Thursday, October 11, 2007

Oh Those Many Genres I Write - Jennifer Ashley

I’m often asked what is my favorite genre to write. I always scratch my head, because I have no clue.

I write romance, mystery, mainstream, and scifi/fantasy. Within romance I write historical, contemporary, paranormal, futuristic, and erotic.

Which is my favorite? I don’t know!!!

I love romance because--Gotta love those heroes! Most of my romances are hero-centric; it’s really the hero’s story. I love coming up with those lonely, powerful hunks of men just waiting to meet their perfect match. I love writing the banter between h/h that becomes a purr as they draw closer together…

Then I start itching to get very, very sensual, and I slide into erotic romance. No holds barred—these people can get down and dirty, usually with the hero teaching the heroine all he knows . . .

I think historicals and erotica are made for each other, so my romance leaps back into the past, when no one was interrupted by cell phones and people talked to each other instead of watched other people talk on television…

But I like the fantasy of magic and supernatural creatures like dragons and werewolves, where the heroine discovers that the hero is a creature of darkness. . .

But when things get too dark, I start wanting funny, upbeat stories where the heroine has to juggle dreams of her magnificent dark hero with the reality of commuting to work and wallpapering her closet.

And then, I start hankering to write a gritty plot-centered story where one rather quirky character is smart enough to solve the mystery and save the day—having a romance along the way, of course!

And then there are the historical mainstreams where I can write about something that really did happen. Here the challenge is making the historical figures come alive, making the tale interesting and suspenseful, even when we all know the outcome.

In my latest novel, The Queen’s Handmaiden, there are only four fictional characters: the heroine, her parents, and the hero. Everyone else is real, and their story unfolded as I tell it.
Of course, I give my fictional heroine a romance with the hero! How could I not?

So I come all the way around the circle back to romance.

Oh, I gotta love those heroes!!

Jennifer Ashley
Author of the bestselling Immortals series, award-winning mysteries and romances, and winner of RWA’s RITA award for novel with romantic elements.


Marg said...

I often wonder how you manage to juggle the different genres and identities you write under!

Jennifer Ashley said...

LOL, Marg. For the different names, it's easy, fortunately. It's all me writing, and the names are just what I've agreed to take because I write for various publishers, and also so readers will know what kind of story they're getting.

For genres it is a little difficult switching gears. You have to remember what the most important thing is in each one: the romance, the clever mystery plot, the challenge of bringing history to life.

The good thing is, no matter what genre, the characters are the most important thing. I can't write about characters I don't like (it never works). Once I meet and fall in love with my characters, I give them a nudge and tell them to go for it. They tell the story for me and seem to know whether they're in a romance or mystery novel. Thank heavens! I'd never be able to do it otherwise. :-)

Nathalie said...

I am glad you have clarified the different pen names... I was wondering if authors wanted to keep their identiy a secret.

Maureen said...

You write like I read. I always like to have a romance in my story but I enjoy all the different settings and time periods.

peggy said...

your new book looks interesting.
i love reading historical.books

Jennifer Ashley said...

"I am glad you have clarified the different pen names... I was wondering if authors wanted to keep their identiy a secret."

Nathalie: I'm really bad at keeping secrets!!

Jennifer Ashley is my real name. Most people think it's a pen name because it's such a "romance author" name. But no, I was Jennifer Ashley years before I started writing romance.

I became Ashley Gardner and Allyson James because I was writing for different subgenres and different publishers. Taking a pseudonym was the publisher's idea, not mine. I would happily have written everything as Jennifer Ashley.

Except--I did take Allyson James on purpose when I started to write erotic romance. Not because I was ashamed, but because I was afraid I'd stink at it! If my stories tanked, well, I'd just pretend Allyson never existed (whistling innocently).

But she did well, so now I'm stuck with her! I now use Allyson at Berkley because I write similar books at Dorchester as Jennifer Ashley.