What Do I Do Now?

Halló, good ladies of the roundtable!

Thank you so much for having me here today. Let me give you a quickie bio: I’m Kimberly Killion, author of Sexy Medieval Romance. My debut book, HER ONE DESIRE, came out in July from Kensington/Zebra books. It is the story of a Scottish spy and his quest to protect the executioner’s daughter. You can read Renee’s review for more details.

What I want to put out on the ‘round’ table today is a mind-boggling question. At least it is mind-boggling for me…What do I do now?

Every author, published or unpublished, has in their past or will in their future find themselves at a crossroad with this horrid question hanging over their head. Whether you have chosen to write historicals or paranormals or mystery/suspense, an author will always ask themselves, “Is this the genre I want to brand myself in?”

Brand can be a powerful thing. I would never pick up a Hannah Howell book and expect the first line to read, “Her cell phone beat out the tune, Back in Black by ACDC.” She has developed a brand for herself by writing ‘Highland’ books. A lot of them. J

Early on, some authors write what they love, but is that what will put money in their pocket. I’m at a place where I am asking myself this question. Do I want to write Scottish historicals forever? Right now, I would say, yes, yes, yes. I love a strapping braw Scot!

I had the pleasure of conversing with Hannah Howell at the RWA conference and asked her what she was working on. To my surprise, it wasn’t another Scottish tale. While it was a historical romance trilogy, it wasn’t set in Scotland like so many of her books are.

Soooo…do I want to write thirty Scottish tales before I am able to break out of that mold? No. I will most likely be dead long before I manage to write thirty books. LOL! But these are questions all of us will battle at some point in our careers.

My agent recently asked me this question and I have to tell you it scared the bejesus out of me. How can I answer such a huge question? My quick response was, “What else would I write if I didn’t write Scottish tales?”

Whoa! Slow down…there are lots of things I can write. So I dipped into what creative juices I had left after completing a 100k MS and sending it out the door. The easy ones came first: Regency, Medieval, the typical historical, then I went crazy and started thinking about vampires and were-creatures and thought, am I even capable of writing a paranormal? And I don’t want to write the same ole story. I want something fresh. So I started researching foreign lands; Turkey, Egypt, Medieval France (none of which would sell in today’s marketplace) and I zipped my agent a proposal. Well, needless to say, that wasn’t the direction she envisioned for me.

So here I sit, typing random words into google to spark an idea to the all-encompassing question: “What do I do now?”

I’m curious to know what genres you would choose to write in, if you were forced to make a choice. And nothing easy. If you write Medieval historicals, you can’t say, I would do a time-travel and send my contemporary character back to 1217 England.

24 Comment(s)

  1. Welcome to the Roundtable Kimberly, glad to have you.

    I’m afraid I’ll be no help to you. LOL. I couldn’t imagine writing anything but Historicals. My idea of venturing out of the Regency, is Georgian or Victorian, but that is as far as my muse will even consider. ;)

    I’m looking forward to reading Her Own Desire, I love strapping braw Scots too. ;)

    Good luck in your search, I’m sure something will come to you.

    Anastasia St. James | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  2. Great question Kimberly. I think if I wasn’t writing paranormal romances, I would write a mystery or a suspense because while part of me would love to write a historical, I know that I don’t have the voice for it.

    J.K. Coi | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  3. Oh, great question. I would hate to be pigeon-holed into one genre, as I have so many diverse personal and reading tastes. Although I’m currently knee deep in the late Georgian/Regency era, I have sketches and notes for contemporaries, romantic suspense, chick lit, and even a fantasy. I’d love to be like Christina Dodd, and move effortless between genres.

    Thanks for coming by to play on the Roundtable today, and good luck with that second book!

    Kelly | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Kimberly.

    Let’s see… If I had to choose what I could write, I guess I would have to choose snarky paranormal. It’s what I’m good at. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good regency or medieval romance, but it’s so much easier for me to write in contemporary settings, since my heroines tend to take a snarky attitude. That doesn’t usually translate well into a regency set romance.

    Here’s my new quote:
    “Some people write Dark Fantasy. I write Snark fantasy, so deal with it.”

    Thanks again for stopping by!
    Sindee

    Sindee | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  5. LOL, Anastasia. That’s not quite a big enough leap. It’s hard isn’t it ? :-)

    J.K.: I agree with you about writing a suspense, but problem is if I wrote a contemporary suspense it would read as if narrated by a Scottish Laird. And that just won’t do at all.

    Kelly: I envy your ability to write in various genres. I wonder if it is a tool one must learn to alter her/his voice to suite the genre. Interesting concept. Don’t you think?

    Sindee: Hey, girl! How’s those contests goin’??? You are going to give someone a run for their money for that tiara.

    Oh…and I love your quote. Do you have that on your website. If you don’t, you should. :)

    Thanks for stopping by…

    Kimberly Killion | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  6. Hi, Kimberly! After reading Renee’s review and popping over to your website and reading the excerpt of Her One Desire, I’m on the hunt. I’ve got to find out what happens next to Lizbeth and Broderick. :)

    As for writing in a different genre, I’m still struggling to write in one. LOL But this is great food for thought, and I can understand how becoming more and more flexible as a writer can only be seen as an asset. Now I just need to explore possibilities that I might not have have dreamed of before.

    Thanks, for stopping by the roundtable. It’s always great to hear from you, and I know I speak for everyone when I say we can’t wait to see what direction your next book takes!

    Sasha Allgood | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  7. Oh! Great idea Kimberly… that way no one can steal my tagline! Hee hee… as for contests… I’ve only entered a few recently. My historical isn’t doing so well. Then again, having it accidentally in UK English didn’t really help much with that. :)

    Sindee | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  8. Sasha: I do hope you don’t have to hunt too hard. I’m glad you were intrigued b the excerpt and thanks for visiting my website.

    Good luck deciding on a genre. As for the next two books, they are done and waiting. They are both medieval with Scottish heros, but it is the next one that has me grasping at straws. :(

    Enjoy your day…

    Kimberly Killion | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  9. Hi Kimberly Killion,

    Welcome and congratulations on your success!! Your book sounds wonderful and I look forward to reading it.

    What genre would I write in if forced to make a choice? Hum…. I’m the lone non-romance writer here at the roundtable. My style of writing tends toward the off-beat mystery or chic-lit venue. Think writer aspiring to be as good as Laura Levine but constantly getting compared to Janet Evonovich.

    Terri | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  10. Oh Kimberly!!!!! Please tell me that one of them is Smitt’s story. Please! LOL

    Oh, and by the way gals, her next book, Highland Dragon, I know will be awesome. I had the pleasure of reading a partial many months ago, before Kimberly got her contract.

    To answer your question, I can’t see myself outside of historicals. Right now, I’m writing border stories (got to love them Scots) at the beginning of the 17th century. I also have a Western in the works, which I’m excited about.

    As far as anything other, it’d always be paranormal/time travel, whether in the 6th Century or during the Crusades. What can I say, I love history.

    Thanks so much for stopping by.

    Renee

    Renee | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  11. Hi Kimberly! Welcome! Renee’s review and your blurb has captured my interest and I’m looking forward to checking out your book.

    I’m not sure where my place is yet. I have such diverse tastes in what I like to read and I’m experimenting writing in different genres. I guess I’ll just have to fumble along until I find my fit. Hopefully, that’ll be soon as I’ve had a really late start!

    Thanks for visiting with us today.

    Lara Lee | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  12. Terri: “but constantly getting compared to Janet Evonovich” That’s not a bad place to be. I’m always getting compared to Diana Gabaldon, which I can’t complain about. I just wish I could have as many pages as she gets to tell a story. YOu know?

    Kimberly Killion | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  13. Renee!!! *waving*
    Thanks so much for having me here. Ya’ll have a lively group, but none of them seem to keen about writing outside of their genre, including you. LOL

    >>>Please tell me that one of them is Smitt’s story. <<< You are not the only person begging for Smitt’s story. I loved him. Could you tell? :c) I am one of those people who is ready to end the book at ‘the end’. I like getting started on a new project with new characters. I always thought about doing a series. I set the books up that way. And then it’s like…na…I wan’t to start fresh. I think is has to do with AADD. (Adult ADD)

    Kimberly Killion | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  14. Laura Lee: Good luck to you in your search. I think I found the right genre when I found my voice. And lordy did that take forever. *low whistle*

    Kimberly Killion | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  15. Hi, Kimberly. We’re thrilled to have you here! As soon as life gets back to normal here on the Texas coast, I’ll have my hands on your book! It sounds right up my alley! :)

    I read a wide variety and I find I write that way, too. Right now, I’m trying to find my contemporary voice, but I’ve always loved historicals, chick lit, young adult, mysteries–you name it. This year I decided to finish one manuscript (besides the one gathering dust bunnies under the bed) and I’m focusing on a contemp. But, when my muse is hiding from me, I spend some days working on the other ideas, too. Shhhhh…don’t tell my cps. ;)

    Thanks again for joining us! Here’s to MUCH continued success for you.

    Maura

    Maura | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  16. Kimberly, I so know about AADD. Maybe one day you’ll revisit Smitt, he was a lot of fun.

    You know, there’s this guy(hottie of hotties) he parks his motorcycle in hubby’s parking lot and runs everyday (yes the shirt comes off). So hard not to drool, and say I want that! His whole package (no, not that one) I’m talking about the determination, the drive, the bike, the six pack, the everything, he brings up a wealth of inspiration and all contemporaries and all military. So-I guess I could see myself writing romantic suspense, one day.

    Renee

    Renee | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  17. Hello, Kimberly! *waves excitedly*

    This is a great question. I write contemp as that’s where I’m comfortable. Though I started out reading Historicals and still love them. I just hate the research. I’ve dabbled in Historical for fun and friends say I have a voice for it, but I don’t have the drive to do the way I do the contemps.

    For me, the stories just show up and I don’t think about the genre. I have idea for straight contemps, a chick-lit para, and a romantic comedy. Unfortunately, those are all genres that aren’t selling right now. LOL! But then again, they aren’t written either so I’m holding out the trend swings back around at the right times.

    Looking forward to seeing you aboard the ship tomorrow!

    terrio | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  18. Maura: I know all about hiding things from your cps. Funny, how guilty people can make you feel, eh?

    Renee: I want your inspiration. See him to the Midwest, would ya? :)

    Terrio: Hey!!! I’m thinkin’ women’s fiction is the new chick-lit. Isn’t that what they are calling it these days. :) Or is it Contemporary Romance that’s funny? I dunno. *shrug*

    Kimberly Killion | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  19. That’s the other crux. The genres keep changing. One day your story is this with a hint of that and the next it’s that with a hint of this. Lines are blurring. You’d think that’s a good thing, but who knows?

    I’d say to solve your dilemma, you just have to find a story you want to tell. The time period and all the rest will come after that.

    terrio | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  20. >>>>I’d say to solve your dilemma, you just have to find a story you want to tell. The time period and all the rest will come after that.<<<<

    Terrio, I think that says it all. The story the writer wants to tell. Great advice!

    Lara Lee | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  21. Not to throw another wrench in, but what if the story I want to write isn’t the story my agent wants to sell???? Argh!
    They say writers have hundreds of stories inside them just waiting to get out. I’m certain one of them will pop out soon. Fingers crossed. :)

    You all have been great fun. I have to do the ‘mom’ thing and play taxi driver for a while…

    Kimberly Killion | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  22. Not to throw another wrench in, but what if the story I want to write isn’t the story my agent wants to sell???? Argh!

    Kimberly, then I say rock her world with the story you want to tell.

    Renee

    Renee | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  23. Kimberly, it was great chatting with you today! Thanks again for visiting with us.

    Lara Lee | Sep 18, 2008 | Reply

  24. I refuse to be pigion holled. Yeah, it messes with my branding, but so what? I’ll write the best I can and hope it works out.

    Alice | Sep 19, 2008 | Reply

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