Now after several weeks in a coma, she feels like everything has been stripped away. She doesn't look the same, she doesn't feel the same, and all she wants is her old life back. Her parents and fiancé ship her off to a cabin in the North woods to recuperate, but she thinks there's something odd going on. Is she right? You're going to need to read the book to find out! LOL!!

Oh, one other thing since this is a departure from Ophelia and Abby, Avon wanted me to use a pen name. Are you ready...ta da... it's Jess McConkey!!! And I hope you'll be as supportive to my new persona as you have my old one!! *g*

Sharon said...

Sounds like Avon used a name generator on Facebook. "What is your Southern Gothic Writer name?" I don't understand why they would change your name. You have fans of the Abby series and they are a shoe in to buy anything else you put out. It is kind of like making you an unknown again isn't it? Glad we got the heads up though . The plot of the new book sounds intriguing to me! I will give Ms. McConkey a try.

Shirley Damsgaard said...

Thanks Sharon!! I do hope you enjoy "Jess McConkey"! It's my hope that DIE STANDING won't be her only book!! (In fact, I'm already kicking around an idea for a second one, but I need to finish DIE STANDING first!)

Is it like starting all over again? Sort of, but here's their thinking...a new concept, a new name. My editor used Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters as an example. (And believe me, after she mentioned me in the same sentence as Ms. Michaels./Ms. Peters, I would've agreed to just about anything! That woman is one of my heroes!! *g*) A Barbara Michaels's book has a different kind of a style than an Elizabeth Peters's book and that's what Avon wants to do with the Damsgaard/McConkey thing. And there's some discussion that they'll market it as "Shirley Damsgaard writing as Jess McConkey", but that hasn't been decided. (There's a really good story about how this new name was selected, but too long to put in this post. I'm planning on blogging about it at some point in the future.)

How do I feel about all of this?? I'm just going to roll with it! I'm really lucky that Avon wants me to branch out and expand into other "markets". Plus I appreciate their confidence in me! We'll just see where it all leads. Like I said, I have to finish the first one before I try looking too far down the road!

One last thing—I still hope to write more "Shirley Damsgaard" books, too!! In fact I'm working on an idea for a new series right now, but it's too early to talk about it just yet.

Again, thanks for your support, Sharon!!!

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin said...

I think you're right. Let the publisher worry about how to classify the book and why. Just concentrate on writing the book. {Smile}

Goiod luck with the new book. {Smile}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

知道 said...