Writing Cross-Genre Fiction
When I sit down to write, I don’t think to myself, “Today, I’m going to create a Horror story” or “I’m going to do a Sci-fi tale.” No. Instead, I sit down to tell the best story I can, about characters that appeal to me, and who I hope will also appeal to readers.
Most of my novels can fall firmly into the Horror camp. They have ghosts, demons, and supernatural monsters. But my Legacy of the Gods series is classified as Urban Fantasy by my publisher. This fits, because the novels do take place in our modern world; in small towns and major cities like New York and Tokyo. And while they feature creatures like satyrs and dragons, which are more common to epic Fantasy fiction, they also feature aliens and more bloody, horrific elements as well.
The downside to writing cross-genre fiction is that it is much more difficult to sell. When I first started shopping the first manuscript for my series around, the traditional Horror publishers came back and said, “It’s not scary enough to be Horror, and it has these fantastic and Sci-fi elements which we don’t do.” Then, when I sent it to the Sci-fi/Fantasy publishers, they told me, “This is too horrific for us. Try the Horror markets.” And I kept going in those circles for years.
But I did not want to cut out the horrific elements to make it more Sci-fi, just as I did not want to get rid of the more fantastic elements to make it pure Horror. All those aspects helped to tell the story I wanted to tell, and I felt they were equally important to the mythology I was creating.
Finally, the publishing world seemed to catch up to my vision. Cross-genre stories became more commonplace. And Urban Fantasy seemed to become a catch-all term for those square pegs that did not fit easily into the old-fashioned round genres.
Seventh Star Press released Book One: Poseidon’s Children in 2011. Since that time, the novel has gone on to sell copies in England, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Australia, Canada, and of course, the United States. And now, with the release of Book Two: Hades’ Disciples, the excitement for the series has only grown.
As I sit down to write book three of The Legacy of the Gods series, I am not thinking about the genre elements that make up the tale. I’m thinking about the characters and their individual storylines. I’m thinking about the story that I want to tell, and if it ultimately gets classified as Urban Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi, or something in between, I hope that my readers will enjoy it. That, after all, is the only thing that really matters.
About the author
Michael West is the bestselling author of Cinema of Shadows, Skull Full of Kisses, The Wide Game, Spook House, and the critically acclaimed Legacy of the Gods series. He lives and works in the Indianapolis area with his wife, their two children, their turtle, Gamera, and their dog, King Seesar.
West avoids manhole covers and sidewalk grates whenever possible. He just doesn’t know what’s down there, and he’s not sure he wants to find out.
Book Synopsis for Hades’ Disciples
Terrifying creatures exist all around us, hiding in plain sight. Ancient. Deadly. They gather in secret, conspiring, dreaming of nothing less than humanity’s destruction, and their numbers are growing.
Earl Preston knows the danger all too well. After tangling with a horde of mythological sea monsters in Colonial Bay, he has been tasked with finding these beasts and exposing their plans whatever they may be. But Earl is not the only one with a mystery on their hands. At the very top of the world, Carol Miyagi has stumbled onto an artifact from Earth’s past, something magnificent held captive in a prison of ice and snow. Now, Carol and Earl must work quickly to decipher the will of the gods–a plot that defies imagination–and to stop their followers from carrying it out.
They thought the nightmare was over, but they are about to discover that the horror has only just begun.
Hades Disciples is Book Two in the Legacy of the Gods Series.
Amazon Links for Hades’ Disciples