I’ve always been a bookworm but it wasn’t until my early twenties that I seriously began tinkering with fiction writing. Over the course of the next decade I proceeded to co-write a murder mystery novel with my youngest sister and two solo novels in the contemporary Christian fiction genre (which is drama with a subplot of romance).
Then one day, while I’d already started a third solo novel, my other sister asked if I wanted to co-write a fantasy genre novel with her. She had already plotted it and created the characters and setting, so I took a look at what she had and quickly agreed. After that it took us four years of collaborative writing to complete the novel, and we named it The Attic.
While absolutely LOVING the experience of writing fantasy (especially exploring all those secret passageways in the Gothic mansion!) and considering it a marvelous adventure, I didn’t quite feel I was capable of plotting fantasy fiction on my own. So I finished writing my third solo project: another Christian drama/romance.
BUT once that novel was completed I distinctly felt like I’d reached a dead end: or a finish line if you will.
The wind was out of my sails. I felt like I’d said all I ever wanted to say in the contemporary Christian fiction genre. So what to do next? I didn’t want to write drama without romance and I didn’t want to right full-blown romance either. I also didn’t want to write murder mysteries because they require too much knowledge of police and detective work (all that inside legal and procedural stuff, not to mention forensics).
So it was at this point that I began writing short stories in order to play my hand at a variety of genres. And it was here I serendipitously discovered in allegorical fiction a niche in which I could write for a mainstream audience (like we did with The Attic) while still being inclusive of my Christian faith and values.
Then one summer on a whim, I bought a youth fiction novel because the synopsis appealed to me and it had a delightful title: A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano. It had simply never occurred to me before that I might enjoy youth fiction, of all things, but the book just popped out at me from the shelf. I went on to read many more novels for middle graders after that first one. But in reading this particular book I felt an awakening, like I’d found something I didn’t even know I’d been looking for!
Writing more short stories confirmed it. I wanted to write books for youth; specifically, fantasy with elements of the paranormal. Not medieval fantasy, mind you (that’s a whole other realm), but a genre specifically called “low fantasy,” which is when magical and enchanting events take place in the real world – rather than in a parallel universe. No other writing projects brought my spirit to life as much as The Attic, The Viking, Garrin, and I See You.
Despite this new vision for my writing, however, I only daydreamed about it for a good two years before taking any action. I was drained from my previous writing projects and wasn’t ready for the huge time commitment that a novel is. But one day I reached the point of being ready again and plunged myself into the research phase, reading up on cryptids, faery lore, and ghost stories from the United Kingdom and Canada. An idea took shape and I began plotting…
This leads us to now, where I’m currently writing a novella which takes place in a 19th century, backwoods, Ontario setting. It features British Home Children and the French-Canadian legend of the Loup-garou (a.k.a werewolf!).
So, why did I choose historical fiction?
That’s next in, “Why I changed my genre (Pt.2).” 🙂