Thursday, September 26, 2019

Does my series normalize violence?

Anyone who's ever read my books knows there's a body count but it didn't start that way. You might wonder how it happened.

I always say that this is the series that wasn't meant to be a series but I can take that one step further and say it became the violent series that wasn't planned. Originally We're All Animals was meant to be a standalone book but as the story moved forward, it became clear there was much more coming down the wire. With each book, the series grew until it became brutally violent.

The thing is that this isn't so unusual in our society. Many things become normalized over time because they are slowly built into everyday life. Things escalate. Smoking starts with an occasional cigarette often with no intentions of becoming a habit. On a more serious note, domestic abuse starts with an insult, a shove or some form of control. However, many things are insidious. They grow over time until it becomes the new normal. We regularly see it in our culture, especially in the news.

The interesting thing that I noticed while working on my 12th book is how Chase - the character who has been along for this journey since day one - started off so naive and shocked by the same violence he later comes to participate in. We see this in the real world too. It's not just fiction.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

OMG! I finally fit in a genre! 😝

For all the times I complained about not wanting to be stuck in a genre, I've finally found the perfect one!

Ever since my first book, I've never been comfortable classifying any of my books into a specific category. Nothing ever quite fit. There was romance, action, suspense, murder, dark humor and even some vampires thrown in a couple, but none of these specific genres felt right. It was as though all my books included so many things that it was kind of difficult to really categorize them properly so I chose instead to toss everything into the 'dark fiction' category. It seemed like the most accurate, if not the best category.

Recently, I stumbled across the concept of 'counterculture' and I was immediately intrigued. What was that exactly and why did it sound so appealing? As turns out, counterculture tends to be a way of life that goes against social 'norms'. This demographic rejects 'conventional' society choosing instead to live by their own standards.

This grabbed my attention.

In my first two books (Fire and A Spark before the Fire) my characters reject the values of society by striving to become rock stars, which in itself, tends to be a very counterculture lifestyle.

In my third and fourth book, The Rock Star of Vampires and Her Name is Mariah, I tackle the underground world of vampires. You can't get much more counterculture than that, can you?

Maybe so.

In my current series, my cast of characters tends to go against pretty much all social norms. They make their own laws, follow their own rules and do so without a second thought. Murder, corruption, collusion, and torture are engrained into their lives as if they were the most natural thing. That's pretty counterculture.

My books finally have a home and it's pretty awesome.