Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Anna Jacobs on Writing in Several Genres

Author of over forty books Anna Jacobs explains a bit about writing in several genres:

I never quite know how to explain myself when people ask me what sort of books I write. I can’t really call myself a romance writer at the moment, except in the broadest terms, because I’m writing in two neighbouring genres: historical sagas and modern novels about families and relationships. All contain romances, but they’re not ‘pure’ romances.

What does that mean? Well, in a ‘pure’ romance, the developing romance is itself the story, while in a romantic novel, there is another story, in which a romance is included. In my books I often include subsidiary romances as well. You can’t have too much of a good thing.

I have written ‘pure’ historical romances in the past, including two regencies (Jane Austen style). And I wrote fantasy/science fiction for a few years as Shannah Jay.

People often ask why I write in several genres. Why not? doesn’t seem to satisfy them as an answer. Basically, I get ideas for different types of story, so why not use them?

There is also a very big spin-off for me: the variety keeps me from getting bored. I don’t have a very high tolerance for boredom, you see, which is why I like hanging out with RNA members, who are a very lively and interesting bunch, like their books.

The variety also stimulates my creativity. I write three longish novels a year, which means coming up with lots of new plots. Moving from one era to another, one type of novel to another, helps, for some reason. I don’t struggle to find plots, my future characters wake me up in the night and show me ‘movies’, then I rush to take notes.

The biggest problem with writing in two genres is when I get an idea for a new story while I’m in the middle of something else. Then my imagination may have to move from the 1860s to the modern day - and quickly back again. It keeps me on my toes.

What I regret most is that I don’t have time to write in the genres I’ve ventured into in the past, because I still keep getting ideas for them. But I’m afraid I need to sleep every single night, and to spend time with my own personal hero.

If I do find a way to speed up my writing, however, watch out. I’ll turn my imagination loose on the entire universe again.

Anna has two novels coming out this month, both modern. The hardback is a brand-new story IN FOCUS, which has an IT background. When a new feature on Pete Newbury's popular TV programme shows his adult image digitally transformed to that of a young child, Beth is shocked to realise he's her 'baby' brother, who vanished without trace 38 years ago.

The other book is SAVING WILLOWBROOK which is out in paperback. Ella turner is struggling to save the farm which has been in her family for hundreds of years, with the help of the hero, her daughter and the friendly family ghost.


Bronwyn said...

Hi Anna,

I think we might share a brain! This year I've gone from contemporary Blaze, to dark regency noir and now I'm working on a fun women's fiction. I love the change in pace too. After being in the dark mind of a regency rake, I couldn't face anything but fun and laughter so I went with it. I'm also glad I'm not the only one who can't sleep because I'm busy scribbling on the note pad next to my bed!

Good luck with the releases and when you find a quicker way to release the story from your brain to paper, let me know! That one would be worth millions =)

Jenn J McLeod - Australia's small town storyteller said...

Hi Anna, just popping over from down under to find you here. What a delight reading that post. YOu know it took me over a year of struggling with my writing, only to find out my dilemma was related to not understanding the genres. In joining a group of romance writers (even though I didn't write pure romance) I found myself struggling to have the hero and heroine meet in the first 3 pages (makes it a tough writing experience when you have 90k to go!) and have conflict that they had to die over. People now ask me what I write and I have finally found a way of telling them. I say "I write stories about life and all the highs and lows that go with it."
Jenn J McLeod

Suzanne Brandyn Author said...

Hi Anna,
Although I currently writing in the one genere, perhaps one day I will turn to paranormal/scifi, but as yet haven't written anything else beside contemporary romance.
Also it would be tremondous to be able to plug into one's mind and have our stories or dreams recorded so all we had to do in the morning is to plug it into our computers. lol...

Godd luck with your releases. Just love the cover of Saving Willowbrook.

Suzanne :)

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Anna, I am a big fan of your historicals. Your characters are so real to me as they face all the problems you throw at them. I also feel as though I learn something about the time in which you set your books. The music hall series was a favourite.
I haven't read your contemporary novels yet - IN FOCUS looks fascinating and now is on my "to buy" list.

CC Coburn said...

Hi Anna, We are obviously twins, separated at birth! (let's not discuss the geographical separation?) :-)
I too write in several different genres - category romances, rom com, women's fiction and I have a Jane Austen time travel brewing that I keep having to tell to just *wait!* plus the last two from Harlequin American have an intrigue angle.
I do love the premise for "In Focus" and it will be going onto my buying list. :-)! Also love the cover of Saving Willowbrook.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful blog.

I’ll admit to being fascinated with the Anna Jacobs behind the novels I so love point my eyes towards. She’s such a wonderful read, every novel, every page another welcome surprise. Yet when I try to analyse why I keep finding a mud wall in my tiny brain. That she writes is no surprise. She clearly has something to say. But so much, so often, so rich and so diverse is where I find my blank. I’m not complaining mind, just curious and happy to be the precipitant of such wonderful experiences. I guess this blog is a corner piece of my puzzle. She’s such a giving person, with much to share and talent to burn. ---- Thank you Anna.

Anna Jacobs said...

Wow, I've got up (it's 5am) and find a bunch of interesting comments on my blog. What a lovely way to start the day. And compliments too - blush, blush! Basically I just love telling stories. And reading stories, too.


Eleni Konstantine said...

Lovely blog Anna and keep having fun writing your stories!