I'm always delighted when Author Misty Evans stops by. She has such fantastic insights. Today she's promoting her books Witches Anonymous and I'd Rather be in Paris. For those who would like to leave a comment, you'll be entered in a drawing to win one of her new releases. Please welcome Misty Evans.
I'm the mother of twins. Twin sons and twin genres. My stories are my babies, just like my real kids, but neither my sons nor my genres resemble each other.
One of my sons is a brunette who plays guitar and loves baseball. He wants to be a veterinarian. The other is a blond who plays drums and loves skateboarding. He wants to be Albert Einstein. People who meet them for the first time don't believe they're twins. If I hadn't been there for the c-section that followed twenty-two hours of labor, I might not believe it either.
My stories are just as opposite. I write both CIA thrillers and paranormal comedy. Why? One lets me explore the darker side of life and the other lets me have fun with that side. Two sides of the same coin. Also, I'm a Gemini, so having a split personality is second nature to me. LOL.
I've had folks ask how I can switch gears from one to the other. For me, it's more like tuning in a different radio station. Some days I'm in the mood for U2 or Bruce Springsteen. Other days, Prince and Bon Jovi are more appealing. Luckily my voice accommodates both.
There are advantages to having fraternal twins. People don't mix them up or assume they have the same likes and dislikes. Each boy has an independent identity. They don't fight much because they rarely like the same thing. If one is struggling with his science homework, the other can help. If one wants to learn how to do a kick-flip, he has a teacher in the bedroom next to his.
The same applies to writing two distinct genres. WITCHES ANONYMOUS, my recently released paranormal comedy doesn't compete with the second book in my Super Agent series, I'D RATHER BE IN PARIS (out this week). Yet, the two genres reach different niche readers and draw more fans to my writing.
There's sort of a built-in bonus with writing multiple genres as well. Paranormals continue to be popular while suspense novels are relatively flat. But as we all know, publishing is cyclical. One day suspense may boom again and paranormals will go flat. Either way, I can sell stories.
Disadvantages with twins like mine arise, though. As toddlers, one boy hated timeouts and would become an angel the second I threatened him with one. The other loved to spend time by himself, even if it was on a chair in a bare corner. I had to be more creative with his discipline.
So, too, with my genres. Humor can lessen the impact of a dramatic moment if overdone. Tension can take over and turn a lighthearted conflict dark and suspenseful. Each genre is unique, and while both can incorporate humor, drama and love, sprinkling the right amount of those elements in the perfect spot is key.
For example, this scene in I'D RATHER BE IN PARIS showcases Lawson and Zara in a suspenseful car chase, but I added a touch of humor....
Lawson had two options. Evade the threat or eliminate it. "Get up here and drive."
"Come on, you're a woman of action, right? You wanted to drive, so get up here and drive the damn car."
Zara's head rose from the backseat, her gaze catching his in the rearview mirror as she leaned forward. "Stop yelling at me."
Lawson reached back and grabbed her arm, hauling her into the passenger seat. She flailed and fumed and once she'd righted herself, he saw she'd exchanged the robe for her leather jacket and miniskirt. She tugged the hem of the skirt down and sent him a scathing look. "What exactly--?"
"Take the wheel. We're going to exchange places, okay?"
"While the car's moving?"
Lawson flipped the steering wheel up as high as it would go. He set her hand on the wheel. "You're going to slide on top of me, got it? Like you're going to sit in my lap."
Her hand tightened and Lawson saw her shift into spy mode. A second later, she climbed across the gearshift and slid between his legs.
He released the wheel and extracted his body from around hers. "Keep the car on the road, but don't make it easy for them to shoot us again. When I give you the signal, I want you to pull the hand brake and crank the wheel to the left like you're doing a hard U-turn. You're going to turn the car counterclockwise and land on three o-clock. The car will be blocking the road and I'll be facing the motorcycle. Got it?"
She dropped her hand and repositioned the seat. "And what are you going to do?"
Lawson hauled the gun out of his waistband. "My Dirty Harry impersonation."
"Oh god." She gripped the steering wheel in a ten-and-two position. "We're going to die, aren't we?"
On the flip side of the coin in WITCHES ANONYMOUS, when Amy is telling her best friend Keisha about her Biblical-size troubles, I needed to show Amy's intense emotional state without losing the overall humorous tone of the story.
Pushing herself out of the chair, Keisha left my office, shaking her head and muttering under her breath. Five minutes later, she returned with two cappuccino milkshakes. She plunked one down in front of me and dropped back into her chair. "Okay, spill it. All of it."
Sitting back in my chair, I sipped the cold milkshake and told her about my visit to the Garden of Eden and Gabriel's missive. When I was done, she was staring, openmouthed, at my gremlin. "Your life is never dull."
"Tell me about it. I can't decide what's worse -- a demon-possessed sister with a slave hex hanging over my head or an angel of God dumping the future of good and evil in my lap."
"This is bad. Really bad." Keisha shook her head in a slow arc. "What are you going to do?"
Taking a long pull on my straw, I swallowed the cool, coffee-flavored ice cream and met her eyes. "It gets worse."
All the muscles in her face tightened in fear. "Worse?"
"Lucifer told me he loves me."
Her eyes lit up, her face muscles relaxed and she smiled. "I knew it. That man is fine, no matter what you say."
"He is not fine. He's the Devil."
Chuckling under her breath, she stood and shuffled to the door. "Don't you just love a happily-ever-after ending?"
"Happily ever after?" I slammed my milkshake down on the desk. "Do you understand what I'm dealing with here? I could snap my fingers and you could die. I could wake up tomorrow and have to clean dog poo off my sister's shoes -- my shoes -- and tell her she's prettier than Gwyneth Paltrow. Come on! My life sucks."
Keisha and her psychedelic hair shook with laughter in the doorway. "Love conquers all." She raised her milkshake cup to me and winked again before disappearing.
"That's it?" I yelled at her. "That's the best advice you've got? Love conquers all?" Growling in frustration, I kicked the side of the desk. "Just so you know, I'm hiding your romance novels!"
Do you want to write twin genres? Lots of authors do it successfully and you can too. Dial your internal radio station to something new that interests you. Read all you can in the genre and get a feel for the tone each story requires to make it work. Then give it a try. Maybe write a short story, like I did, to get your feet wet and see if you like it. While writing in distinct genres requires a bit of labor, you'll end up with two beautiful babies to love and nurture. And who knows? You may want to try for a third.
Misty Evans is an award-winning, multi-published author of CIA thrillers as well as paranormal comedy. Her recently released witch lit novella, WITCHES ANONYMOUS, is part of Samhain Publishing’s Tickle My Fantasy anthology. The next story in her Super Agent series, I’D RATHER BE IN PARIS, releases March 17th. She is currently flipping the coin to juggle her twins as well as writing the third Super Agent book and sequel to WITCHES ANONYMOUS.