A Day in the Life of a Multi-genre Author by Christopher Davis
Hello, Marie, and thank you so much for having me today.
My pleasure! So, how does one write in multiple genres and not go totally off the deep end?
For me, that’s an easy one. I don’t read lot of fiction, at least not like other writers would. I mean, I do read and read a lot…I always have. But I prefer history and will read anything from pre-Revolution up through the Civil War and am a big student of the latter struggle after living near Gettysburg for a few years in the 90’s. So early American history, I guess?
I do read some Stephen King—love the Dark Tower series—and I’m reading Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz; he has an easy to read style (that I’ve only recently discovered), but that’s about it. My oldest suggested King’s short stories a few years back. That was really my entrance into genre fiction, per se.
Over the last few years, I have read a ton of great indie fiction, but chalk that up to being part of the job as a writer though. You know, seeing what a particular publisher is reading.
Way back in the 90’s, non-fiction wasn’t going to happen for me, so I started into this crazy life of a writer typing Civil War fiction. I must have struggled with the first novel for half a dozen years before giving up altogether. Problem was, by then, I had been writing for so long, that I couldn’t really quit.
Trolling the net, you’ll see posts about writing this many words or that…it really does become a habit.
With better than a dozen years of closeted writing under my belt, I began to submit in 2012. Hey…the Mayans said the world would end as we knew it. What better time to take the leap, right?
It was a western anthology that first printed my words, quickly followed by one of the bigger crime ‘zines. I’d never read the classic crime writers, so I was just winging it and I sort of developed what I call my 'White Trash' style of crime story. I tend to write what I know, so it's trailer parks and methamphetamine, cheap beer, broken dreams, broken down cars and the broken lives, that follow.
They seem to go over well.
Back then, I wrote strictly for my own pleasure. No word limits, no themes. My idea of horror isn’t blood and guts and morbid cannibalism, it’s the reruns of the old television shows I watched waiting for my mom to get off work and rescue me from the sitter as a little boy - Alfred Hitchcock, the Nightstalker and the Twilight Zone. I just dated myself…didn’t I?
For work, I’ve flown a lot commercially. One morning on the way in, I thought back about a flight out of Denver years earlier. The gears started rattling around in my head and I wrote a short story about a fellow on a red-eye, departing into a gathering storm. Years after completion, the story was included in a Ghost anthology.
Including flash and anthologies, I’ve had something like 38 stories published, mostly crime, but a handful of westerns, and a sprinkling of horror. I’m presently shopping a 100k western and have just placed a short psychological thriller type of thing.
Let me get this straight. Okay...so, you've written crime, western and horror?
Thinking about it in that way…it sounds kind of cool, huh? But like I’ve said…I’m a rather unorthodox writer, right? I don’t read the classics and I hate to outline. I did read Fools Die by Mario Puzo after an early reader compared one of my Vegas/Mob stories. That was a great story and someday I’ll get around to the Godfather, but that is neither here nor there.
Not long ago, while feeling out what I hoped would be a novella length crime story, I decided to let the young man telling it meet some of his neighbors. When he offered to help carry in a neighbors groceries, I thought, what if he gets the hots for this older gal?
The story went downhill in a hurry, but I stuck with it. I tend to finish everything I start whether good or bad. Anal, I guess?
Anyway, I ended up writing my very first and very accidental erotic short story. It would have lived on my hard drive, forgotten, but it was kind of good, for me… So I researched some of the middle of the road erotic publishers that would consider male POV stories and I pushed the button. I really didn’t expect to hear back.
Next morning, I had a kind rejection waiting, but the gal who wrote back encouraged me to keep trying with the story. It was just too short to be of value to them.
After a short holiday weekend, the story was greeted to a contract and I could now call myself a writer of erotic fiction.
That presented a problem, as I didn’t want readers of my other stuff to find that by accident and the pseudonym of TJ Adams came to be.
Now I couldn’t let TJ hang out there with only the one short story to his name, could I? I was working on an untitled crime novella about a young woman who takes to the streets in search of answers as to a friend’s death.
Three small crime publishers had just closed their doors and a handful of stories were returned. I had submitted a zombie-apocalypse type of thing titled Pandora’s Box. The title was perfect for the story and Pandora was the perfect stripper name for the young woman. I rewrote the story to include a few steamy scenes and submitted the erotic/crime story as Pandora’s Box. It is signed, edited and awaiting publication (update - released on September 20th). I can’t wait for this one in particular. Of all the stories that have been published, I think that I like this one the best.
So that’s kind of it for me. I don’t read a lot of fiction and just wing it really? I’m sure that it helps if you’re not trying to write like this famous person or that. Just have fun.
Now social media, websites, blogs and such…a whole ‘nother animal and that stuff will drive you crazy or at least to drinking? Wait…I liked drinking already.
Adding the pen name in July doubled my workload, but I’m good with it so far?
Over the next few weeks / months, I have a short surreal / tragic romance coming out, Cinnamon Girl (released in September).
That will be followed by a pair of 1930’s prohibition era crime novellas, Meet Me in Tulsa and Going Back to Dallas (released in September).
A Las Vegas mob / crime novel Walking to Babylon has just been signed and they will all be followed by A Murder of Crows in a horror anthology released just before Halloween.
I have high hopes for the western novel and I’m working on a 1930’s private eye sort of thing that I’m not sure if it will remain crime or lean to erotica.
Just have fun writing...
Thanks again Marie, for having me today.
It's been an honor really! ;) I mean it. I don't often meet many multi-genre authors like me. LOL. Sounds like you've had quite an interesting journey, and more to come.