Changing Genres: What I left behind, what I gained, and why did I do it?

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As any seasoned author will tell you, once he or she gets into a groove, it takes a lot to change directions–so how did #1 New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison decide to do just that for THE DRAFTER, the first thrilling installment in her new Peri Reed Chronicles series? Read below to find out and don’t forget to pick up your copy today, now on sale from Gallery Books! Plus, we’ve got a great DRAFTER sweeps at the end of this post!


 

Leaving a successful series can be difficult. Changing genres at the same time, doubly so. For me, the decision to leave the Hollows was easy—the follow through . . . not so much as the emotional ties were surprisingly substantial. I find I still miss Rachel, the confidence of sitting down every morning knowing my world and characters inside out. Reader response has been mixed, with many bemoaning never seeing their favorite Hollows characters again, but others understanding it’s better to close that last chapter while the author is still excited about the words and worlds they are creating. And I was, right up to the end. Still . . .

Ten years in one person’s point of view is tiring even when that character is growing, and with Rachel, I’d gone about as far as I wanted. Leaving the Hollows allowed me to return to a third-person POV, and with that, the freedom to tell a story from many perspectives. Enter Peri Reed, Dr. Silas Denier, and Jack. To some degree, Peri begins where Rachel left off, already knowing who she is, where she’s going, and residing confidently at the top of her field until the rug is pulled out from under her. The chance to expand my storytelling from one point of view to many has been refreshing, to say the least.

But perhaps even more invigorating is that during a decade spent working with the Hollows, the ideas didn’t stop, and the buildup of new themes to delve into and new characters to explore had reached a tipping point. I’m older now, too, and my perspective has changed. My writing should reflect that, and I’m not surprised that Peri is worried less about making rent and more about how her mother’s increasing care needs will fit into her already complicated life.

It’s not just older characters who have garnered my attention, but an older, more complex world as well, where the shine of new technologies try to hide an increasingly jaded, untrusting society. How developing sciences and technologies might impact us has always been a theme in my work in urban fantasy, but because magic is usually the innovator and social mover in the genre, I was forced to sideline technology, never able to play with it as much as I wanted. Peri’s world is set slightly in the future, freeing me even more to look beyond and extrapolate not only what new technologies we might have, but how they might impact us.

In many ways, Peri Reed is a reflection of my own concerns in leaving my comfortable niche in urban fantasy to start again in a new genre, and like Peri, I know it isn’t worth doing if it isn’t scary. The potential to grow as a writer dwarfs the risks even if I’m not confident where The Drafter fits in, sort of an action, accelerated-science thriller.

So as I turn my attentions from the Hollows, I leave behind a rich, magical world of many species trying to coexist, a character list that spans multiple social economic levels, and a main character using her flaws to find balance. I will use what I learned there in Peri Reed’s story, developing a new world where technology is the agent of change, one that is perhaps more recognizable to us, perhaps even a little prophetic—as rich and varied in characters as we live in today, seen through the eyes of not just one person struggling to find their place, but two.

I can’t wait to start sharing it.


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