Today’s Thriller Thursday welcomes romantic suspense writer Pat Dale. My fellow MuseItUp Publishing author writes spine tingling suspense and drama – the kind we all love. But Pat’s no one-trick pony. He loves crossing genres, including romance, usually a woman’s domain, and is great example of a lesson all writers need to remember: write what you love!
When I first began my writing career, I made a choice that didn’t sit well with my mentor. I was advised that I should pick one genre and stick to it. Well, I’m from Missouri, stubborn in the trace, and kind of mule-headed generally. I like several genres and couldn’t pick just one. Oh, I could have, and that would have been mystery. Always loved those mystery novels of the old days.
As things progressed, I decided to prove that a man can write a successful romance (check out above Missouri references). My wife, not a romance fan, argued with me but my intransigence won out, and I wrote several romantic comedies and suspense novels. Got them published. Got some good reviews. Okay, I proved that point. Now, what?
I’m back to writing what I enjoy the most; mysteries. But, good old Missouri mule that I am, I still cannot confine myself to just one type of mystery. No problem. After a lifetime of doing things the hard way and persevering, I’m ready for this latest challenge.
I have the first of a series coming out in May, Toccata. It’s a romantic (see how corrupted I am by that genre?) adventure set in the city where I grew up: St. Louis. This is an experimental extension of the traditional whodunit novel and damn hard to put together. Book one is on the way to my readers, and book two is in the publisher’s hands, ready for editing, with book three on the drawing board as we speak. Things are moving along nicely.
So how can I screw that up? Simple. I’m beginning work on a different series, a more traditional kind of mystery, set in another city I know and love: Kansas City. Series one is written in third person, utilizing principally the voices of Dan Quinn and Sera Moreland, my male and female protagonists, to tell the tale. Series two is written in first person, in the voice of my sleuth, CT Archer, with a turn toward sarcastic enthusiasm in his pursuit of justice. St. Louis Blues Mysteries are 90-100K in length, but Archer Chronicles will be much shorter, in the 50-60K realm.
I suppose I could have written two series using much the same format, but I prefer this system. If you deem it a system, that is. Why? For much the same reason that I’ve written some very dark gritty tomes to violence and mayhem, alternating with sunny little comedies. The dark and the light – kind of a Beethoven of the written word. The Maestro wrote alternately dark and light symphonies, probably for much the same reason I do what I do.
How will it all turn out? Now, that’s a question I’d like to know the answer to, but I doubt I’ll know in the years I have left. And that’s the way it should be, in my view. If I’d undertaken to write for money and fame, I’d have listened to that mentor’s sage advice. I write because my damn head is so full of characters and plots, I have to clean them out on a regular basis. Were I mentoring today, I’d definitely give the same advice I rejected sixteen years ago. That is, unless I had some mule-headed yahoo on my hands, and then I’d tell him to write what he wanted, but don’t cry if it never made him rich. LOL
If you want to check out what makes a crazy writer tick, click on the links below to the sites where you can get a glimpse of how I’ve done so far. Happy reading, all.
Books at Amazon: http://www.tinyurl.com/78eu63o
And at Barnes & Noble: http://www.tinyurl.com/6v8wwzt
LAST COWBOY IN TEXAS
A lighthearted look at romance
Thanks for having me here with you today, Stacy. You have a great site and it’s fun to visit with you and your readers. Happy writing, all!
You’re welcome, Pat. Thanks so much for joining me!
Great interview! Pat, you are a brave man for experimenting with different genres like that–a huge no-no, as any publisher would tell (and have told) you! Obviously it works for you, and is a rule that should be broken in certain cases. That’s why I’m so glad small presses like MIU are around! 😀
You and me, Adriana. The good old days of solid advances are gone forever. As are the not so good old days of huge slush piles and endless delays in getting published. Now it is possible for a good writer to find a home or several of them and let her/his writing determine success. If I had to vote, I’d go for what is developing and will continue to do so. Thanks for dropping by!
I think so, too, Adriana. And that’s the wonderful thing about the changes in the publishing world – authors can write in different genres and still be successful. Thanks for stopping by.
I love hearing of a man writing romance! He is true to his calling and writing what he loves – even in the face of adversity. Fantastic! Plus he is really stretching himself as a writer – different genres and different voices, 1st and 3rd person. I have done this too and know what a challenge it is. Good luck to Pat!
Isn’t it great? I think writing what we love is so important. Write the book we’d want to read, and you’ll be proud of it. Thanks for stopping by, Donna.
I read a blog post by Chuck Wendig some time back that talked of this very thing–writing in whatever genre hits your fancy. Chuck was all for it, and so am I. Good for you, Pat, for doing what you want to do.
I think I read that too, and it’s spot on. No one else is going to love it if you don’t. Thanks!
Pat Dale, you are one of the highlights of my days! This was a great interview. And for the personality description, you know you could substitute me (except I’m female and from Georgia.) Keep writing, my friend! (Yeah, like you were plannning to stop, huh?)
Thanks for stopping by, Gail. So glad you liked Pat’s post. I loved having him guest:)
Thanks for this post. This is something I’ve always wondered about because I love both fantasy and suspense/thrillers, vastly different genres. I’m currently playing around with different ideas on how to handle it and whether I should simply specialize so I appreciate hearing from someone who wrote what they loved regardless of the genre.
Glad you liked it, Marcy. I think a lot of it also depends on what your publishing goals are. Traditional publishing isn’t as flexible yet – that I know of. But small press and of course, self-publishing, has opened up a whole new world. Thanks!
I think starting in romance was actually pretty smart considering the share of the market it has. And all kinds of romance fall under its umbrella nowadays, even mysteries with romance in them. But I also think writing what interests you is the biggest thing because that’s when you can do your best work.
That’s a good point. Romance is such a hopping genre, and many cross with it nowadays. Glad you enjoyed the post!
It’s fun to hear how different writers approach this topic. If I could go back and start over, I’d probably do about the same things, only work a little smarter where it comes to building a brand. a writer does that eventually, but there are ways to enhance it from the very beginning. Another topic for another day.Tthanks to all of you who’ve commented today.
Pat, good for you. We have several men in my local RWA chapter, and they totally rock. And I like blogging different kinds of things – ya gotta go with your heart. So glad it’s working for you.
Thanks for stopping by, Beverly. Glad you enjoyed Pat’s post!
I love the idea of a man writing romance! I also can’t pick a single genre. Interestingly enough, when you say, “I write young adult,” that’s not all that informative either. YA what?
Great interview! Wonderful advice.
Pretty cool, isn’t it? I’m pretty happy with the suspense/thriller genres, but I do like to add some romance in, too.
What a refreshing interview. I think readers are different nowadays too with so many reading opportunities afforded through small presses. In the past, an author was known and expected to churn out the same kinds of stories everytime…romance, mystery, etc. in his/her stable so the reader knows what he’s buying. But now with someone like PD, the reader loves his style of writing and will follow him into several genres because he/she loves the storyteller. Really enjoyed your tell-it-like-it-is interview, PD. Ya’ done good!
BTW–FYI Janet Glaser is J Q Rose…didn’t check before clicking to pub my reply.
Thanks for your kind words, JQ. I think I’m a throwback to the good old days of storytelling. I find a story, I have to tell it. Right now I’m in the middle of a funny one told from the pov of a dog. Which means, I have to think like a dog through my scenes while getting the protagonists (human) story told. Quite a challenge. PD
Thanks. Have to give all the credit to Pat:) I think one of the best things about the changes in the publishing world is that authors are now able to wear different hats if they choose to. And you’re right, if they like a writer’s style, they’ll follow.
Thanks for stopping by!