Friday, 8 July 2011

Confessions from a Literary Slut

I didn’t coin that phrase, nor does it necessarily point to smutty writing in my novels (although, as they say, some like it hot, and Rowena Through the Wall would probably score a humidex rating.)

No, an early mentor, a guy, once called me a Literary Slut, when referring to my tendency to write in several genres – and sometimes several genres at once.  Which brings me once more to novel classification, and those naughty books that don't fit a specific genre.

Rowena Through the Wall is such a novel.  I call it comic alternate world fantasy.  The romance market calls it paranormal romance.  Under fantasy, it would be sword and sorcery.  The mainstream market considers it time-travel.   In our mystery world, we would label it romantic suspense (of the original definition – think Daphne DuMaurier and Mary Stewart.)  Midwest Book Review called it “a hot, hilarious romantic fantasy.”  Hard to argue with that!

Why the difficulty in finding classification?  Well, like many authors, I didn’t write for a specific ready-made audience.  Instead, I set out to write a rollicking adventure, sexy, dangerous and full of humour.  I wrote it for me, and other readers like me, who want adventure novels.  Like many females, I find big ‘R’ romance not my thing; that is, I don’t want predictable endings.

I do, however, want my pleasure-reading spiced up with the guy-gal thing.  The trick is, to work in some passion while writing a plot-heavy story.  The romance isn’t the plot (as it must be in a big R romance novel) but it may well be an essential ingredient to motivate the players to action.

The gratifying thing is that Rowena has garnered a male audience as well.  One male former editor of a fantasy magazine said the following in a review: “Rowena is a wild ride of fantasy, and male readers will wish she had walked through the wall to them.”  When questioned further, he said:  “It’s fantasy and it’s hot.  It’s got brutal sword fighting.  Guys die.  What’s not to like?”

So it could be that men and women read the same novels for different things.  Or maybe – as I claim – we just all need escape.  And frankly, ‘reality TV’ doesn’t do it for many of us.  Who the heck needs more reality?

So regardless of what you want to call it, bring on the fantasy, I say!  Make my suspense sizzle.

Words not unexpected from a Literary Slut.

Melodie Campbell’s comic novel Rowena Through the Wall (Imajin Books) is available at and Smashwords.
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Favourite book and first line

Karen, this is s double comment: Favourite first line from Pride and Prejudice: Don't know how often I've quoted it and read it and its also one of my favourite books for re-reading. Also Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility. I find as I read them at different times in my life I get different appreciations from them. A second fave, actually two that influenced me greatly as a kid: Gone With The Wind for its tale of a woman's adventurous life and Officer Factory by H. H. Kirst.