I think this is the third time I’ve tried to write this post. The first time I got tongue-tied (or would it be finger-tied? Imagination-tied? I dunno.), the second time it sounded… not like me. Not as genuine as I would have liked. In hindsight I think it was just “pre-blogging jitters.”
So here we go with round three. Hey, third time’s a charm, right? Maybe I’ll get it right this time.
Anyway, about this whole epic fantasy thing… It’s been, wow, four years I think since I’ve actively penned an epic fantasy novel? Even typing those words makes me a little giddy inside and fills me up with excitement.
If you’re just now finding this page, you might be wondering “Why did you quit writing fantasy, Krystle, if you loved it this much?”
Well, it’s kind of a long story, but it really boils down to one thing–money. I grew restless (and impatient… those of you who know me in real life won’t be surprised with that last part 😉 and decided I’d rather write for money than for love. Which was a BIG mistake. Sort of. Kind of. I DID learn a lot in those four years I was cranking out romance novels.
I learned more about promotion. Romance writers are very shrewd business people. And so incredibly sweet and open with their knowledge. Seriously, they are a great group of people.
I learned a ton more about how to run a business, about cash flow, marketing, etc. I took a business course geared toward writers, which was super helpful. I took marketing classes. I became actively involved in marketing and business mastermind groups, which was a great experience. It’s fascinating hearing all the success stories, most of which started out with very humble beginnings.
I learned a lot more about depth and how to write short stories. Even wrote a few–not the easiest thing to do in a genre like romance! Where people have to fall in love, like, right this second but it can’t feel like insta-love.
I learned how to setup my own publishing house label, basically graduating from solo author to small press. Which some of you seasoned authors reading this have already done years ago, but hey. I was proud little old me could do it. When I first started publishing, erm, eight (I think) years ago, the whole process seemed very mysterious. I was in awe of these pros who had it all together and knew all the secrets. I still don’t know everything–not even close–but I know a heck of a lot more than I did eight years ago, and I’m proud of the progress I’ve made. We all start somewhere, and we all go at our own pace. No two writers’ journeys to success look the same.
Anyway, back to the romance/fantasy debacle. Basically, I wrote romance for a while, made some decent money, and then grew creatively dissatisfied with it. While I still love to read romance, I wasn’t having fun writing it anymore. My heart kept aching to write fantasy. I’d be writing these romance novels and suddenly have an idea for a fantasy piece. I’d get all excited, jot down some notes for it, and then feel guilty for not working on my romance novel. Eventually, my love for fantasy won out. Life is too short to do something you don’t enjoy for long. (I say for long because it’s kind of inevitable. At some point in life, you’ll have to do something you don’t like just to get to the next stage. The key is not to do it for so long that it sucks the life out of you.)
So now I’m returning to fantasy. Which, ironically, is the genre that got me started writing in the first place. It’s the genre I grew up reading (Patricia C. Wrede, Robin McKinley). So in a way, it feels a lot like coming full circle. Like coming home.
For those of you who’ve been following my writing career, you might be wondering “Is she going to write more YA books?” To be honest, I’m not quite sure. I used to read a ton of YA. Like A LOOOOOTTTT. Then… I don’t know, I got older and found the teen characters harder to relate to. I craved adult fiction. People with my problems. So I went and read more “adult fiction” and started writing in it (thus, the romance pen name). I still read YA, but at the time I made a break for it and began writing romance, I felt like I was limited in what I could say in my YA books. I felt creatively restricted in a way, and it was driving me bonkers. There are a lot of topics I feel you either have to skirt around or really watch what you say in YA. (For good reason.) I wanted more “freedom.” I found that in writing for adults.
That’s not to say I won’t ever return to YA. If I get an idea for a character and he/she happens to be a teen, yeah, I’ll happily write from their perspective. It all depends on what my imagination cooks up and what fits the story. I just want to be careful about limiting myself creatively because I feel that’s a recipe for disaster.
Right now I’m working on another retold fairy tale about “Sleeping Beauty,” my personal favorite. Not sure when I would release it, but it probably wouldn’t be until next year. Retold fairy tales, especially involving the fae or vampires (my two personal favorite paranormal creatures), are my weakness. I love them and devour them like candy, when given the opportunity. This Sleeping Beauty story has been in my head for a while. Years, actually. I’m excited to finally get the opportunity to write it.
Hopefully, people will be excited to read it. =)
Readers, do you follow writers across genres? Meaning, you’ll read whatever they write, whether it’s horror, sci-fi, etc? Writers, do you stick with one genre? Or do you throw everything under one pen name? Everyone–what’s your opinion on the “for love or for money” debate? I’d love to hear from you!