Every blog should start with a confession and here’s mine.
I’m an unpublished author, but I don’t plan on being like that forever. The unpublished part, not the writer part. I don’t think that a writer ever really stops writing once it seeps into their veins. And even if I never see a word I’ve written in print, I will keep writing.
So, what do I write? That’s not an easy question to answer. If I had to use an industry category, it would have to be dark fantasy or horror, but I abhor both of those labels. To me, fantasy means swords and dragons, and while I admittedly do incorporate occasional swords and dragons, I don’t set books in an alternate, Toklein-esque world. In fact, the crux of my framework is that monsters are real and they exist in the world that you already know. That sounds like urban fantasy, I know, but urban fantasy is based on a hero or heroine who happens to be a werewolf/vampire/other creepy crawly – and my character is a human who fights such creatures. As for horror, yes, I have all of the elements of a scare fest, but in my head, horror is Stephen King and Clive Barker.
I like to describe it as I write old-fashioned, creature-feature fiction and paranormal mysteries with comedic undertones – because I want people to enjoy being afraid of the dark.
Although I dabble in other stories, most of my novels and short stories (currently 6 and 8, respectively) are part of The Unnatural Adventures of Elle York, or the Elleverse as I call it. They center around a woman named Elle York, who is more determined than talented (sounds like me!), and who has dedicated her life to fighting the boogey man. Along the way, she meets and defeats a wide variety of nasties from tiny brownies to the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. In between are gods, demons, genies, trolls, and a whole lot of spookies you never even knew existed. And yes, there are a few werewolves and vampires tossed in there for good measure.
More important than the beasties that Elle fights are how the lives around her are affected. Elle collects an eclectic group of staunch friends and a variety of enemies. Over the course of the series, she is betrayed, heartbroken, physically and mentally crushed, scratched, bitten, and even shot. She also falls in love and eventually finds a way to save the world without carrying the weight of it around on her shoulders all the time. Elle York isn’t just a hero, she’s my hero. When I’m terrified or don’t think that I have the strength, courage, or tenacity to go any further, there’s always one phrase that keeps me going …. WWEYD. “What would Elle York do?” has become more than my motto, it’s my mantra.
So why have I come out of the writer’s closet and exposed my dirty secret to the world, knowing that it could result in ridicule? Why do I continue to pursue and agent and publisher even though so far I’ve been met with rejection? Why do I ask every person I meet to read my stories and give me honest feedback, no matter how hard it might be to hear the truth? Why do I keep trying to break into an overcrowded industry, knowing there is a real chance that I will never succeed?
Because it’s what Elle York would do.