I am an avid consumer of romance, fantasy, and mystery in all their multitudinous subgenres, so pardon me if I digress from my usual historical conversation—unless one considers the Bush administration historical. Which it is, of course, but not what most of us want to hear!
My reading preference over the years has always been for stories with romance— for reasons known only to my confused psyche. It didn’t matter if the genre was mystery or science fiction, historical or contemporary, just give me great characters and a hint of romance. So when I first started writing, combining my fascination with history and my love of romance seemed natural.
But I have an inquiring mind with a creative bent that doesn’t always fit into the niche that is romance. I love humor and satire. Politics fascinate me because of the human and social motivators behind them. When I first started writing historical romance, I always included the effects of whatever government policies were in effect in the era I was writing about. (I’m currently editing Rebel Dreams which uses the Stamp Act as the villain. In The Irish Duchess, I used the plight of Ireland to add conflict between my protagonists.) Government and politics emerge from the culture of the time and affect the society of the future, so I like my historical characters to reflect the prevailing attitudes of the era.
But now that I’m unfettered by the demands of New York publishers and their limited market, I’m stretching my wings. Only readers can shoot me down! My first step outside the romance genre was Evil Genius, a book I billed as a family mystery—because it was that in every sense of the word. The mystery involved the family, and the book was about a family slowly reuniting. Romantic potential is there, because I can’t not write relationships. Since then, Amazon has taught me to call it a book about a woman sleuth and/or an amateur detective. Already, I’m being tethered!
Back to history: I plotted the entire Family Genius Mystery series during the Bush administration when political conspiracies abounded. Due to market and time limitations, I didn’t publish Evil Genius until 2011. I updated the technology for 2011 and fixed a few dates, but the prevailing attitude is from a few years after 9/11. The series is now stuck in a historical time warp since the books cover a little over a year leading up to the 2012 elections. Does that make them historical or fantasy?
The politics really aren’t the point of the series, they’re just the basis for the satire. The point of the series will always be the family and the various mysteries they walk into. It’s a complicated family! And yes, there is the hint of romance, although the protagonists are still too prickly to admit it.
That is my long-winded way of introducing Undercover Genius, the second in the Family Genius mysteries. Maybe I’m writing future history?
What genres do you read the most? What types of books would you bring back if you could—gothics? Sagas? Do you enjoy crossover genres (blending mystery and romance/fantasy and romance, etc)?