Do readers care if an author they have decided to follow goes off on a tangent? Wondering about this, I recently took a look at some of my own writings. The Dark Lady, my first published novel, would probably be categorized as a European-style medieval high fantasy. Queen=s Pawn and Knight=s Bridge would fall into the same broad category, although none of the three take place in the same location, and probably not in the same universe. There is a different slant to each tale, as to how seriously I treat the subject, with Knight=s Bridge, then Dark Lady trilogy, at one end of the spectrum, and the Queen=s Pawn trilogy at the other end with more of a tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek approach.
Then I leap away from the medieval and into the world of the Housetrap series. If forced to describe those novellas, the best I can come up with is a sort of a semi-modern urban fantasy world filled with just about anything, with touches of steampunk and science fiction. Oh yes, they are also detective stories, sort of. I see nothing wrong with having a goblin play the part of a flight attendant on a spaceship. Someone who picked these tales up because they enjoyed the medieval stuff might get thrown for a bumpy curve at the start.
When I rooted around some of my later projects I came up with two novels that are leaning toward science fiction and one with more of a historical what-if epic. One of the two sci fi manuscripts has definite fantasy elements to it. Do readers get upset if you mix genres together? I do this just because I can, and because I think the story elements fit well together to make a better tale.
Trends come and go and I fear I pay slight attention. Besides, by the time I have plotted out a tale, set it down, convinced the publisher and gone to press, the trend has probably sunk without a trace or left dregs of over usage floating on the literary pond. Because of this, I may feel free to throw vampires into a science fiction short, or turn zombies loose in Hounds of Basalt Ville but only give them bit-part status instead of feature time on the page.
The bottom line, in my world, is I write what I enjoy, and sometimes just to see how the story will turn out. I like surprises. Do the readers really care if an author changes hats, changes or mixes genres, wanders from treating a subject seriously, to poking fun, as long as the final product is hopefully well-written?
The Dark Lady Trilogy (Volume 1,2,3)The Queen’s Pawn (Volume 1,2,3)
The Housetrap Chronicles (Volume 1 to 7)
Alex in Wanderland,
Coming events in 2016: We’re Not in Kansas and Toltec Dawn