Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Genres and Pen Names

I'm often asked what genre I write in. Hmm. Let me see...

  • Haven and its sequel A World Away might best be described as gentle women's fiction
  • Easterfield was a religious historical novel
  • Honeymoon Heist was a comic romantic thriller
  • No Escape was a romantic thriller
  • The Saved Saint was a religious novel based on a true story.
It gets even more complicated when I factor in my current projects:
  • Emon and the Emperor is YA science fiction
  • Finders Keepers is chick-lit
  • The White Queen is fantasy
  • Random Ramblings is a collection of short stories and poems in a variety of genres, including dystopian.
I write in many different genres because I love many different books. My favourite books ever include The HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy, Pride and Prejudice, Wool, Twilight, The Hunger Games, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and Bill Bryson's Notes from a Big Country. If you asked me to read books in just one genre for the rest of my life I'd be pretty miserable about it. 

I don't want to write in just one genre either.

Problem is, my poor beleaguered "fans" (I have just one that I know of, hello Sarah) are going to be a bit confused when they love, say, Honeymoon Heist and expect my next book to be similar, only to discover that it's a totally different genre and style.

I recently heard an interview with Sophie Kinsella, author of Confessions of a Shopaholic and many other successful chick-lit books. Turns out her name is actually Madeleine Wickham and she wrote several books under her real name before reinventing herself as Sophie Kinsella in order to change to writing chick-lit. (The cool part is that she submitted a manuscript to her own publishers under her new name without telling them it was her. She wanted to see whether they'd accept it. They did.) 

Naturally that has led to me thinking about whether I need to use a pen name when writing in a different genre. I haven't yet had my sci-fi book published; maybe I should use a pseudonym for that and my fantasy novel. I just used this random name generator (very useful for writers) and it told me that my pen-name should be....

Janie Chester Ellison

So, what do you think? Should I publish in different genres under different names?


Kerry Blair said...

Truthfully, Janie, you can write under as many names as you want as long as you own up to them here so I don't miss a word! Would LOVE to read your Random Ramblings!

Sarah Beggs said...

Hello, Janie/Anna!
Write whatever genre you wish--I get lost in whatever you do, since I am you're number one fan "=)
Anxiously awaiting The White Queen though--that sounds fun. Go Girl, GO!