Writing in Different Genres
by Diane Burton
I love to read. Fiction is my favorite. If I need to learn something for one of my stories, I’ll read nonfiction, but that’s rare. I love genre fiction: romance, mystery, suspense, science fiction, military fiction, and historicals. Combine any of the others with romance, and I’m hooked.
With my eclectic reading choices, it’s no wonder that I haven’t stayed with one style of fiction while writing. I started with contemporary romance, received a lot of rejections but always with “send something else.” That was encouraging. When I grew tired of the rejections, I wrote a story for fun—a science fiction romance about a girl from Michigan who was abducted by aliens…by mistake. Turned out a small niche publisher liked it and published Switched, in 2001. So, I wrote more sci-fi romances. I discovered self-publishing (through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords), republished Switched (since I had the rights back), and published six more science fiction romances.
Meanwhile, I had a romantic suspense I’d worked on for years and took a chance with another small publisher. They liked it and published One Red Shoe in 2013. But wait. I love reading cozy mysteries and had a great idea for a female P.I. who lives in a small resort town on Lake Michigan. Writing the mysteries set in the area where I live was so much fun, I wrote three Alex O’Hara mysteries and have another in the works.
My stories have a wide range of sensuality, from almost sweet to quite sensual, but all are written for adults. My grandchildren (ages 19-months to almost 13) love to read and be read to. As the first two grew older, they were interested in the fact that I write stories. Unfortunately, I had to tell them they had to be adults to read mine. Because I sensed their disappointment, my Muse did, too. At night as I drifted off to sleep, she whispered, “Why not write a book for them?”
Okay, why not?
Like their grandmother and their parents, those children love Star Wars. So, I decided to write a science fiction adventure for middle grade students (ages 9 & up). At the end of March, I published Rescuing Mara’s Father.
I’m a firm believer in being open to new experiences. Learning to write in a new genre is challenging and fun. After writing the book (before revisions), I read several stories aimed at the middle grades to make sure my story had the “feel” for the genre. Without realizing it, I’d already read several books aimed at that age: Harry Potter, Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, and many more. To my reader’s “ear” my story sounded just right. Having that reaffirmed by readers made me confident I was on the right track.
Writing in different genres gives me flexibility. Self-publishing means I can write what I want. I’m eager to write another story for my grandchildren.
About the Book
Rescuing Mara’s Father, a science fiction adventure
3 friends, a hidden starship, a quest
Her father is gone! Taken by the Queen of Compara’s agents. Mara has to rescue him before the Queen tortures and kills him.
Instead of the kind, loving father she’s always known, he’s become demanding, critical, with impossible expectations—not just as Father but also as the only teacher in their frontier outpost. Mara would rather scoop zircan poop than listen to another boring lecture about governments on Central Planets. Give her a starship engine to take apart or, better yet, fly, and she’s happy. Now, he’s gone.
Never mind, they’ve had a rocky road lately.
Never mind, Father promised she could go off planet to Tech Institute next month when she turns fifteen, where she’ll learn to fly starships.
Never mind, she ran away because she’s furious with him because he reneged on that promise. Father is her only parent. She has to save him.
Along with her best friend, eleven-year-old Jako, and his brother 15-year-old Lukus, Mara sets off to find her father. Her mentor, old spaceport mechanic, seems to know why the Queen captured Father. In fact, he seems to know her father well. But, does he tell her everything? Of course not. He dribbles out info like a mush-eating baby. Worse, he indicates he’ll be leaving them soon. And Lukus can’t wait to get off their planet. Mara’s afraid they will all leave, and she’ll be on her own. Despite her fears, Mara has to rescue her father.
About the Author
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series. She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and five grandchildren.
You can read Diane’s regular “Family Life” column on the 3rd Wednesday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.