Embarrassing but true – I’m suffering through an identity crisis. Not in the sense of real name versus pen name, though that debate rages in some corners of the writing community. As much as I love to read, I don’t recall ever questioning the name on a book jacket. However, I have made sure to remember it when I love the book.
My particular crisis concerns my Twitter or ultra-short bio and that I’d chosen to call my writings ‘stories where the heroines are masters of technology’. Sounds incredibly cool – or so I thought. But what does it tell prospective readers? Ummm… geez… well… nothing. As far as book lovers are concerned, my artful? description is absolutely worthless.
What now? Back to the drawing board. First thing is to define what I write. That’s easy enough. Sparks, and the stories to come, are suspenseful tales interwoven with a love story; or in short, romantic suspense. Some experts say I should compare my work to a known author. But whom? There are many, wonderful romantic suspense authors; each significantly different from another – and from me. After deep consideration, it seemed best to go to the source.
Mary Stewart is widely recognized (sometimes with Dame Daphne Du Maurier) as the defining author of romantic suspense. I LOVE her books. Since Sparks has yet to be published, it is extremely arrogant to compare myself to her. Instead, it’s more accurate to say that my work is ‘in the tradition’ of hers.
Now for the next questions: What makes my work unique? What is different for the characters? A shift in time is the main thing. This is the twenty-first century. The types of problems characters can face have grown by orders of magnitude. Tastes and mores are also far different. Most of us accept that there are no absolutes. I can make scenes of intimacy far more sensual and those of peril far more personally threatening, without leaving the realm of romantic suspense.
After several attempts, what I’ve come up with is ‘A romantic suspense author, in the tradition of Mary Stewart, who writes edgy, provocative, contemporary stories.’ I like it for now, but as always, #amwriting #amediting. 😀