By Gayle Carline
-Author of Mysteries, Humor, and ???
Andrew's post last week, about writing the story you want to write resonated with me in a big way. While most of you are reading this, I am in my 200-year-old minivan, heading 400 miles to Sacramento to attend the Western States Horse Expo. I've been invited to be part of their Book Corral and sell my books... but not my mysteries.
I released a new book this week, which I would love to recommend to all of you mystery/thriller readers, except it is not a mystery or a thriller. It's not even strictly humor.
It's my horse's memoir.
Stop laughing. I own two Quarter horses, a mare, Frostie and her son, Snoopy. When Snoopy was three years old, he won an AQHA show championship. (I got a pretty saddle as a prize, that still sits in my bedroom.) When he was four years old, he broke his leg. Two years, a fused joint, metal plate, and six screws later, I was riding him again. Now he's nine and we compete together at AQHA shows.
Although I'm uber-excited about this book, told in Snoopy's voice, about his rise and fall and fight to return to the arena, I'm a smidgeon worried. Up until now, I've been "Gayle Carline, Mystery and Humor Author." Now I'm adding another genre to the mix.
Am I diluting my brand?
Michele Scott is truly savvy about this. Her lighter fare, her cozies and YA books, are all Michele Scott, but her dark thrillers are written as A.K. Alexander. Readers should never get confused and buy Daddy's Home, expecting a Wine Lover's Mystery.
I locked myself in with my real name on my mysteries and my humor books, but when I wrote From the Horse's Mouth, I toyed briefly with the idea of using another name. Technically, the book is written "by Snoopy as told to Gayle Carline." I could have used G.S. Carline, or my maiden name, I suppose.
In the end, I decided to be who I am. No matter what genre I'm writing, my stories have things in common. Lightness, hope, and whimsy, to name a few. I try to group my cover art together so you always recognize a Peri mystery, or a book of my humor essays.
Time will tell if this was a good choice or not. Readers, are you annoyed by an author who can't stick with one genre? And what do I use in my by-line now?