I recently did a guest post on another website but thought I would post this here too… it pretty much says everything I am currently going through… 😉 and it’s all good!
The Beauty of Science Fiction…
As an author of erotica and contemporary romance, plus science-fiction, I have been on all sides of the writing spectrum. Each genre has its own challenges. In fact, genre is something widely discussed amongst the Indie writing community purely because many Indies have books that don’t necessarily fall into one category and therefore have been passed over numerous times by agents and/or publishers.
When I say science-fiction, in my mind I think of Quantum Leap, Star Wars, Star Trek or The Fly (this film terrified me when I first saw it). I think of Stephen King and The Stand, another story that left a lasting impact. I think of Blade Runner, The Fifth Element and even Demolition Man (don’t beat me with a stick). There are so many other films/books/comics I love because I love science-fiction. In fact, there are so many books/films that bob under the sci-fi radar because it is a genre that is all-encompassing. Did you think The Adjustment Bureau was necessarily sci-fi? Did you think Never Let Me Go was? The Time Traveller’s Wife? Sci-fi does not leave those who prefer more romantic stories out in the cold.
My husband and I met through a mutual love of the arts. We were sent together to a Press night to review a play for a university magazine and it turned into a story… nine years on we have a daughter and have been married almost six years. When I met him, I had no idea I was marrying into science-fiction madness. His mother is a mad Trekkie. I am talking super mad! She can name you the title of any Star Trek episode just from the first line. She dragged my husband to Star Trek conventions when he was little and he has been indoctrinated in all the various offshoots of Trek… and beyond. My own love of sci-fi was something burning deep but not on the surface. I am just a lover of great stories… aren’t we all? It was only when I started writing sci-fi that I realised what a great source I had in my husband for ideas and opinions. Thus he became my editor.
When I started writing my first novel, all I saw was a theory. I didn’t classify it as one genre or another. I knew there would be a love story at the heart but I also knew the book would be set in the future and in some respects, this already placed it in the sci-fi bracket. Yet I also had a yearning for romance and felt I had to weave this in. I needed that too. So when I was asked to write this post, I got to thinking what differentiates straight erotica, straight romance, straight sci-fi. Setting perhaps, language maybe, yet you still have to throw a lot of imagination into whatever you try to tackle, whichever genre that may be.
Erotica was something I wanted to try my hand at because it was a challenge. It is not necessarily where my heart lies. Don’t get me wrong, I love erotic stories. I didn’t love Story of O at first. In fact I hated it. However, I grew to love it and now class it as one of my favourite books. Every reading always produces another insight or a different reaction. When I finished writing a pair of erotic novels last year, I was pretty pleased with the result. Some said the books were much more than erotica. And they were. I tackled some subjects that I felt were important to explore. In fact, there are tons and tons of erotic writers out there that have written much better stuff than will ever see the bottom of a jumble sale. That is because erotica, when done right, allows us to explore emotional issues no other genre allows so easily. Erotica can be so much more than just fantasy. It can be a vehicle of exploration for how intimacy and sexual honesty between two people can be such a force of good.
So after writing two erotic novels I wrote a contemporary romance titled Angel Avenue. It was such a joy to write, so easy in fact. I wrote about exactly what I knew. It is set in my own environs and it features characters I am familiar with, or versions of real people I know and respect and love. If any writer ever tells you they are not inspired by life, they are lying. Whether directly or indirectly, we all are. We are sometimes subliminally, subconsciously, inspired by real life whether we like it or not. Anyway, it was this switch from erotica to contemporary romance that made me realise a few things. It made me realise sometimes we forget the small stuff, which can make a heck of a difference in books. It makes us connect with characters so much more.
As for the sci-fi, that very first novel I began during maternity leave almost three years ago turned into a trilogy. It spun wildly out of control and I never thought I would get any success at all from it. In fact my first novel was my first creative outing. I had never even attempted a short story before then! I just had this dream and I followed it. I explored ideas and theories until they were wrung out. The point of this article is that I have recently gone back to these books and re-written/re-edited and re-imagined them. When I went back to the drawing board after writing three romance novels, I realised just what a task I had accomplished in writing a trilogy of sci-fi books. Because as you can imagine, sci-fi sometimes requires a whole new setting to be explained and described. It asks that we IMAGINE like we never imagine with any other genre. In science-fiction anything is possible. Nothing is off the table. As a romance writer first and foremost, that was difficult for me to master at first. I constantly thought of things in terms of would this actually happen ?? When in actual fact, I should have been telling myself, this is science-fiction and anything can bloody happen! My point is, science-fiction can comfortably feature action, thriller, romance, drama, adventure and fantasy, all within a completely different world. It can comment on universal political, social, moral and ethical issues. The challenge is immense but it is one I love and relish. Nothing excites or enthrals me as much. The possibilities are endless. It is exploring the people we are, through the things we could be capable of. And that is the beauty of science-fiction.