Confessions of a Mulitple Personality

- by Patricia Rosemoor

There are at least two of me. Really. Not just that I have two names, one for my real life, one for my literary life. It’s the literary life that splits me into different personalities. I define myself as writing dangerous love, but that has a broader meaning for me than it used to.

I’ve been in the business long enough that I’ve tried writing just about every subgenre out of necessity, to make sure my career had legs. And it has. I’ve lasted twenty-eight years continually published because, as the market changed, so did what I wrote. But there comes a time when you find your niche as a writer. For me it was romantic suspense.

And then I needed something new, so added a dash of the paranormal. And then another dash. That should have been enough for me, but not so. Somewhere along the line I started being split in two directions–straight (meaning no paranormal element) thrillers with romantic subplots and romantic urban fantasies. The two couldn’t be more different.

When I ventured out of my comfort zone, I was hooked and couldn’t choose what I wanted to write, so I didn’t commit myself to either direction and so would only produce limited proposals. After all, my agent wouldn’t send both types of books out at the same time lest editors realized I wasn’t committed to a single type of story. And that can be a problem. I’ve known forever that the most successful writers find their niche and dig in. That makes editors happy, because then readers know what to expect from that author. And for years, despite the fact that I was feeling like I was trying to push a rope to finish a book, I subscribed to that. I’ve now written more than fifty Intrigues and a total of eighty-eight books with a new contract. For umpteen years, I pushed myself harder than I ever thought I could.

Then five years ago I lost several people in my life, including my husband. I wrote through illness and death and grief because I didn’t know what else to do. But when my mind cleared and I got back on an even keel, I realized what was important was not pushing the way I had for so long, but doing something I loved. Rather, whatever I loved. So now I write less of what I know I can sell (and no longer have to push any ropes to finish because I enjoy writing them again) and have given myself permission to spend time on spec projects that won’t leave me alone. I’m exploring and it has made writing fun again. I even sold two of those new projects.

I can write a romantic thriller or an urban fantasy. And I’m just now picking up a reincarnation idea I cast aside when my husband became ill. My internal life is richer for the variety. I no longer feel the need to choose. I embrace my multiple personalities and wonder what took me so long to realize what would make me happy as a writer.

4 comments

  1. I think that many writers find their niche in a particular flavor of storytelling, i.e. a certain brand of strong characters, a recurring theme, or some other aspect of storytelling that isn’t neatly defined within genre conventions. The trick seems to be balancing the eclectic writer within with the bookselling definitions that help readers find the books that suit them. Kudos to you for figuring out how to do that!

  2. I think that’s true, Laura. No matter what I write, I put my heroine in life-death situations for her or someone else, usually someone she cares about. She will do anything, conquer any fear, to see that justice is done. Same with the hero, of course. I guess that’s my niche–putting characters in situations where they become their best possible selves to resolve the conflict.

  3. First of all let me say that I really enjoy your Intrigues although I have not read all of them ~ I have very few of the McKenna books. I don’t believe a writer should stick to writing only one type of book and if I don’t want to read a certain type of book by an author but enjoy other types by the same author it doesn’t keep me from reading the ones I enjoy and skipping the others. I believe all authors should write what they enjoy writing.

  4. I’ve been focussing on Regencies, and would say I am moderately successful having now nine in print and two more under contract with a few short stories added in for good luck. But there is another personality trying to escape. She writes contemps every time I let her off the leash. And then theres this darker person who has a werewolf up her sleeve.
    I like the idea of having fun again. I’ll take your advice and let these girls out of their cages from time to time.
    Great Post.
    Ann