I’m a romance author. I’ve written Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction (which is different from romance – any romance reader can tell you that) and I’ve written Urban Fantasy. But there’s a strong through-line of “happy love story” in all my work, spanning over a twenty-one year career, covering over twenty-seven novels, novellas, and serial episodes.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I got hit with the idea for a horror novel this year.
If you like wine at all (or if you’ve got a friend who is a vocal wine aficionado) you might have heard the term “terroir.” According to Oxford, “terroir” means “the complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, including factors such as soil, topography, and climate.”
On a secondary level, it also means “the characteristic taste and flavor imparted to a wine by the environment in which it is produced.”
That’s why the same kind of wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Chardonnay, can taste very different if one is from Oregon and one is from Australia. Everything around the plant is drawn in and influences the outer product, the grape, which in turn affects the wine.
I think that writers have terroir, too. Our environments, our upbringing, our circles of contact, all influence the work we produce.
Welcome to hell.
Looking at the world now is to watch a planet ablaze.
Beneath it all, there is a pulsing, seething emotion. Not fear, or at least, not just fear. Rage. Some of it absolutely justified. Some of it horrifically excused or dangerously downplayed. Either way, it is getting amplified. If the world is a bonfire, then there are people out there gleefully tossing on napalm.
It’s been hard to focus on love stories. Not impossible, but a struggle… because romance is an exercise in hope. I find myself digging deep and using up a disproportionate amount of my energy to keep the words flowing on the page.
But as the year continues, and the fury and despair grows, I also find my writing ideas shifting. I feel this little story seed swelling like a bubble of poison, one that desperately needs to be leached out somehow. [Read more…]