Nancy Jardine Talks about the Joys of Multi Genre Literature
Thank you for the opportunity to visit your blog, Isabella—I love visiting new places.
It’s great to have you back, Nancy! As a multie genre reader and writer myself, I am really pleased you chose to write about this subject today…
Wearing different hats for reading and writing.
My multicoloured reading hat…
Some authors naturally gravitate to a particular genre for their writing, often because it’s the type of novel they like to read themselves. Others, like me, who read copiously and enjoy stories across many different genres, choose to write across different genres. My favourite reading is historical and mystery so that’s why I gravitated to those genres as a new author but time will tell if that’s where my writing will stay! To date, I’ve written historical fiction and contemporary mystery for a general adult category; and time travel historical for teens.
My choice of reading genre tends to be all about mood. When reading historical fiction, I don’t expect to be entertained in the same way as I would if reading chick-lit, romance or crime—you could say that I’m wearing a particular reading hat for that genre. Sometimes I want to learn about a particular historical period and expect to do that while reading historical fiction. At other times, I love reading a really challenging mystery because I love following clues to work out what the whole plot is before the end of the mystery. Often the more demanding, the better the read becomes. If I’m tired and my concentration is lacking, then I tend to reach for the lighter reading I’m sure to find in sub genres of fiction like chick-lit; cosy whodunit; or romance: pure entertainment being my goal. I wear plenty of reading hats depending on my mood and all of the genre types can be excellent, satisfying reads so long as they’re well written.
And my different writing hats…
My most comfortable genre to write in is probably historical, my Celtic Fervour Series being set in late first century northern Britain (A.D. 71-84) It’s like a family saga in that the main protagonists are different family/clan members, though they sometimes play a lead role in one book and a secondary role in another across the four books (Book 4 to be published soon). For that genre, I’m wearing a very ancient and well crumpled hooded cloak as I strive to create believable settings in a time period that’s essentially pre-history when the Ancient Roman armies invade the Celtic/Iron Age tribes of northern Britannia. There are only a few written primary sources to use for research so grubbing around with current archaeology findings becomes hugely important for me being as accurate as possible. For my Celtic Fervour Series my metaphorical writing hood needs me to make my characters think differently from a 21st century character. It’s more difficult writing and slower to finish but I really enjoy it.
As a break from heavy historical research, I wrote a contemporary mystery between the first books in my historical series. I cheated though in Monogamy Twist because what transpired was a plot that required me to create a fictitious family tree structure, the ancestral threads needing to be unravelled to solve the fairly simple mystery. I totally enjoyed creating that fictitious family and was desperate to design another more complicated one. Think of a pencil used to create a top knot rather than a hat!
In Topaz Eyes, my fictitious family originates in 1880s Amsterdam but by WWII the next generations are scattered across European and global destinations. That meant I was able to create a complicated mystery within the mystery but was also able to write about fabulous cities in Europe and the U.S. that had made a big impact on me in some way as a tourist. My planning sheets for Topaz Eyes and the creation of my family tree gave me the most immense buzz, so much my metaphorical floppy sun hat was squelched almost to pulp!
My third contemporary mystery Take Me Now is romantic comedy suspense, a very light-hearted read with easy to follow clues to solve the mystery. Another kind of writing hat was worn when creating my version of a grumpy, highland hero who is a wee bit different from the swarthy kilt-wearing usual romantic highlander of Scottish romances. Again, I was able to set scenes in fabulous places like Barcelona, Paris, Oman, and The Caribbean yet I was also able to have a Scottish island base. It was great fun to write and I got to wear a jaunty fascinator for that one.
Time Travel Historical:
The Taexali Game is intended for a good reader of c. 10 years of age and above though I’ve found that many adults are really enjoying it! My writing hat for that one was brilliant to wear—think of a metal skipped cap worn backwards looking like an ancient Roman helmet. I loved the freedom of taking contemporary teens and sending them back to a historical era that I love writing about as in Roman Scotland of A.D. 210. My three protagonists ‘speak’ and ‘think’ in what is a normal way for 21st century teens but the secondary characters from the historical era ‘speak’ in a different voice. The Taexali Game was great fun to write and when I get a breathing space the second of this series will be a Victorian adventure.
Do you have fun wearing different reading and writing hats?
Please note: My Celtic Fervour Series published by Crooked Cat Books will no longer be available after the end of February 2018, but look out for new versions later in the spring! My other novels are currently available from Amazon and other ebook and print sources.
Nancy Jardine regularly looks after her grandchildren and has a garden that can sometimes look quite creative. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, the Scottish Association of Writers, the Federation of Writers Scotland and the Historical Novel Society. She’s published by Crooked Cat Books and has delved into self publishing.
You can find her at these places:
Amazon Author page http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere