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Genre hopping. (And a cover reveal!)

I have written a thriller. Or maybe a crime novel. It could be a suspense story too. I’m not entirely sure. I haven’t written this kind of book before.

I’ve been genre hopping.

All my books so far have been romances. There are paranormal romances and contemporary romances. Romantic suspense and romances just for romance’s sake. This book: no romantic elements whatsoever. And no paranormal elements either, for that matter.

I didn’t intend to switch genres. I have quite a few Two-Natured London books still to write, and I didn’t really have time for this book. But the idea struck and wouldn’t let go, so I had no choice. What’s more, I believe I will write another book in this genre too. Because I liked it.

The lack of romantic elements was refreshing. I didn’t have to think of every interaction between characters in terms of romantic interests. And unlike in romances, the heroine didn’t have to find fulfilment in the form of a husband and the happily ever after.

New elements replaced the old. There was the matter of good and bad, for example; the good guys and the bad guys, and – hopefully – all the characters in between that are both, or not quite either of those. There is a crime or a mystery to solve, preferably one that readers won’t figure out too early. And there is a hero or heroine solving it.

The heroine is the cause for my genre hopping. She materialised from the depths of my imagination and wouldn’t go away until I wrote her a book. Her name is Harper George, and she is a crisis negotiator for the Metropolitan Police Service in London. She is connected to the police, but not accustomed to detective work. It allowed me to have a different angle to the crime solving process that I hope isn’t done to death already.

I couldn’t avoid the clich├ęs entirely. It’s difficult to when writing in a genre of any kind. My heroine ended up being a bit of a loner with a budding drinking problem. In her defence – or mine – she has personal issues that occasionally require a glass of whisky. But I tried not to make that her defining characteristic. And I gave her other features that I hope will help her stand out.

The book is called The Croaking Raven, and it’s about revenge. Harper is being coerced into working for criminals and when she refuses, people start dying around her. But the deaths aren’t random. They are connected to a hostage negotiation she was involved in that failed. Someone wants revenge, and she is determined to find out who before more people die.

Writing in a new genre brought up the issue of pen names too. I have two, Susanna Shore for my paranormal romances, and Hannah Kane for my contemporary romances. For almost the duration of the writing process, I was sure I would create a new pen name for this book. I didn’t want my existing readers to be disappointed with the lack of romance or paranormal elements – or the new ones to find my previous books disappointing, if they venture to read them.

However, in the end I decided to publish it as Susanna Shore. Even though the book isn’t urban fantasy, it has similar elements. It has a strong heroine who is thrown in an unfamiliar world and has to rely on her wits to survive there. People around her are alien, not because they are paranormal creatures, but because she has never encountered quite their like. And despite the lack of romance, there are a couple of strong alpha males like in any good urban fantasy. It feels like a Susanna Shore book to me.

All in all, this hop to a different genre has been refreshing. I learned a lot writing it, and feel energised and ready to return to writing the next Two-Natured London book. With romance and all.

The book is currently with the editor, but as soon as I get it back, I will publish an excerpt on my website. Stay tuned for that. And, as promised, here’s the cover. As always, it’s my own creation, and I’m pretty satisfied with it. Its genre appropriate, eye-catching, and fresh. What do you think?

The Croaking Raven by Susanna Shore

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