Today, it’s my great pleasure to host the amazing Jennifer M. Eaton as she goes on tour with Paper Wishes, a Contemporary Sweet Romance from Astraea Press. Take it away, Jen!
Do I read what I write? Umm… Huh? Do I have to answer that?
Well hi-dee-hoo neighbors! Good to see ya!
I’m here to selfishly promote my book “Paper Wishes” offer some words of wisdom on a topic of Nicky Well’s choice. I do this hoping you will buy my book out of the kindness of my heart, because Nicky told me to is such a good friend.
So… What is the topic?
Reading books in the genre that you write.
Ummm… Really? Can’t I talk about something else? No? Ugh. Okay… so here’s the scoop.
I know that everyone out there who calls themselves an expert tells you to read inside your genre. Their reasons are totally sound:
- Get a feel for the market
- Make sure the story you want to write is not already written
- Learn from the style of others writing in your genre.
There may be other reasons, but since I’m going to debunk anyway, let’s just hit these three.
Let’s chat about these:
- If I read books out right now, they were contracted at least a year ago. So, let’s say vampires are in… I write a vampire book. So do 100,000 other people. Publishers get tired of vampire books saturating the market and stop requesting them. Now I’m skunked, right? In my opinion, write what you want to write. Write what makes you happy. If it’s good, it will probably sell. You are going to spend six months or more with these characters… why stress out about writing characters you don’t like for a market that might not be there when you’re done?
- Who the heck cares if the story is already written? How many different versions of Red Riding Hood are out there? Ideas are not copyrighted. You can have the same idea as someone else. The trick is to put your own slant on it… and if I didn’t read a book like it (in the genre) I’d have to put my own slant on it, right?
- Now that’s just ridiculous. You can pick up on anything from any genre and apply it to what you write in. If you do it well, it will transcend genre.
Here’s the God’s honest truth:
- Last Winter Red, in the Make Believe Anthology, is a Dystopian. I don’t think I’ve ever read a dystopian, although I’ve seen movies. In fact, I had no idea that is was Dystopian until someone told me. Did not reading Dystopian hurt my story telling abilities? Nope! Seemed to work out fine for me!
- Paper Wishes is a Contemporary Romances with heavy Christian influence. Do I read Christian Romance? Absolutely not! (Although there is nothing wrong with them) Romance as a whole is not my cup of tea, unless you mix some explosions in there. I wanted to make my Romance “Paper Wishes” more interesting, so I decided to shove in a supernatural theme, and since it was Christmas, I went with God… Imagine me… putting God back in Christmas. I’m such a rebel! But that’s how this came about… I flexed a genre to make it interesting to me… and I didn’t have to read a bunch of stuff that didn’t appeal to me.
- The First Day of the New Tomorrow (Coming out in September of 2013) is a young adult urban fantasy. Now, I will admit to reading in this genre, but I couldn’t really point to anything of my past reading to say it was an influence.
- Fire in the Woods is a contemporary YA Sci-Fi. Nope, I don’t read it. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve even seen anything like this anywhere. Hmmmm. That could be good, or bad.
What do I like to read? Give me knights. Give me Dragons. Give me Elves. Castles? Oh Yeah! Love it!
Why don’t I write it? Well, I tried once, but since I read SO MUCH OF IT I could not come up with anything that I thought was original. The novel lays at the bottom of my closet, half-written.
See my dilemma?
Nope, sorry. I will not start feverously reading inside the genres that I write. The next book I pick up will be because it interests me… not because I need to do research.
And as for castles and dragons…. I’ll leave writing those to the people who do them best.
Do you read inside your genre?
About Jennifer M. Eaton
Jennifer M. Eaton is a contemporary blender of Science Fiction, Dystopian, and Romance. Her work ranges from the sweet contemporary romances of Paper Wishes, to the dystopian society of Last Winter Red and Optimal Red, with a dusting of young adult paranormal just for fun in The First Day of the New Tomorrow.
While not off visiting other worlds, Jennifer calls the East Coast of the USA home, where she lives with her wonderfully supportive husband, three energetic boys, and a pepped up poodle.
Full time team leader, full time mom, and full time novelist… what more can you ask for? Writing help did you say? Well, sure! Jennifer hosts an informational blog aimed at helping all writers be the best they can be. Stop on by and chat. She loves to hear from fans! http://www.jennifermeaton.com/
Her contemporary sweet romance, Paper Wishes is currently available in ebook format. The Dystopian novelette “Last Winter Red” is available as part of the “Make Believe” Anthology. Each title is available from Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com and Smashwords.
Paper Wishes: Jill has no idea what she wants for Christmas, but when it looks like her best friend Jack is going to get exactly what he asks for, Jill makes a Christmas wish that will change both of their lives forever.
Last Winter Red: In search of a husband, Emily leaves the safety of the city and risks her life stepping into the outside world. What she finds there will question the foundations of everything she believes in. Available as part of the Make Believe anthology.
The First Day of the New Tomorrow: Maya dreams of having everything she wants, but when she gets it, she can’t give it back fast enough. (Coming in September, 2013 from Muse It Up)
Email | Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Manic Readers | Goodreads | Amazon
Make Believe Purchase Links
Make Believe on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Make-Believe-ebook/dp/B00ACMPEGQ/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
Make Believe on Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/reviews/Make-Believe%2FJA-Belfield/1113844175
Paper Wishes Purchase links
Zoom to Amazon to buy “Paper Wishes”
So, my lovelies. Here’s the question: do you read in your genre?
My answer is: yes. I do. Absolutely. 100 percent. I love my genre and all the fabulous writers in it. However, I don’t just read in my genre. I read crime and literary and historical and thriller and adventure, not to mention a large library of children’s books and novels that is setting up in my house again. I get inspired by techniques I observe in crime and thriller, particularly viz pacing and rhythm. I find ideas in children’s books. I love reading, full stop!
I agree with what both of you say, Jennifer and Nicky! I like reading, no matter what genre. However, I have to admit that I do have a predilection for crime fiction (my genre) – perhaps because I also review it for the Crime Fiction Lover website. I’ve found that both helpful and unhelpful. Helpful, because it does expose me to even more sub-genres within that genre (which I would otherwise have ignored) and because I am getting very good at spotting good and bad writing or plotting instantly! But, on the other hand, it can have an intimidating effect (‘will I ever write as well as this?’ or ‘oops, I really need to completely change my plot there, it’s been done too many times’). I also find that sometimes I devour books so quickly that I don’t have as much time to stop and analyse (digest) them and really learn from certain writers whom I admire.
Don’t you hate it when you read a book that’s so good that you just want to throw in the towel and say “I’ll never write anything that great!” The funny thing is… you never know… they may be saying the same thing about your book. Reading and writing are so subjective!
Hiya Marina, thanks for visiting Jen here today and leaving a comment. I agree ~ reading in your genre can be both educational and intimidating (and at times highly entertaining). And I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with the occasional read-for-pleasure without your analytical hat on! 🙂 Great to see you here, rock on!
Welcome to your guest Jennifer M. Eaton. I’ve been retired for about 3 ½ years now and while I worked I seldom had time to read. During the time I’d worked I’d written commentaries for a community newspaper for several years, and in those years I began writing a commentary romance. Going to a group or other romance writers someone suggested I should try to write for a younger audience [what I wrote never seemed to be really that good even to myself.]
After retiring, I began to write a romance for a younger audience. It began as a Young Adult romance. When I realized there where already tons of these; which of which involved the proverbial first kiss in a girl’s life, I decided to add in a paranormal element to the storyline. Even with this additional I realized it still need to have something to help differentiate itself from the other Young Adult/Paranormal romances all out there and I decided with the use of the ghost, George, to add in a Time Travel element to the mix of genres the book already had. I released the final result, “I Kissed a Ghost” in a paperback format on December 20, 2012 with the KINDLE version following on May 12, 2013.
With all the authors out there, we as authors, each of us must find that certain niche; that certain mix of story elements which will make what we have to offer stand out from out the rest. We need to find that important title which will peak a potential reader’s curiosity and to do this we find to get that all important cover for the book.
With the experienced I gained writing my first romance genre novel, I’ve returned to writing the contemporary I’d begun many years ago. How many fellow authors reading this have done similar things in an attempt to capture an audience? How many readers look for that special element in a storyline before buying any book?
As far as the genres I do read. Whenever I do have a chance to read, I don’t read romance for fear of taking what I’ve read in a scene and write it into a scene I’m writing.
Since I can’t really post without leaving a musical link, I’ve decided to leave one from 1960 which involves two elements from Jennifer’s book: paper and love. Enjoy.
Oh my goodness! Was Dick Clarke ever that young??????
Thanks for the song, Robin!
Robin, as always it’s fab to hear from you and thanks for your thoughts. Your musical choice–well, wow! I don’t know how you do it, it’s pure magic. Rock on!
Thanks so much Nicky! I have been picking up a lot if romances lately. The better ones are helping me to hone my craft – as they are usually deep in emotional response. I must admit that I gravitate to the paranormal side of romance though. 🙂 I get enough real- life just going to work in the morning
HAHA, I know exactly what you mean about getting enough real-life. That’s why my romance is littered with rock stars, LOL! Great to have you here today and I hope the launch is going fantastically well. Come back soon! XX
Thanks! I actually have a Rock Star Romance all plotted out. I may even write it someday. I love my characters, but right now your hogging that lime light. 🙂
Ah no, go for it, there’s plenty of room in the subgenre! XX
Someday. Right now I’m having too much fun with other worlds. 🙂