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