Branding – we all know how important it is. It establishes a product clearly in your mind. In terms of novel writing, it ensures a reader who enjoyed your first book will know what they’re getting when they buy your second book too – a different story perhaps but one rooted firmly in the same genre, be that romance, crime, horror or historical. There’s a lot of competition out there and branding, well, it helps to get you noticed. So, bearing that in mind, what have I done? I’ll tell you what I’ve done. I’ve laughed in the face of branding and here’s the book covers to prove it….
The book on the left (my debut) – The Runaway Year – is a romance set in North Cornwall, it’s sassy, it’s sexy, it’s packed to the rafters with feisty heroines, but it’s romance – no doubt about it. The book on the right – Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall – is a paranormal mystery, exploring the forces of good and evil and which of them is the most relentless. There’s nothing across the two books, apart from my name, to even suggest they came from the same author. Branding be damned.
So,why did I do it? Why not stick to one or the other? I know authors do write across genres, Edgar Allen Poe, H G Wells, James Patterson, John Grisham and the late, great Iain Banks are but a few examples. but most do it when they’ve established themselves in an initial genre or write one genre under one name, the other under a pseudonym. I, however, find myself doing it from the very beginning and not bothering to change my name at all (although I have to say, I did toy with the handle Octavia LeNoir for PS1 for about a millisecond). A bold move? I like to think so. The two books are very different, there’s no getting away from it and, in terms of Psychic Surveys, they are only going to get darker. However, similarities remain. The characters are down-to-earth, strong-minded and likeable, location is of the utmost importance and they have the same galloping pace throughout.
I don’t read in one genre – romance and paranormal I love in equal measures – so it stands to reason I won’t write in one genre either (at least to me). I also believe in writing from the heart and, after The Runaway Year, it was The Haunting of Highdown Hall that flowed. What’s a girl to do? I can’t argue with the muse for whom I am a mere conduit. I also think we live in a brave new world. Nowadays, the sky’s the limit, anything is possible and we, as individuals, are becoming more and more aware of that fact, more likely to step away from the norm, to try something new. Again, don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just going with the flow here.
So, what’s next on the agenda? Well, the sequel to The Runaway Year – The Runaway Ex – is currently with Omnific Publishing and I should hear back soon regarding edits. My fourth novel, a paranormal mystery/romance entitled Jessamin(e) is also back from beta-readers with some great and encouraging comments. I’m incorporating the changes they’ve suggested and then I’ll submit. After that, it’s the sequel to Psychic Surveys One I need to be cracking on with, and then possibly a spin-off from The Runaways, incorporating two very interesting characters and a tricky relationship dynamic. It may be that I’ll settle into one genre in the future, but right now, that doesn’t look likely.
I don’t know of any other author doing what I’m doing (not of the top of my head anyway) but if you do, please let me know – I’d love to know. Meanwhile, I’ll carry on doing what my heart tells me, alternating between the light and the dark…