Monday, March 14, 2016

Mid-Career Monday: Writing Across Genres with Gretchen McNeil

Gretchen's latest foray into horror, RELIC, was released just last week. And, though she's a master of scary storytelling, the uber-talented Gretchen will celebrate the release of her first YA contemporary this spring with I'M NOT YOUR MANIC PIXIE DREAMGIRL (title of awesome, huh?).  With a background in opera, television voice-over work, and all-around "How to be incredible in LA-ness," she is a champion of YA and a smart, passionate reader. So I asked her...

What was the scariest thing about switching genres and what advice might you have for other YA authors considering switching tracks?

Here's what Gretchen said:

I wasn't entirely sure I could plot a book without murder.  My brain equates escalating tension and raising the stakes with murder, mystery, and mayhem, so how was I going to replicate that in a subversive, contemporary comedy?  It was a struggle at the beginning, and the first draft had enough plot for three books.  But as I got to know the characters more, I grew more comfortable with them and allowed those relationships to dictate the plot.  That's when everything fell into place!

As for switching genres, I think the key is maintaining your voice.  I'M NOT YOUR MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL and RELIC could not be more different, except when you read them, they still sound like Gretchen McNeil wrote them.  And that is what readers--and publishers--are ultimately buying!