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Do You Write Cross Genre?

Do You Write Cross Genre?

I used to devour Stephen King’s novels when I was teenager, but after reading one of his short stories about giant rats, I had a vivid nightmare and gave up reading his books.

For Christmas, it just so happened that I got his non-fiction book “On Writing.” As luck would have it, it was the only book listed as required reading material for a writing course I’m currently enrolled in. This all seemed like serendipity because although I have always loved to write children’s pictures books, I just started to write horror stories.

I wrote my first children’s book when I was 18 and quickly wrote two more. Like most beginner writers, I sent my manuscripts to a few publishers and got some very nice rejection letters. Then, I just gave up. I concentrated on raising my children and was too busy or so I told myself.

Fast forward 30 years and I’m an empty nester writing up a storm. I now have a box full of children stories (okay, there actually in a folder on my computer).

But then something happened, seemly out of nowhere I wrote a chapter book for middle graders titled “Scarlet and the Dragon.” I never considered writing for anyone besides preschoolers. Had I been holding myself back?

Then a friend shared with me a story and I kept thinking this would make a great horror story. That evening, I penned my first short horror story. Nine horror stories later and I’m hooked.

I know this sounds like a strange leap going from picture books to horror stories and apparently it even seems strange to people who have just met me. I recently joined a writing group and one woman said she couldn’t believe I wrote horror, even going as far as to say I was a Betty Crocker type. (I just might have to kill her off in my next story for that insult). I think what she meant was I seemed too sweet to be a horror writer. And as I reflect on the B.C. comment, I realize there is something innocent and childlike about me which makes me a good children’s writer, but at the same I have a need to explore the darker side of human nature. Even my own daughter refused to finish reading one of my short horror tales because she said she couldn’t picture me writing such gruesome stories. I guess the old adage holds true, you can’t judge a book (or in this case, a writer) by its cover.

So, do you write cross genre?

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