From the time I first decided I was going to write I knew I wanted to write a mystery, or mysteries, if my first book was received well. In my mind, my characters moved stealthily through my thoughts, like figures in a thick fog. Their stories, tragedies, and the ties that would bind them were constantly swimming in my thoughts, alongside all the great mysteries I had read throughout my life, giving me inspiration and leaving me wondering where the story would go.
It came as a bit of a surprise, therefore, when a friend suggested that I try my hand at children's books as well. She said she loved my novels and to keep writing them as well (obviously the idea of writing two books, in different genres no less, didn't seem a question in her mind) but that perhaps it would be good for me to embark on a new adventure when it came to writing. I told her I would think about it and promptly forgot it.
Then, while in the midst of publishing my second book, my oldest son asked me if I was going to write a book for kids. He was so earnest and open in his questioning, his eyes wide and curious, and richly dark. My friend's suggestion immediately leapt to mind and I slowly nodded, telling him I would try. So it began. I started with a tentative, very rough draft of a story I had been kicking around in my mind for a while. Then I wrote two more, short, rough stories featuring the same main character and a lesson to be learned. Pretty soon I was sketching ideas for illustrations (which are, truth be told, much rougher than the rough draft of the writing!) and planning a whole series for the main character.
The big surprise in all of this for me has been the effect it has had on my current mystery, as well as my marketing creativity and inspiration. In terms of my current mystery, I have to admit I was a bit afraid that writing in a different genre would have an adverse effect on my ability to write mysteries. Happily, quite the opposite has been true. It seems that by taking the leap into writing children's books and freeing that part of my imagination, I have freed up a great deal of untapped creativity and my mystery is that much better for it! It has been delightful! It seems stretching into a new genre has made my overall writing more enjoyable, and hopefully of a better quality.
In addition, I find that I am more creative and interested in marketing my books and the things I am willing to try to promote them. Being self published means the weight of marketing falls on my shoulders and sometimes that seems a daunting task. However, with this new rush of creativity I am finding more interesting ideas and fascinating vehicles for promoting my work, a topic I'll touch more on later.
Trying a new genre has opened a dam of creativity that I never knew existed. It has given birth to new characters and possibilities, new stories and books, new readers to interact with. It has also encouraged interesting and intriguing ideas for my mystery that I would never have otherwise thought of. Writing in a new genre, opening my mind, has opened my heart and a wealth of possibilities for my writing and my life.