Posted by Kate Carlisle Jan 25 2012, 12:05 am in contest, dystopia, guest blogger, Kate Carlisle, mystery, sophie littlefield, YA, young adult
I’m thrilled to welcome my friend, author Sophie Littlefield, to the Lair today! Sophie is a living doll who writes awesome stories that will have you gasping and that will turn your knuckles white from gripping the book so hard.
Sophie and I have something in common – we’re both statuesque blondes capable of killing a man with a shoehorn and a—whoa! What I meant to say was that we both love to write books that appear in different sections of the bookstore. You all know that I write both romance for Harlequin Desire, as well as the Bibliophile Mystery series for Signet. (ONE BOOK IN THE GRAVE: A Bibliophile Mystery, will be out on February 8, and the ebook novella PAGES OF SIN is available now!)
Well, Sophie’s books are in *three* sections of the bookstore! She writes dystopian fiction (such as HORIZON, which is a hot new release this week, don’t miss it!), crime fiction (the fabulous BAD DAY mystery series), and young adult fiction.
I thought it would be fun to chat with Sophie about how we find ways to connect with different audiences, and whether our inability to pick a genre and stick with it is a sign of sheer brilliance or emotional instability.
Kate: When you found yourself with different stories to tell in three distinct genres of fiction, did you ever consider publishing them under different pseudonyms? Why or why not?
Sophie: Like you, Kate, I think I’ve always had more ideas than I could possible commit to the page. It always mattered far more to me to have a chance to write than what name eventually appeared on the cover, so when one of my publishers brought up the possibility of a pen name, I wasn’t especially bothered.
Later, though, the publisher reconsidered, and stuck with my real name. In retrospect, I’m really happy about that. For one thing, I’m not a very organized person, and the idea of having to maintain two separate identities – not to mention two sets of social media! – is overwhelming.
I certainly understand that not every reader will enjoy all my books. So I understand that readers may not follow me from one genre to another. But I do think that these days, readers are savvy enough to make those distinctions and decisions for themselves. A number of very established authors have been trying new things under their own names – whether they are writing for a different age group or trying a new genre or voice – and I, for one, always admire them for pushing themselves to try new things.
Kate: One thing I’ve found is that though the genre changes, my voice doesn’t. In other words, whether a reader picks up one of my Desires or one of the Bibliophile Mystery books, she’s going to get a fast-paced story with lots of humor. Do you find the same is true of your books? Is your voice consistent? If so, how would you describe the similarities that readers will discover in your books? If your voice changes, how would you describe that?
Sophie: I’m a bit schizophrenic in that regard. My first series – the Stella Hardesty “BAD DAY” series – is sassy, snarky, and humorous. None of my other work is those things: my young adult novels aspire to reflect the inner landscape of girls on the brink of womanhood, and my dystopian fiction is highly introspective and emotionally raw.
I am addicted to the challenge of trying to bring vastly different characters to life. But I would say some aspects of my voice remain consistent: I love language and experimenting with construction; I give motivation a great deal of thought, so each character’s journey rings true; and I aim to deliver a vigorous read, with a few unexpected twists.
Kate: In HORIZON, heroine Cass Dollar faces evil from humans struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world… and yet, romance is a part of her life, as well, with not one but two love interests vying for her attention. Does romance play a role in each of your different series?
Sophie: Kate, I think you know my little secret – that I got my start writing romance fiction. I have five unpublished romance novels in the drawer, and I learned all my early lessons in the company of other romance writers, who are still among my closest friends and mentors. It’s hard for me to imagine being satisfied with a book unless I’ve put a romantic relationship close to the core.
That said, I’ve wandered a bit off the path from the traditional romance arc. Human attraction is more mysterious to me all the time; I find that as I get older, I know less than I ever did about why people are drawn to each other, or what rules are or should be in place. For me, it’s far more interesting to write a nontraditional or fraught or doomed love affair, letting it unspool along with the rest of the story, than one whose ending I think I know at the outset.
I will admit to occasionally falling for my fictional heroes. It’s an occupational hazard for those of us with zesty imaginations, don’t you think, Kate?
Kate: I definitely do! I have Derek Stone, Brooklyn’s love interest from the Bibliophile Mystery books, on speed dial.
Thank you again, Sophie, for stopping by the Lair! Everyone, be sure to check out Sophie’s website, www.sophielittlefield.com, and comment today for a chance to win a copy of Sophie’s latest, the fabulous HORIZON!
How do you discover new writers? When you go into a bookstore, do you automatically head to one particular section, or do you browse a bit? Have you ever tried a new genre because a book was written by one of your favorite authors?