At the writing biography panel, Margaret George mentioned she might write a book that takes place in this day and age. I raised my hand.
“I would like to switch back and forth between writing historical fiction and contemporary, and I was wondering if that’s considered acceptable. I know you would have to build two separate platforms because you have different audiences. Do agents frown on genre hopping, or do authors do this?”
Cecilia Holland said when you switch genres, you can’t take your union card with you; you have to get another one. The general consensus was that it’s difficult, but do what you feel is right. Mary Sharratt said, “You can always use two pen names.”
I shook my head. “It’s hard enough to be one famous author. I can’t imagine being two.”
Jess Wells said an agent told her it was okay, but that doesn’t matter. You should focus on what you want to say and not what you think others want to hear.
“Just follow your heart,” said an audience member.
Personally, I always thought the whole “follow your heart” thing is bunk. I can’t remember how many times I’ve read a book and thought, “Wow. Your heart told you the wrong thing.”
If I was gripped by an idea, I like to think I’d write it regardless of what others thought. But publication is important to me. I want to know ahead of time if a book is doomed to failure.
Julie Caton said something that made me feel better: “What really matters is just writing a good book. If you write good books, people will want to read what you write regardless of whether it takes place today or yesterday.”
Now for the Inspiration Blogfest, where I must post an inspiring prompt. I'm going to post the picture I taped to my computer when I worked on Hunger for Nano (and all year since then because I love it).
You just can't look at this without feeling to urge to be romantic.