Category Archives: Book reading

Genre Bending Novels ~ What, Where and How ~ Answers for Writers and Readers

Have you even wanted to write or read a book which doesn’t quite fit into the norm of genre?

For the writer

Here’s some useful advice for the writer on current trends, how to go about writing such a novel and how to pitch it or market it once it’s completed.

For the Reader

Following all of this useful advice are places to look out for the ‘best’ genre bending novels available on the market at the moment. Why don’t you check them out?

Moving on from my last few posts on Themes in novel writing I was planning to write a post devoted to Cross Genre and so I carried out some research, finding some wonderful articles on the subject and so I thought I’d share some of them here instead.

Why reinvent to wheel?

Cross Genre Novels Explained

writing-cross-genre-novels-trends-marketing-insights

An excellent blog which gives:

  • an overall picture of what ‘cross genre’ writing is
  • the current trends eg science/fantasy and magical/realism

How to Write & Sell a Cross-Genre Novel

Michelle Richmond, author of Year of Fog

as well as explaining how to write and pitch a Cross Genre novel she discusses the need to:

  • Recognize your primary genre—and use it as your compass
  •  Draw on your strengths as a writer, regardless of genre

cross genre writing

is a blog which tells you 3 Rules for Writing Cross-Genre Suspense

Lists of Cross Genre Novels

A good place to start for an up to date list of cross genre novels is

Goodreads

Other sites are:

Mysteryreaders.org

which lists cross genre mysteries collected in different subcategories

Postmodern Mysteries

Is an eclectic mix of ‘off the wall’ alternative mysteries.

Genre Bending Novels

And finally above is a list of 50 top genre bending novels brought out in April 2020!

Where does that put my latest MISSING, Past and Present?

 Mystery  is a genre of literature whose stories focus on a puzzling crime, situation, or circumstance that needs to be solved. … Many mystery stories involve what is called a “whodunit” scenario, meaning the mystery revolves around the uncovering a culprit or criminal.

Women’s fiction is an umbrella term for women centered books that focus on women’s life experience that are marketed to female readers, and includes many mainstream novels or women’s rights Books. It is distinct from Women’s writing, which refers to literature written by women.

…but it’s not a typical mystery. There are no dead bodies and there maybe no crime committed, just missing people

… but it’s not marketed for women. Many of my readers have been men too.

You see, the thing about Genre bending is that you need to have an open mind when you read the novel and not begin with any preconceived ideas.

 

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Filed under Blogs, Book reading, Book reviews, Marketing your novel, Reading a novel, Writing, Writing a novel

Themes in Novel Writing ~ 6 ~ Themes to Craft an Alternative Mystery Genre Novel

Keeping up the tension in a novel ~

Typical crime mysteries

In a murder mystery themes of death, fear, hatred, evil, crime and a multitude of equally negative themes keep up the tension in a novel.

Of course, with a missing person theme, or in the case of my latest novel missing people, all of the above themes could be relevant, but they could also include kidnapping, capture, ransom, abduction and hijacking, to name but a few. The tension could be enhanced by the place which is the ‘prison’ and the dramatic way they are being held. We’ve all seen the movies.

Here’s another good post on themes in mystery novels which traces recent changes in the genre:

fmwriters.com ~ a murderous act

Thinking outside the box  v Reader Expectations

In a title like ‘MISSING’ all of the above could have been used equally to evoke drama, but that wasn’t how I planned to develop MISSING Past and Present. Gerald, Dot’s husband disappeared. He chose to leave, so what causes the tension?

Themes such as betrayal, abandonment, devastation or mental health issues for example a total break-down leading to destitution, poverty and homelessness. All of these things in fact.

Thinking ‘outside the box’ in a mystery is a risk. As one of the police in the novel said at one point in the investigation, ‘We don’t even know if a crime has been committed.’

This is not necessarily what the reader is expecting, but did it pay off?

Here are a couple of reader’s comments on reviews:

Derik Birk’s ***** review ~  An intriguing and addictive tale

“Most books I read are full of violent action but though there is very little such action in this book, I really liked this story of a woman re-inventing herself after a bewildering set of events that almost destroy her.”

Here’s the full review on Derik’s site: Dodging Arrows

H Bane ***** review ~ Really Great Book

“This is such a well written book that really just draws you in. Dorothy leads us on a journey on how she ended up where she’s at. We also have the story she writes of Millie.”

Jackie McAll ***** review ~  Is it just the roll of the dice? Super book

Diana Jackson has a way of writing that easily draws you into the lives of her characters. Although this book handles large themes of destiny and change, love and forgiveness, they are handled in an easily readable way. I loved the story within the story (deserving of a book of its own!). She saves a surprise for the end ! Highly recommended.

Both reviews are great reviews but, I’m sure you’ll agree, they are not typical of reviews in the mystery genre.

Qualities I wished for my protagonist

In order to keep these readers interested how do I think I ‘drew readers in’ or made it ‘addictive?’

resilience

Resilience and Fortitude

I believe it was the themes of fortitude and resilience, qualities of my protagonist Dot, which kept the story moving. I didn’t want Dot to be searching, in fact it was her foster son Jamal (a Syrian refugee) who took on that mantel, when his brother also disappeared and he was arrested. I wanted Dot’s strength of character to pull her through the worst of times, only just!

Another theme I could add here was escapism. Dot managed to escape the effects of her tragic circumstances by:

  • escaping into the past ~ the back story in the form of her memories
  • escaping in the present ~ through mindfulness of the natural world around her
  • escaping from even her own thoughts ~ by creating and writing the story of Millie, an aspirant nun who had lived in the place where she squatted a couple of centuries before.

Only time will tell if my gamble with ‘mystery’ worked.

 

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Filed under Book reading, Book reviews, Marketing your novel, MISSING Past and Present, Planning a novel, Writing, Writing a novel

Two extremely positive ways to launch a novel

Hi folks

Since launching my new mystery novel ‘MISSING Past and Present’ on line on 28th February I have enjoyed two events:

  1. Celebration of the Book Launch in Kinghorn Station Gallery on Sunday 15th March and
  2. A Coffee Pot Book Shop Blog Tour organised by the capable Mary Ann Yarde.

DSCN6388[1]Little did I know that, as my friend and distinguished author Hamish Brown said on the phone after the event,

“We will fondly remember your book launch, Diana, as the last social gathering in Kinghorn and Burntisland before the lock down.”

Once my novel had been released on line I worked towards the book launch, ever watchful of events on the other side of the world in China; creeping relentlessly across Europe towards the UK. Should I shouldn’t I go ahead as planned? I asked for advice and most folks said, ‘yes, go for it,’ only a couple rang and explained why they sadly decided they should not attend.

All who attended were greeted with a glass of Prosecco and nibbles, in separate little glass dishes if they wished, but I also made everyone,  about thirty in all sign in with contact details, telephone or email.

Invitation to launchcopy-page-001It was a wonderful social gathering. A blether was enjoyed and time sped by. I said a few words half way through and sold a good few books, but that wasn’t the main aim of the event. I spoke of the collective creativity of the folks in the area from writers, to Douglas and Lynette Gray who had kindly loaned my their lovely art gallery for the afternoon, to a friend Ulrika who had knitted the beautiful Shetland cardigan I was wearing to mark the occasion. We also had musician’s among us and gardeners too, with many from Kinghorn in Bloom represented, but also my friend Ann who works so hard organising areas of the Foodbank where I volunteer.

It was certainly a celebration of my achievement too, with friends and neighbours. There was a fantastic buzz and it was difficult to send the last few home at 5 pm!

It was the next day, in fact, that we knew a shut down was imminent. I have kept in touch with everyone to check all are OK, and thankfully they are. I have no regrets. Happy memories!

Three weeks followed to acclimatize to the new norm in our everyday lives and then was time for the blog tour. At first I found it hard to build enthusiasm, with so much gloom and doom in the world, but the event had been carefully planned and organised by since the end of 2019 and as Mary Ann pointed out,’

‘Diana, we have a livelihood to think about too!’

I’m so glad it went ahead. It was such a positive event, or series of events over the course of five days, which was a distracting time from our everyday lives but above all it was fun. I met several bloggers, hundreds of authors and readers who were prepared to reblog or retweet and the five days built another, very different, feel good factor around my launch. An on line way of achieving what my celebration at Kinghorn Gallery had done a few weeks before.

coffee pot book blog

The tour was varied, so much that only later, on reflection, I realised the full scope of the posts:

The whole week certainly caused a buzz on Twitter and Facebook. Great fun and I can’t thank Mary Ann Yarde enough!

Thinking back over these two events fills me with Joy and I would like to thank everyone involved, took part or attended in person.

Keep safe and well everyone!

 

 

 

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Filed under Author Diana Jackson, Blogs, Book reading, Book reviews, Events, Fife, MISSING Past and Present, Mystery inspired by history series, Research