I approached writing ‘The Door into War’ with some trepidation. On one hand, it
was a story I wanted to write with a plot I was pleased with. On the other hand, my
previous novels have all been firmly squarely horror or historical fantasy genres. Writing
a time travel thriller was a complete change for me, especially as my reading knowledge
of time travel and thrillers is limited, and as a writer is zero.
Putting together ‘The Door into War’ led me to wondering, what are the benefits
to a writer of switching genres? And what are the drawbacks?
In my case, having written a lot of horror where tension is key I have at least
some experience of maintaining suspense. I’ve also got a background in archaeology so I
made my main character an archaeologist, and made archaeology an important part of the
story which gave me something familiar to work around. I write occasional erotic shorts,
which I found a help with the need to show characters’ emotions and reactions to each
It was also a refreshing challenge to try something completely different, and I
hope this enjoyment comes over in the novel.
Because I didn’t know the thriller genre I suppose there’s a possibility that in my
naivety I might have brought something new to it – but that’s probably wishful thinking!
But, genre-swapping isn’t all plain sailing. I’m pretty sure I’ll have made some
genre-specific mistakes, and I probably missed some things that thriller readers will
expect, or misjudged the pacing and similar.
When writing historical fantasy or horror I usually have an idea of whether or not
what I’m doing is any good – or at least whether it’s good above the line enough to be
picked up by a publisher. I didn’t have that same feel for ‘The Door into War.’ In fact, as
it was accepted by the publisher unread, I still didn’t have much idea of whether it was any good. However, reviews have been pleasing so I suppose it must be okay.
Another thought is that writers are usually encouraged to stick to a single genre so
as not to alienate their readers. I don’t think that applies to me because I write several
genres. My readers are probably highly alienated already!
While I’m returning to my more familiar histo-fantasy/horror for my next few
stories, ‘The Door into War’ was great fun to write. I’ll definitely try writing different
again some day.
Andrew Richardson is at: http://andrewjrichardson.blogspot.co.uk/
‘The Door into War’ is published by rebel ePublishers. Here’s the blurb:
Archaeologist Rachel McKenzie expects the excavation of a World War One
bunker to yield routine results – until she uncovers modern artefacts among a handful of
skeletons in British uniforms. DNA testing provides evidence of a government scheme to
address Britain’s shortage of soldiers in 1918 by abducting 21st century citizens and
sending them back in time to fight the Germans. The authorities from both eras are
desperate to keep ‘Operation Trench’ secret, and ruthlessly stamp down on anyone who
might expose them.
Despite her scepticism about time travel, Rachel needs to persuade the public that
‘Operation Trench’ is much more than a conspiracy theory dreamed up by cranks.
Battling against ever increasing odds to expose the plot, Rachel endangers herself and
her colleagues as the government ruthlessly culls those they suspect are privy to their
Can Rachel make the truth public before she and her colleagues become victims of the
very scheme they are trying to stop? Or will those in power take brutal revenge against