Friday, March 18, 2011
Jill of all Genres
Hello! We are very fortunate today to have Linda Swift with us. Linda agreed to guest blog for me, so Linda, take it away.
Jill of all Genres
We are all familiar with the expression "Jack of all trades and master of none." And when it comes to writing, I often think of myself as "Jill of all genres" and fervently hope the logical conclusion "Master of none" does not apply here. Writing instructors and "how-to" writing books all advise us to focus on one genre and become proficient in it. If we write a certain type material, we will become known for that and readers know what to expect from us. Makes good sense, doesn't it? I have two very good author friends who have done this quite successfully. Both write historical and contemporary, romance and mainstream. All books by one are set in Texas and the other always writes about the sea.
So why don't I do this? Good question and I'll try to answer it. I began writing poetry as a child, then I wrote in longhand a 500 page romance at sixteen. Life happened and my next writing was children's stories for my son and daughter. I went to college belated after my children were in school and one summer I enrolled in a poetry class, the Jesse Stuart Creative Writing Workshop. I wanted to sign up for fiction but admission required a short story and I had only a few poems. Teaching, working toward two additional degrees, taking care of a husband, house, and two children left little time for writing. But I did write poetry.
My children grew up, left home, and we moved to another state. Still teaching, and attending college, I finally had an opportunity to take a fiction writing class. It was here I wrote my first short story that was submitted to the Indiana U. Writers' Conference, winning the Fiction Skills Scholarship for that year. More short stories followed, many published in small literary magazines. I wrote a few plays, one of which was produced on TV by a local theatre group. And I began to wonder if I'd spent 13 years preparing for a career in education when I really wanted to be a writer. I stayed in education, which I did enjoy, for 20 years, then my husband and I took early retirement and I became a fulltime writer. It was a shock when I compared my former salary to the $69. I earned that first year. Both money and recognition were slow to come and it was almost ten years before Kensington published my first two novels. The line closed just when my next book was to be released. Demand for mid-list authors shrank, my agent was ineffectual, and I was an orphan until I discovered ebooks.
In three years, four publishers have released six of my books and one short story. I am contracted with three additional publishers for release of four books and two short stories in 2011 and have two books under consideration elsewhere. My books include poetry, contemporary and historical romance, women's fiction, and mainstream. The settings are all over the U.S., St. Croix, and England. So you see, I really can't focus on a single place or genre. I have led a nomadic life and my work reflects that. And this requires numerous publishers in order to match my potpourri of material to their requirements. My focus now is on novels set in any historical period but for the life of me, I can't narrow the setting to any one place. My plots focus more on inner feelings and conflicts than with edge of your seat action. But I hope that my readers will find a common thread running through my work that they can relate to, regardless of the genre. And that thread is an honest portrayal of human emotions told in a story from my heart.
Thank you so much for inviting me to be your guest, Elaine. I hope you and your readers have found something of interest in my visit. I invite you to visit my web site to learn more about my available and coming soon books. www.lindaswift.net
TO THOSE WHO WAIT, my just released contemporary mainstream is an example of ordinary people facing extraordinary problems and overcoming them. This is not a HEA book and the conclusion may not satisfy you if that is what you require. But I predict you will laugh and cry as you read it and feel real empathy for the people caught in events beyond their control.
HUMANLY SPEAKING: Conversations With God is a volume of prose poems that reflect my own questions about some of the people and events in the Scriptures. My hope is that it will cause you to examine your own feelings and seek your own answers.
Both books are available as ebooks and also will be in print very soon.