Thursday, July 25, 2013

BBF Featured Author - Natasha Duncan-Drake

First I would like to thank the girls for hosting me today as part of the Blogger Book Fair.

I'm what I like to think of as an omnivorous writer. That is, I enjoy writing in all sorts of genres. In fact, this time last year during July, my sister, Sophie Duncan, and I were running a month long promotion through our company website (Wittegen Press) where we released a free short story every day and covered lots of genres.

Each story was available for one day only and then later in the year we gathered them all up, re-edited them and published them in a series of anthologies. It was a very interesting writing exercise and our readers seemed to like it. The anthologies are available at The Wittegen Press Giveaway Games Anthologies if you would like to see what we came up with. I won't say too much, because Sophie is publicising the anthologies during the BBF and I don't want to step on her toes.

All genres have aspects that make them absolutely brilliant to explore and other parts that are the difficult bit about writing for them. What I wanted to do today is give you an insight on why I love different genres and what makes them a right pain in the proverbial  for me on occasion as well.

GenreFun PartsDifficulties
High FantasyIt's a totally invented world so there is much fun to be had from simply making things up. Unless the civilisation is being based off a real one, there is no detailed research to do.There needs to be a lot of planning and recording involved because everything is new. Places, magical restrictions, animals, races - it all has to be created and maintained.
Contemporary Fantasy/ ParanormalMagical additions to the real world mean anything is possible. Any situation can be created and controlled.It's set in the real world so the magical aspects have to be blended in carefully. This can be a fine balance.
Sci-FiAlien worlds make for countless possibilites and what isn't cool about a space ship?There has to be a believable scientific element to the setup. This requires research and/or a great deal of consideration.
HorrorMonsters, demons, ghosts, insane killers; it can be so much fun to play with darkness and the fear it inspires.In my opinion, horror should shock and scare, but not completely repel. I have read horror novels I have put down with a grimace and never picked up ever again because they were too horrible.
CrimeMy favourite crime story is a good murder mystery. When writing one it is great to set up the suspects one by one, giving them motives and plot background.It's a fine balancing act to lay the pointers to the murderer so that the reader does not feel betrayed when the reveal happens (I hate it when the murderer comes out of nowhere) and not being too obvious.
RomanceI am a romantic at heart so I really enjoy the romance genre. For me I adore the exploration of love and togetherness, as well as the sexier more explicit side of the market.Romance can become very sappy very fast unless there is a good plot holding it together. Getting it right is an art.

So there you have it: why I love genre and want to throw things at it at the same time :). I have seen many people look down on genre fiction, but I think it is one of the most creative realms anyone can ever dip their toe into. I'm also very much for mixing of the genres, because, when done well, that can only make things more fun.

I have a Young/New Adult contemporary fantasy series in the BBF called The Chronicles of Charlie Waterman in which I do a lot of genre exploration. The first book, Cat's Call, is contemporary fantasy through and through; it's about a young man from the UK who ends up hips deep in magic. However, I wrote it so there is a connecting theme of contemporary fantasy, but parts of the books take place on other worlds which can be anywhere, any time and with any rules. Hence I can play with genre. The second book, Cat's Creation, has elements of paranormal and mafia style crime in there as well, where as the third book, Cat's Confidence (out soon) has two thirds of the book set on a world which is high fantasy with dragons.

Genre fiction is wonderful, I don't know why you'd want to read anything else ;). Thank you very much for reading.

Do you have a favourite genre? Do you like mixing genres, either reading or writing?

The Chronicles of Charlie Waterman by Natasha Duncan-Drake
Cat's Call
Cat's Creation
Cat's Confidence
coming soon
When Charlie has the powers of the Cat Spirit forced upon him, he gains the ability to change shape into a cat and travel between worlds, but he has no idea how it all works.  Unless he wants to be stuck with a tail his only choice is to go to the magical dimension of Between to meet and train with the six chosen of the other great spirits, all but one of whom are just teenagers like him.

With the help of Akari, his mentor; the Seer, a girl who is actually older than Charlie can fathom and, as the name suggests, has visions; and his new comrades, he has to learn to control himself, take on a quest to stop an evil warlord from gaining some very power magical artefacts, and figure out who is attacking Between. If he fails existence might just fail with him.

Natasha Duncan-Drake
Blog | Twitter | Tumblr | Livejournal | G+ | Wittegen Press Author Page

About the Author: Tasha started writing as a pre-teen and has never stopped. She used to be a software engineer and database designer before she decided to follow her dream to be a writer full time. With her twin sister she created Wittegen Press, a small e-Book press for publishing genre fiction. Her books include novels in the contemporary fantasy, crime and horror genres as well as many short stories and novelettes in every genre from sci-fi to romance. When she's not writing she's usually reading, watching vampire movies, baking or polishing her Photoshop skills.


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