WRITING ON THE RUN
I love switching genres. I started out writing nonfiction books on martial arts, then shifted that to write textbooks on women’s self-defense and safety awareness. That may sound like a similar type of book to the martial arts books, but it’s not. Different audience, different info, different style.
Then in 2001 I started writing about the things that go bump in the night and have since written four books on the folklore/legends of vampires, werewolves and other critters that get all bitey when the sun goes down. First it was THE VAMPIRE SLAYERS FIELD GUIDE TO THE UNDEAD (released under my one-time-only pen name of Shane MacDougall); then VAMPIRE UNIVERSE (Citadel Press, 2006); THE CRYPTOPEDIA (co-authored with David Kramer; released in 2007); and ZOMBIE CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead (due out from Citadel in September 07)
In 2006 my first novel, GHOST ROAD BLUES, was published by Pinnacle Books. It was the lead-off to a trilogy of supernatural thrillers set in a fictional small Pennsylvania town of Pine Deep. It won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel. The sequel, DEAD MAN’S SONG came out in July; and next May the series wraps with BAD MOON RISING.
This past weekend I just finished writing PATIENT ZERO, a totally new kind of book for me. It’s a bio-terrorism thriller in which a Baltimore detective (Joe Ledger) is recruited by a government agency (the DMS: Department of Military Sciences) to combat a terrorist group bent on releasing a plague.
Now, you may ask, isn’t switching genre supposed to be a risky move for an author? I don’t see it that way. After all, Stephen King has published books that are technically horror (SALEM’S LOT, THE SHINING), Young Adult fantasy (THE TALISMAN), adult fantasy (THE DARK TOWER series); science fiction (CARRIE, FIRESTARTER, THE CELL), urban fantasy (LISEY’S STORY), post-apocalyptic science fantasy (THE STAND), young adult dram (THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON), and even suspense (MISERY). And a whole bunch of other stuff that would fit on a dozen different bookstore shelves.
For me, the shift to thrillers is a comfortable and necessary step. It’s where my muse is pointing me (or, perhaps, pushing me).
At the same time I’m experimenting with a young adult horror/comedy novel.
I love the freedom of movement, and I really dig the challenge of finding new voices for the characters living in my head.
Who knows what I’ll be writing in ten years. Maybe books on cooking or novels about fuzzy bunnies.