I’ve been writing fiction for nearly three years now and if I had to characterize myself as a writer, the adjective I would use is capricious. Or whimsical, if we’re being kind; fickle if we’re not.
I often have several works in progress, generally set 150 years apart. (Though oddly, I’m writing two books right now set in DC.) On a given day, I might write several hundred words on one, do some academic writing, and then pick up the other. I might read a few chapters from a small contemporary romance and then a biography of a woman born in 1862. There’s simply no through line that ties together my reading and my writing. I’m all over the place.
These fissures show up in the product, if not within a single work than certainly between them. When I read Brave in Heart and then one of my contemporary projects, the voice sounds so different to me; two different people could have written them. I feel almost like the romance writer equivalent of Monty Python. “And now for something completely different…”
I can imagine that I could spin this for you in a positive way: “I am large, I contain multitudes,” there is no contradiction here. But at a time of expectation in terms of author branding and consistency, I’m not sure how I work is a strength. The one is not like the other. If you liked Brave in Heart, you might not like The Easy Part. If you like The Easy Part, I’m not sure you’ll like Brave in Heart. Both come out of the mess that is me, but they represent different moods, impulses, and sensibilities. I don’t know which I should pursue moving forward, but doing both may not be possible.
What expectations do you have for authors in terms of brand or consistency? Do your favorite authors work in different genres or sub-genres? How do you feel about that?