I got it again earlier. “Steph, why don’t you write literary fiction? I’ve seen you write well enough to write fiction that has some merit beyond what you currently write.”
I write a lot of woo-woo evidently (the esoteric and thrillers) and I’m pushing the porn envelope with my erotic romances. No, the only genre I write in that wasn’t lightly dismissed was the sword and sorcery fantasy. Evidently my first novel, Left Horse Black had some literary merit according to my friend. I’m guessing because it’s the only one that was reviewed by the Midwest Book Review.
I love Left Horse Black. It was my first published novel. I think as a writer there’s always a special place in your heart for the first. It also wasn’t entirely “me”. I wrote it in a voice that belonged to a writer who was scared to death of agents and editors, minding her p’s and q’s and being very careful not to push any boundaries or break any rules. I wrote it in such proper English that my editor and agent had to tell me it was okay to use contractions sometimes. Basically what I’m saying is the style of “literary” fiction is not my cup of tea. I love to read it. I just don’t think my writer’s voice is conducive to it. My real writing voice started to sneak out with Warrior’s Blood Red. Even stronger in Outer Darkness and Training Amy.
It was Stephen King who said he was happy writing his meat and potatoes. I know exactly what he means. I love writing genre fiction. So maybe it’s not literary, but it’s fun! A lot of readers read to escape. Genre fiction satisfies that need. I have a need to write it, readers have a need to read it – everyone’s happy. For me, writing literary fiction is about as useless to me as it would be to write my autobiography. Why should I sacrifice my own happiness just to write something no one will want to read anyway?