By Barbara Avon
Enter, if you will, the mind of a multi-genre author. Images, ideas and words swirl aimlessly in my mind. A 3 a.m. wake-up call is not uncommon, but necessary to jot those ideas down before they dissipate and forever escape me. Basically, it’s impossible to silence my muse. What’s different about my muse is that she whispers things to me that don’t necessarily fall under one genre alone.
Many authors stick with one genre and that’s what they become known for, and that’s amazing. I, on the other hand, have a multitude of ideas and images that float through my head and call out to me, begging to meet pen and paper. Who am I to silence my muse?
I rarely think an idea is “silly”. No idea is too bold. In fact, being bold is a necessary trait. I’ve been asked where my ideas come from and to that, I answer: “Off the top of my head.” I started my career writing romantic suspense. This evolved into a trilogy and a fourth book is set to be released this December. Although I love the genre, I wanted to challenge myself and tackled time-travel next. I grew up reading and admiring Jack Finney who wrote Time and Again. I was taken into a new world, one where time-travel was possible. I caught the bug and wrote three books under that genre. A thriller was next, where I was able to play the evil villain (along with the hero who saves the day.) Finally, I delved into horror and enjoyed the liberty that writing horror bestows upon a writer because of the many directions the story can take.
I like to challenge myself. Mostly, though, I love words. I want to explore words in every possible way, and the best way to do that is not to limit myself to one genre. I find myself in my stories, regardless of what category they fall under. Stories are like dreams on paper, and just like dreams, stories ebb and flow through us and we are merely spectators, if you will, to the images that will inhabit the mind.
As a story-teller, I follow one rule: there are no rules. Write from the heart, your brain will thank you later. I don’t ponder on a piece for too long. If it feels right to me, I hope that the reader will feel the same. For myself, there’s no time to waste. Get it written, get it out, get it marketed and start over with a whole new set of ideas and characters.
Writing, to me, is like a drug that causes feelings of euphoria. It’s an addiction, really, and the best kind. The goal, for me, has been to “share the love”. Regardless of which genre I write, love is a prominent theme in my novels. I want to touch people’s hearts in a way that will stay with them, and make them think about life and about love. Yes, even in my horror novels. It is, after all, the most remarkable magic.
The other key to writing different things is confidence. There’s no room for fear or self-doubt. This applies to all authors. Fear is not welcome at the keyboard. Push it away and think, instead, of the reader who pauses and stares into space as they reflect on the perfect excerpt they just read in something you wrote. Too often I hear frustrated first-time authors cry that they will never get it “just right.” What exactly is “right”? According to who? The greatest mistake a writer makes is that in trying to mimic another writer’s style. There will only ever be one Stephen King. Embrace your own voice.
I don’t find it difficult to explore different genres. In fact, I don’t think I’d have it any other way. Trying to stifle myself and limit myself to, for example, love stories, would be like trying to tell a kid what they must grow up to be.
I’ve always had a penchant for writing, even at a young age. Of course, I started as a reader which brings me to the question: Am I afraid of losing readers because I jump from genre to genre? No author wants that to happen. However, I think I’ve gained new readers because of it. One reader despises horror while the next really enjoys it. Eventually, I will return to the genre that the reader most enjoys. Which genre do I enjoy writing the most? All of them. Taking a blank piece of paper and creating a new world is magical.
An author can wear many faces. I’ve been a 50-something man, a serial killer, a ghost, an old and blind woman, a bistro owner, held a magic key, travelled from 1960 to 1980, a newspaper reporter, a food critic and the list goes on. Writing across various genres is akin to being an actor who loves to play various roles. I’ve lived many lives thus far and it’s exhilarating.
My books will become my legacy. One will be able to “read” me and know exactly who I am. I am many things and the beauty of writing books is being able to speak through them. I am multi-faceted, in turn, so are the books I write.
My ultimate pleasure lies in touching people’s hearts. When I receive notes laced with kind words from a reader, it’s like a child who anticipates Christmas morning and it has finally arrived. As much as I live to write for myself, I strive to give the reader an experience they won’t soon forget. I am forever grateful for being able to reach more readers with the aid of modern technology and the rise in popularity of e-books. I want to be able to travel the globe via my books.
As long as I have the ability to type, I will continue to explore various new worlds. The muse: she’s a gift. One I won’t take for granted.
Barbara Avon is the author of ten novels. Her books have been received favourably across the board, entertaining readers with an almost “movie-like” quality. Barbara has written since she was young, pursuing her dreams and vowing to write for as long as she can. She has worked at several different media publications and will continue to publish novels until “her pen runs dry”. She believes in paying it forward and you can read about this belief as the theme is given voice in most of her books. Avon lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, Danny.