But I was trying to do something that was not only different for me, but different for authors in general. I wanted to take a genre that is relegated to the fringes, and elevate it into a mainstream sensibility. I wanted to write an erotic book with three- dimensional characters, a recognizable plot, and a handling of the material that made a reader care about what happened to the people in the story. I think I accomplished that, and so it is a book I am very proud of.
I think that authors often underestimate their readers–authors and perhaps publishers, agents, editors and marketeers. If a writer gains fame with a breakthrough novel, s/he then seizes on that formula and begins to write the same story over and over again; the same people, dressed up in different clothes. There are only a handful of authors I feel write with a certain formula, but still manage to write something new each time. Those are the authors I continue to read. And I will read everything they write, with little concern for what genre it falls into; in this way, I believe that many formula writers do their readers a disservice. I remain interested in that author because of his/her command of the language, the ability to create characters I care about; the cleverness to keep me guessing, and the presence of mind to tie up the loose ends and give me a satisfactory ending that will not leave me feeling as though I had wasted my precious time. I want to come away from a book feeling good about something. That doesn’t mean I need fairy tales, either (although, really, fairy tales are notoriously dramatic, gory and often filled with characters and deeds no child should be privy to–Hansel and Gretel anyone?)
I find it exciting to hear of a favorite author breaking out of one genre and leaping into another. I can’t wait to read that book. It’s like seeing your love in new clothes; like driving a new car; like a meal you only get to have once a year, but that you love above all other meals. Thus, I hope to see more authors expand their genre-horizons. There are enough clones out there–both stories and writers. Give me a new species and my interest will be as intense as it originally was with the one that preceded it.