Any of you who have been around here for a while know that I spent several years writing romantic suspense. When I came back to writing seriously after grad school, it was a romantic suspense that I’d been toying with for years that I set about finishing. Shortly after that is when I started developing that notion for branding myself with Murder and Magnolias–Mississippi based romantic suspense. Nobody else does it, so it seemed like a brilliant little niche I could create for myself. And I still feel that way. I spent 2 or 3 years working on that project, creating spin offs, developing my fictional Mississippi towns and their inhabitents. I was working solidly on a Mississippi based ghost story/romantic suspense when this time last year I was beaten over the head with the idea for Hunted in Shadow. Because I’d been struggling with Til Death not having a really solid plot (solid characters, solid setting, solid voice, but missing something in the plot department) for a while, and because I was really kind of tired of RS and needed a change of pace, I decided to run with HiS. And that’s what I’ve been working on all this year. And of course I’ve envisioned a series here, and created a world that I could, in theory, build a career off of. I redesigned my blog (again), started working on branding/platform, have been working on a novella I plan to give away as a freebie to build readership.
And then as I was strolling through the crowded aisles of Kroger on Friday night, protecting my 13+ pound turkey from the masses and quietly celebrating the fact that I really did find panko breadcrumbs (clearly it doesn’t take a lot to make me happy), Wyatt (hero from Til Death) decided to pop up and say hello. So I came home and reread the last draft of what I had left off with–91 pages of pretty damn awesome if I do say so myself. I really loved that story. I love those characters. And I love my voice with that book. It’s romantic suspense but with a light, comic touch that I am apparently pretty good at.
That light comic thing really frustrated me during those 2 or 3 years I was working on RS because except for Til Death, I was usually trying to write about these really emotionally damaged characters. I pull it off with my villains, but I kinda suck at doing it with my hero or heroine. Obviously, it’s something that would probably get better with practice, but since I am good at the slightly light, comic side, it seems like I should go with it.
Anyway, since 2009 has been all about plotting and story structure, and I’ve learned so much, I want to go back and revisit Til Death and see if I can’t nail down the major plot points based on story structure. It seems like since I now have a much more solid idea of what was lacking in a lot of my prior plots, that I can go back to projects that I abandoned in the midst of the Dreaded Valley of the Shadow of the Middle, and rescue them. There are a lot of stories I love that need rescuing.
So…I’m not sure what that means in terms of what I’ll be working on this next year. I haven’t written a single word in the last week, so I will definitely be up for punishment tomorrow at Mission:Accountability. I still have to finish that last lecture (lots to cover on the moderate behaviorists), which I HOPE to do Monday and Tuesday. I think my brain has just needed a break. And then we’ll see. I’m still hoping to knock out the novella first draft by New Year’s. I’m right at halfway, so we’ll see. Then, the plan is to start on draft 2 of HiS, but if I get a solid plot outlined for Til Death then…well, we’ll see.
The fact that I’m revisiting the romantic suspense side of things brings up something that I’ve been pondering about. I write in two very different genres. I mean, there’s romance and suspense in both, but one side is very specifically other world paranormal romance and the other is straight up, more traditional romantic suspense. I know that it’s possible that if I wind up published in both, it’s possible my publisher may recommend that I publish one under one pen name and one under the other as a matter of branding. But of course I’m not published yet, so I don’t want to expend a lot of energy trying to brand two DIFFERENT pen names until I know which one I’ll actually get published with–the paranormal romance or the Mississippi based romantic suspense. Since I do plan to pursue both, I’ve been trying to figure out how to reflect that on my blog.
I was thinking maybe a theme that’s sort of a split personality. Something that shows in the header with Kait Nolan in the middle, the Murder and Magnolias sort of pictoral theme on one side, and the Mirus world stuff with wolves and fangs and whatever spooky stuff on the other. I’ll have to consult my fantastic web designer once she’s done giving birth (any day now!). She did such an amazing job with Pots and Plots that I’d really like to have her do something here. So anybody have thoughts or suggestions on that front? I mean, I could do something generic, but that doesn’t sound like nearly as much fun.