25 November 2016

What to feel when an author you love changes directions/genres

In her last post Nora Roberts shared some surprising news. She will continue to publish the In Death series (thank goodness!), also her stand-alone romantic suspense books. But instead of writing contemporary romance or paranormal romance series, she will give fantasy a try. 

In her own words (source)
... And so, some time ago, that light flicked on a turn off the highway, a detour, an unexplored road. It’s a little risky to take that turn, see where it takes you. But it’s also exciting. And challenging.
The flash of this light didn’t beam on the Romance of my roots, or how my own work has evolved around it, and frankly, away from what the genre is today. It shined on something different, something I saw as more a Fantasy saga. Relationships, absolutely. Books and stories for me are all about the people in them, how they relate, or don’t. Touches of romance, sure, but at least in the opening book, the story can’t center on a central love story and hold for the rest.
I thought about it for quite awhile, played with it in my head, chewed on it, studied the concept from different angles. The light didn’t dim, so I turned off and followed it.
Year One — the first of this different sort of trilogy — begins a journey, for me as a writer, for the characters within, and hopefully for the reader who wants to take a chance with me. It begins with a global crisis, a pandemic that wipes away much of the population and opens a door to magicks. Black and white, courage and cowardice, the determination to survive and rebuild, the evolution of powers for good or ill. And the light again, that’s hope and love and bravery that shines through.
The process of structuring this story–and laying the groundwork for the two that will follow–presented a creative challenge, the need to take a leap, a lot of sweaty work, a larger cast of characters to develop and connect to, multiple relationships to weave, the logistics of world building. Because even when you’re basically destroying the world, you’re building another.
For the first time in too long to remember a book woke me up at night, or kept me up. What do I do about this, how will I resolve that, how does that even make any stupid sense? It wouldn’t leave me alone, so I knew it had me, however it turned out. I had to follow that light and see where it took me.
Writing it proved hard and bumpy and frustrating and tremendous fun. Finishing it was, for me, monumental. The relief that my editor didn’t say WTF when she read it, beyond enormous. It matters, a lot, to be satisfied with a finished manuscript. It matters, a whole giant bunch of a lot, when an editor a writer knows and trusts, whose purpose is to publish, package, market a book and help it be the best it can be, gives the work two thumbs up.
I already know the following two books that will comprise this trilogy will be hard and bumpy and frustrating and fun. But I’m on the road now, and I’m enjoying the scenery. ...

Wow, what a surprise! I have been reading books by Nora Roberts since I was about 15 years old. The first adult romance I ever read was by Nora Roberts, she made me fall in love with the genre. Some of my all time favourite books are contemporary romances by her (the Bride Quartett, there's a reason why I own three versions of each book in the series) and when I started this blog, I actually choose the address norarobertsismyqueen (can anyone remember these days?). 

So you might think that this news not only surprised me, but that it also shocked and saddened me, but it's actually just the opposite. I'm excited for this new chapter, I'm excited because Nora is excited, because nearly all of what she writes works for me, because she made me love romantic suspense, because I'm sure that I will fall in love with her new stories. 

Sometimes change can be frightening, sometimes exciting. Sometimes new directions with books haven't worked for me and I stopped reading an author. This time I'm very excited and can't wait to read the first book in the new series as soon as it's published. And I'm pretty sure that I will like it. 

How do you feel about authors changing directions/genres? How are your experiences with it?

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