Alison Henderson and The Joys and Fears of Changing Genres

newauthorphotoThank you, Liz, for inviting me to visit today. I’m thrilled to join the lovely ladies of the Contemporary Romance Café to share a bit of the background of my latest book, UNWRITTEN RULES.

I don’t shy away from risks. I’ve never wanted to jump out of an airplane, but last year I did take early retirement and uproot my husband in a major cross-country move from Minnesota to Carmel Valley, California. He’s still reeling from the effects of that! I also shook things up in my writing life, big time. After three small press-published Western historical romances, I took the leap to both self-publishing AND contemporary romantic suspense.

I started writing Western historicals many years ago when they were all the rage. By the time I’d learned my craft sufficiently to sell them, the market had shifted. Since I still loved the stories and characters, I contracted the first two with a wonderful small publisher and wrote a third. But times and readers’ tastes had changed, and I’d changed as well. I wanted to try something completely different.

At first I worried about finding my contemporary voice. What would it sound like? Would I even like it? Because if I didn’t like what I wrote, it’s a pretty good bet no one else would. I love reading nail-biting romantic suspense about diabolical serial killers, but I was pretty sure I couldn’t write that kind of story. There was only one way to find out. I had to sit down to write the story that had been burrowing around in my brain for months, in my own way and my own voice. The result was a bodyguard/spy story with unconventional characters and sharp, snappy dialogue. Writing it was so much fun, I think I’ll do it again!

Here’s the blurb for UNWRITTEN RULES:

Things aren’t going Madelyn Li’s way. Her bodyguard agency is teetering on the brink bankruptcy, her grandmother keeps hatching plots to marry her off, and someone is trying to kill her latest client. All she wants is to safely escort thriller writer and former CIA agent Carter Devlin on his cross country book tour and collect her check, but two obstacles stand in her way: a shadowy assailant and her own growing attraction to her dashing client.

Carter Devlin has agreed to accept the beautiful and determined Ms. Li as a bodyguard primarily to appease his publisher. After all, who would want to kill a beat-up, retired ex-spy on a book tour? But when the attacks turn deadly, he soon learns there’s more to Madelyn than a pretty face and tempting body. Will the spark become a flame before a killer snuffs it out?

You can find it at Amazon:

Thanks again, ladies!


Alison Henderson and The Joys and Fears of Changing Genres — 6 Comments

  1. Changing genres is scary, but I think it’s also liberating. I read and love a lot of different genres so why shouldn’t I write them? I think it also makes good business sense. A lot of businesses must diversify to survive, so why not writers? It’s the reason so many authors are adopting the ‘hybrid’ model, and publish independently, and with small and larger houses. Best of luck with the new book, Alison!

    • Jana, you hit the nail on the head! Liberating is definitely how I’d describe the experience. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Thanks for joining us today, Alison! The idea of changing genres is scary to me, so I can only imagine how risky it might feel to an author who is well-established in a particular genre. Yet, it’s important that we are passionate about what we’re writing. If that means changing genre, the results will still be better for the change.

    • Thanks for inviting me, Reece. I certainly don’t qualify as “established” in any genre. I think that’s part of the reason I didn’t feel I was taking too big a risk by switching, but it did make me a bit nervous.

  3. I’ve written in two, and had fun with both. I think this goes right along with Holly’s “Sunday books” post the other day. You can stay where you’re most comfortable, but visit outside the genre a bit, too.

    • I’m so sorry I didn’t stop by yesterday, Liz. OG is sick with a bug he picked up in the ER last weekend, and now he’s given it to me. In my lucid moments yesterday, I was convinced it was the 11th! Thank you so much for inviting me to the Contemporary Romance Cafe. I promise to do better if you’re ever kind enough to invite me back.

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