Imagine we’re speed dating.
Between awkward pauses and wondering if my cow lick is showing, I ask, “So, do you like music?”
“Sure! I love music!”
“Great! What kind of music? Jazz, something heavy you can groove to or…?”
“Oh, you know…just…I don’t know…music.”
“Um…okay…how do you feel about comedy?”
“Carlin or Hedberg? Stewart or Colbert?”
“Oh, you know…comedy.”
The little speed dating bell rings signalling our time is up. We both collapse onto the tabletop. “Oh, thank god! Next!”
I’ve set up something that doesn’t happen in this cute little scenario, of course.
People don’t go out for a night of music. They go out to dance to a beat or to listen to music or they want it played low and far away so they can talk.
People who love comedian Joe Rogan might just storm the stage if an improv troupe shows up. If that same improv troupe makes all their jokes through the magic of interpretive dance, the audience might just murder the performers and not a judge in the land would convict.
And so it is with books.
Some people (not enough) love reading, but there’s more to it than that.
I write across genres, but people who love my take on our collective dystopian future (killer pandemic starting any day now) won’t necessarily snap up my crime novels. I’d argue the sensibility and voice are similar and the jokes are still there. However, (a) nobody argues their way into a sale, and (b) even the most avid readers are often specific about which genres they will and will not read.
If I had to do it all again, I’d try to focus on writing in one genre and try to dominate that field. However, that’s not really how my mind works and plays. I should say, if I were a different person, I would have done things differently. D’uh. Useless!
But even within a genre, there’s plenty of variability.
If you want a zombie apocalypse with a lot of military action, This Plague of Days probably isn’t for you. There are military elements, sure, but there aren’t any robo-Rambo zombie-killing machines in This Plague of Days.
Instead, the series features three strains of the Sutr virus, each with different effects. The zombies aren’t your classic rise-from-the-dead variety. They’re infected bio-weapons. Instead, ordinary people gain some supernormal capacities and it’s humans versus zombies versus Maybe That’s God versus the crazy stuff that comes next.
Mostly, the story is about what underdogs do under pressure when all appears lost. As for Jaimie Spencer, my protagonist on the autistic spectrum from Kansas City, Missouri? I guess I’ve dominated the autism/zombie niche. You won’t find a lot of Aspergers in this genre.
I always set out to be entertaining, but different.
My Cuban assassin, Jesus Diaz, was kidnapped as a child and abused. Now he’s a hit man who loves movies and makes a lot of jokes to cope with pain. He wants to escape into a Hollywood daydream the same way we dream of winning the lottery. Even though both of them were military policemen, Jesus is not Jack Reacher, not that there’s anything wrong with Jack Reacher. Bigger Than Jesus is different, that’s all. (Somewhere, comfortably ensconced in a platinum writing palace, Lee Child is chortling and happy not to be me.)
So, dear readers, please read the sample provided before you click. I want you to be happy with your purchase. If you purchased anything in error, Amazon is great about refunds.
That’s fair, right?