12 April 2012

April's Child: You Write What? What Do You Write? What Izzit?

My first love was mystery. The novels of Phyllis A. Whitney captivated me. A masterful storyteller, she combined riveting worlds I wanted to inhabit along with her characters, though the “worlds” were right here - just different times and places.

Then I discovered fantasy and science fiction. The novels of Anne McCaffrey, Piers Anthony, Ray Bradbury, and Ursula K. LeGuin kept me up late at night. I learned of politics and intrigue, love and jealousy, and most importantly, Story. The worlds they created aren’t just our everyday reality but some of the most imaginative places ever created by the mind of humans. In Jamaican tradition, they believe the reality of the dream and the reality of waking are not different; both are reality. Reading these authors, I begin to understand what the Jamaicans mean by that.

I’ve written stories since the age of nine. I haven’t always considered myself an author. When I started to, I wondered what kind of author am I? If I had to describe myself to readers, how would I do so? What sentence would describe the stories I write? Genre descriptions are so often limiting – look at Lyle Lovett. He plays music, not any one specific kind of it, but Music. I, like him, didn’t want to be limited in my storytelling, nor in my description of myself. Let bookstores wonder where to put my books.

And then the miraculous happened: the internet evolved and ebooks were born. Within a few years, the entire face of publishing has changed irrevocably. As many other industries before them have learned, the internet is a juggernaut of social change that cannot be turned aside. Like a tsunami it will rearrange the face of the land. Change? Nay. Transformation. Gone are the days of the single-genre author. Now authors can identify themselves with multiple genres and readers, more importantly, can find stories of every description to please their voracious appetites.

I, then, decided that I tell stories. My job is Storyteller. As such, I create worlds. Therefore my description of my work reflects this flavor: Explore the Worlds of A. Catherine Noon.

What does that mean? I write all sorts of things. I write science fiction, fantasy, and erotica. Sometimes I blend all of that. Burning Bright, available from Samhain Publishing, is an urban fantasy novel about weretigers in the city of Chicago and has elements of Wicca, BDSM, and just for good measure, a healthy dose of the Russian mafia.

Emerald Fire, due out in a couple months from Torquere Press, is more traditionally science fantasy, after the tradition of Anne McCaffrey: it’s set on another planet, has distinct cultural elements, macroeconomic trends, and politics. Ah, yes, politics. And truffles. Mustn’t forget the truffles.

I think this is a healthy thing for writing and, especially, for readers. Historically one read stories, one didn’t care if the story was from a particular group of stories, one cared if it was a good story. With the shift in the way stories are marketed, we can get back to the most important part of the whole equation: good stories.

No matter what the genre.

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