Evil Genius has been sitting in my computer for a while—the product of a brain explosion, I think. At the time, I was arguing with my agent over what genre I wanted to write in besides romance, and my agent stupidly told me to write what I wanted and not worry about genre. Famous Last Words. The perversely introverted, wickedly knowledgeable Anastasia Devlin leapt out of my brain full-blown.
The rest of the story took a while longer. Ana’s voice was so strong, it carried the book in first person, but she’s so—eccentric—that I feared readers would have difficulty relating to her. So after the first volcanic spew of molten story lava, I had to go back in and try to shape the story and the characters. Once I thought I had it tamed to an entertaining tale, I sent it to my agent, who promptly asked what genre niche I thought it fit in. Silly me. I thought genre didn’t matter.
(Check out http://romancetradingcards.com/ for an Evil Genius trading card. Although it’s called a romance site, there’s fantasy and more. And note, I used Ana’s “other” name and not her real one.)
Back when I wrote EG, I was writing for two publishers on a tight schedule and simply didn’t have time to figure out where my evil stepchild belonged. But as the years passed and the characters kept nagging at me, I continued to dust off the book and take fresh looks at it. I finally decided my only choice was to gear it toward mystery, although the question of whether I can safely say it’s a family mystery or about a mystery family still remains unanswered. The story is far too unconventional to be called cozy since it involves lost inheritances, a spy in the attic, a very unusual family, and kidnapping, on top of a couple of dead bodies. My protagonists are “citizens of the world” and not easily encapsulated.
So tell me—when you go book shopping, do you head for a specific aisle and browse? Go in with a shopping list from reviews? What would be the best way for authors to reach out and grab you?