What do Mystery, Psychological Thriller and Fantasy Fiction have in common? Not a whole heck of a lot. Not a lot except for the fact that each category of fiction is populated with characters who just can’t wait to begin living life. Writing in three different genres can be quite an adventure at times. As a retired police lieutenant, writing murder mysteries is obviously the easiest for me. The character’s personalities practically write themselves, and I always know exactly what they’re going to do to get their jobs done.
I don’t outline my work before I begin a book. I let the story unfold as the characters work their cases or live their lives. I’ve found this approach to be comfortable since that’s exactly what happens in police work. That being said, I have to admit that when I write murder mysteries, I follow an unwritten script because I know how cops and victims and criminals act. My psychological fiction, The Door at the Top of the Stairs, is based on a woman who worked as an undercover narcotics officer, so her personality and life flowed easily for me. Even though her experiences as an officer differ from mine, her reactions to those experiences were second nature.
Now, imagine switching genres from mystery and psychological suspense to fantasy fiction. My latest book, The Spirit Child, completely took everything I knew and threw it out the window. I created the characters and hung on for the ride! Holy Spirit Guides became sarcastic or witty instead of the honored wise beings I’d intended. Instead of a minor character staying minor, she took over the whole book! How dare she? Well she did. There were times when I would sit back and laugh at the antics being played out on my computer screen.
Writing a book or a short story is a fantastic adventure where characters have the breath of life breathed into them. People have written to me saying they love my characters and wish they could be their friends and live in their worlds. I believe a person can write in any genre, any time, as long as the people who populate those stories are true to life, un-stereotypical and interesting in their own right.