Why we write what we write

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Photo by Colton Sturgeon on Unsplash

Romance, mystery, thriller, science-fiction … what makes an author choose to write in a particular genre? Your favorite bestselling authors reveal why they chose their literary path. This week, we continue with Kayla Dawn Thomas, David C. Cassidy, Scott Bury and J.L. Oakley.

Kayla Dawn Thomas

Romance

I’ve always been fascinated with falling in love, with everyone finding their perfect someone. While I read romance from all time periods, I like writing contemporary to show that people can still find love in this somewhat jaded, prickly world.

David C. Cassidy

Horror

For me, it was simply a case of being enthralled and inspired by Stephen King and Clive Barker at a young age. For me, they taught me two things. King: How to tell a story with “real” characters a reader cares about. Barker: How to imagine … and then to imagine more.

Scott Bury

Historical fantasy, non-fiction and mystery

When I was about 15 or so, I was into science fiction. I read a novella by Larry Niven featuring a detective named Gil the Arm. He served in a global police force, a couple of centuries in the future, so it was essentially a science fiction detective story. I was hooked!

When I started writing fiction, I felt frustrated by the expectations and tropes of genres: noirs, police procedurals, fantasy, science fiction … Plus, I am interested in many different types of stories. That’s why I not only write in different genres, I cross the boundaries as often as I can.

J.L. Oakley

Historical fiction

I’ve always loved history and even wrote a very serious thesis on Comanches as prisoners of war using primary materials from the National Archives and the Smithsonian Institute. My goal was to make it readable, not some high-faluting work that people wouldn’t understand. That’s what a publican historian is all about.

Writing historical fiction is another way to present history in an engaging way. When a reader becomes involved with a character facing the troubles of her time or just living life, you can teach about an era much more effectively. 

Take your pick

Whatever genre you like, BestSelling Reads members are authors who adhere to the highest professional publishing standards, dedicated to bringing readers compelling, enjoyable stories that leave you wanting more.

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Thursday teaser: Lee

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Contemporary romance

Lee: Lucian & Lia book 6 romantic erotica

By Sydney Landon

“So how many exactly have there been since I left?  Assistants, I mean,” I add quickly.  I certainly have no desire to hear about the number of women warming his bed.  He probably can’t count that high. 

“A few,” he says vaguely.  “No one has any type of work ethic anymore.  And the few who managed to show up on time couldn’t take direction if you stapled a detailed list to their damn forehead.  Do you know that I asked one of them for the Camden file, and she came into my office with a purse the size of the Grand Canyon and dumped it out on my floor?  When she started crawling around down there going through the debris, I asked her what she was doing and she said that she didn’t know what name brand her nail file was, but she figured it would do the job.” 

I can’t help it.  I laugh until tears are rolling down my face.  I can so easily imagine Lee’s expression when that happened.  “That’s hilarious,” I manage to croak out as he shakes his head at me.  When I get myself under control, I ask, “So I take it that she didn’t make it long after that?” 

“Hell no,” he grunts.  “As soon as she put all that shit back into her bag, I had HR inform her that her services were no longer needed.  I was half afraid that she’d find that damn nail file and stab me with it, but according to Pete, who was close by, she actually hummed on her way out.” 

“She was probably thrilled to get away from you,” I joke.  Lee wasn’t an easy man to work for, especially if you couldn’t read his mind.  Luckily, we connected from the beginning, and it had never really been a problem for me. 

“I just want people to do what I pay them for,” he states, making no apologies.  And why should he?  Yes, he can be a bit abrupt, but he works just as hard, if not harder, than anyone there.  Plus, the pay scale at Falco is far better than most businesses in North Carolina. 

“I agree with you,” I say softly.  Then as quickly as the moment of familiarity that only comes from working together is there, it’s gone, and I’m on edge once again.  I want to know why he’s here, yet I’m terrified to ask.  But this strange impasse that we’re at must end, and he doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to do it.  Therefore, it’s up to me.  So, squaring my shoulders, I ask point-blank, “Why are you really here, Lee?  You and I both know this is completely out of character for you.” 

He smirks for a moment, then inclines his head to acknowledge the truth of my words.  “I’d like you to come back to work.  Seeing as you’re currently unemployed, it shouldn’t be a problem.  You can start in the morning.  Kara will be more than happy to turn everything back over to you.” 

I gape at him in shock.  “I—er… what?” I manage to get out.  He’s completely unruffled, while my hands twist in my lap as I try to decide if he’s joking or not.  Since when have you known him to joke?  It’s time to make that run for the door. 

He gets to his feet abruptly as if everything has been decided.  “I’ll see you at the usual time tomorrow.”  When I open my mouth to protest, he adds softly, “Don’t even think about not showing up.  Because if you aren’t there, the first place I’ll look is Hunter Wrenn’s home, and I know you don’t want that.”  My vision blurs as I stare at his retreating back.  For the second time that day, the front door is slammed as another angry person leaves.  “Oh, my God,” I whisper as I collapse in my chair.  He knows.  Dear God, he knows!  The voice in my head is in full panic mode, but outwardly, I’ve fallen into some kind of weird trance-like state. 

About Lee, the spicy romance

Romantic erotica

My name is Lee Jacks and I’ve lived a life that few could imagine. When you grow up as the son of a crack whore with little more than the clothes on your back most days being accepted by your peers is the last thing you expect. I was always an outcast which was fine by me. It’s what kept my brother and me alive. Survival is something that isn’t taught in public schools, but it damn well should be.

But I’m no longer a gutter rat to be kicked aside like yesterday’s trash. I’m a sought-after member of the Asheville, North Carolina elite and invited to parties given by the upper crust of society.

The one thing I never counted on was falling in love with my assistant Liza. In one of my few selfless acts, I refused to bring her into my corrupt world. When she quits her job, and walks away from me, I soon discover that I never really knew her at all. For she has secrets of her own and one of them could very well be the need to destroy me.

Graphic content warning: This romantic erotica novel contains depictions of violence, sexual abuse and child abuse.

Get it on

Sydney Landon

is the New York Times & USA Today best selling author of:  Weekends Required, Not Planning on You, Fall For Me, Fighting For You, Betting on You, No Denying You, Always Loving You, Pierced and Fractured.  Sydney is currently working on the next book in the Danvers’ Series as well as the Pierced Series.

When she isn’t writing romantic erotica or romance, Sydney enjoys reading, swimming and the beach.

She lives with her family in Greenville, South Carolina.

Get to know more about Sydney:

Her BestSelling Reads author page   |    Website    |    Amazon Author page    |    Barnes & Noble    |    Kobo    |    Google Play    |    iBooks

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Welcome Kayla Dawn Thomas

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Another bestseller joins

Kayla Dawn Thomas, author of rural romances and romantic comedy, has joined BestSelling Reads’ team of authors dedicated to bringing you the stories you want to read.

Kayla Dawn Thomas grew up on an Idaho cattle ranch, but now calls the wheat fields of the Washington Palouse home with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. Her rural roots inspire her writing, and she enjoys sharing a taste of a life most folks have never experienced.

Her published work includes:

  • Swept Up, the story of two broken hearts that meet on the midnight streets
  • The Collection, a set of stories about a Jenna Ray, a vigilante who finds justice for women who are too tired and hurt to stand up for themselves
  • The Seasons of Love series of romances set on the Double-O Ranch.

She plans to publish the final volume of the Seasons of Love series by the end of 2019, and then turn her attention to a long-awaited new addition to the Jenna Ray series.

“I also look forward to communing with fellow indie authors and getting to know new readers through Best Selling Reads,” she says.

Learn more about Kayla Dawn Thomas on:

And don’t forget to visit BestSelling Reads’ Facebook page to interact with all the members.

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Why that genre?

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Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Monday musings by your favorite bestselling authors

Readers often associate their favorite writers with a genre: romance, mystery, thriller, science-fiction or fantasy, to name just a few.

Why did the author choose that genre? Your favorite bestsellers answer that question this week.

Alan McDermott

Action thrillers

When I pick up a book I want it to keep me gripped from start to finish and be something I can relate to. I couldn’t see myself delivering that with a science-fiction or romance novel. I could try, but I know I would soon get bored with it. If the subject matter doesn’t interest me, I can hardly expect my readers to become engrossed. I think it is important that you write about what you love.

D.G. Torrens

Romance, memoir and poetry

I write about what interests me personally. If I won’t read it then I certainly will not write about it. It is important for me to love what I do. Therefore, I apply it to what genre I write in.

Samreen Ahsan

Historical fantasy and paranormal romance

I write what I enjoy writing most, keep the readers busy. Someday, when I itch to write science fiction, I’d love to write that. Regardless of what genre it is, I want my readers to keep guessing.

Mary Doyle

Mystery, fantasy and erotica

If I were traditionally published, my biggest fear would be a publisher that insisted that I write in only one genre. That would be the end of my writing career. I’ve written mystery, urban fantasy, erotica and memoir and someday soon I’m going to write some dystopian fiction … maybe zombie stuff, maybe some other end of the world thing. I won’t write in one genre and you can’t make me!

Raine Thomas

Young adult and new adult fiction

I write romance across multiple sub-genres (YA, contemporary, sports, Sci-Fi, fantasy). I’ve always been a romantic, so my writing will always reflect that part of me. I also love diversity and exploring new things, so branching into the sub-genres allows me to explore that too. Who knows where the Muse will lead me next?

Toby Neal

Mystery, thriller and romance

I think characters are most important in writing, because no matter what genre you are in, people want to follow a heroine’s journey as they develop. So while I mostly write mystery/thriller because I love puzzles and surprises and a lot of tension, I am always writing that character arc of development. Over and over, whether it’s a thriller, a romance, or my own memoir. Riveting characters in a process of growth is what keeps readers coming back.

Gae-Lynn Woods

Mystery

I’ve always been drawn to stories with multiple layers and characters who grow and change. I love the challenge of figuring out “who done it” in another writer’s work, and seeing if I can keep the reader guessing in my own. I end up creating the characters I want to know more about and writing the stories I’d want to read.

DelSheree Gladden

Young adult, new adult, romance, fantasy and more

I write in multiple genres because I read just about every genre and like to try new things in my writing. When an idea comes to me, I go with whatever genre seems to fit that story and let it develop organically. The character’s journey is more important to me than following genre conventions.

Caleb Pirtle III

Thriller, literary fiction and memoir

I generally write historical thrillers or historical mysteries because I prefer living in the past. There is a certain feeling of the unknown and unexplained in an earlier time, especially when my stories have a World War II backdrop. Evil has a face. And the night holds suspense with every tick of the clock. It’s difficult for me to write suspense when all my hero has to do is pull out a cell phone can dial 9-11 if he’s in trouble. I can research the 1930s and 1940s, and every incident I find hides a mystery just waiting to be found and told.

Next week: more authors on why they chose their genre, including David C. Cassidy, Scott Bury, Seb Kirby and more!

And happy Canada Day to all our Canadian readers!

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Thursday teaser: Torino Dreams

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By DelSheree Gladden

“What are you doing?”

“What do you think I’m doing? I’m calling the police to report this,” he said. His fingers started dialing and Kate panicked. Lunging for his hand nearly pitched her into the snow when she tripped over a piece of the wreckage, but Kate grabbed his hand and stopped him from making the call. He ripped his hands away from her, glaring once again. “What is wrong with you?”

“Please don’t call the cops,” Kate begged him. “I only have two points left on my license. If they give me a ticket I might lose it.” There were other reasons she didn’t want the police involved, but Kate was not about to bring those up.

He smirked. “That’s your problem, not mine.” His finger moved to complete the call.

“I’ll fix your car!” Kate blurted out without thinking.

It was enough to make him pause. The way he scoffed at her offer made Kate want to smack him. “You? You are going to fix my car?”

“Yes. Please, just don’t call the police.”

He laughed outright, and not hitting him got even harder. “Why would I let you fix my car when I could just file a claim and have an actual professional fix my car?”

“I am a professional!” Kate snapped at him. Was he always so irritating?

“A professional what?” he asked, ignoring her attitude completely.

Oh, that was it. Kate’s freezing hands balled into fists. “A professional mechanic,” she said through her teeth.

Maybe he realized that Kate was about to add to his reason to call the police by punching him in the face, because he tamped down his obvious disbelief and mellowed his tone considerably when he spoke. “Why would I risk you taking off without fixing my car rather than just getting it fixed through your insurance?”

“I’ll fix it for free,” Kate said. Her stomach dropped out at the very idea of it, but she had to say it.

He lowered his phone, but he didn’t look like he was planning on giving in. “How are you going to fix my car for free if you can’t afford to pay a ticket? Do you have any idea how much parts cost for a BMW?”

“Of course I do. The 7 series is an expensive line to work on. Your Beamer isn’t the first one I’ve ever fixed up.” Not that Kate got the chance to work on luxury cars very often any more, but she definitely remembered back when she did. That used to be the only kind of cars she worked on.

“And what am I supposed to do for a car while you’re fixing this one? Are you going to get me a rental?”

Kate swallowed every last bit of bitter pride and made him an offer.

“I’ll loan you my car until I get yours fixed. I have a Ford Torino GT fastback at home. You can borrow that.”

His eyes lit up at the offer. Kate suddenly felt like she was going to throw up.

Torino Dreams

Kate hates hiding, but the risk of her past sneaking up on her is too great to risk getting involved in anyone else’s problems. At least, until getting involved is the only way to avoid a run-in with the police.The snow was to blame for the car wreck, but desperation forces Kate to make Sam an offer she’s sure she’ll regret. If she can fix Sam’s car and send him on his way without the getting the cops involved, she can get back to her normal, safe life.

It should be easy enough. Kate knows cars better than almost anything else. She can repair the damage to the car, but can she protect herself from falling for Sam and putting everything she’s worked for in danger?

“Begins with  a romantic swoony vibe, but then the suspense kicks in.”—Anima Giraldez, Amazon reviewer

This is a standalone book, so no waiting for part 2!

DelSheree Gladden

was one of those shy, quiet kids who spent more time reading than talking. Literally. She didn’t speak a single word for the first three months of preschool, but she had already taught herself to read.

Her fascination with reading led to many hours spent in the library and bookstores, and eventually to writing. She wrote her first novel when she was sixteen years old, but spent ten years rewriting and perfecting it before having it published.

Native to New Mexico, DelSheree and her husband spent several years in Colorado for college and work before moving back home to be near family again. Their two children love having their seventeen cousins close by.

When not writing, you can find DelSheree reading, painting, sewing and trying not to get bitten by small children in her work as a dental hygienist.Check out her latest books, get updates and sneak peeks of new projects at

And find her on social media

zerha

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Thursday teaser: Imperfect Harmony

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House of Archer Series book 1

By Raine Thomas

Archer’s smile faded when Trey opened the door and carried in a large vase full of red roses. He knew Lily found red roses incredibly clichéd, so he figured they couldn’t be for her.

“What’s that?” he asked as Trey placed the roses on the dressing room vanity.

“A delivery for Miss Lily.”

“What?”

Archer didn’t pause for a moment to consider Lily’s privacy. He strode over to the elaborate arrangement and yanked the card off the plastic stick. It read, “Here’s to launching your career, Montgomery. I love you and I hope you’ll say yes. XOXO, Wingerson.”

By the time Archer read the rather girly XOXO sign-off, his upper lip was curled in disdain. It was all he could do to jam the card back on the stick rather than tossing it into the trash.

He hadn’t considered the fact that Johnathan might do something romantic for Lily. What was up with using their last names in his message? It had to be some kind of inside joke or pet name. Archer didn’t like how that made him feel…like an outsider on the fringe of Lily’s life.

And what did Johnathan mean about Lily saying yes? Yes to what?

The unanswered question gave his already foul mood another punch to the face. Trey paused before going back out the door. He cleared his throat as if uncertain whether to speak. Archer waved at him to spit it out.

“Mr. Donovan asked when you intend to return to your green room, sir.”

Archer figured Christopher wanted to rehash the performance problems they’d had that evening. Not wanting to deal with it, he gave Trey a shrug. “Let him know I’ll get there once I’ve seen Lily.”

“Yes, sir.”

Trey gave him and the flowers a knowing look before stepping back out of the room. Archer followed his gaze to the roses and felt irrational anger building in his gut. He shook his head at himself and resumed his pacing. Why did the flowers piss him off so much?

You know why, he thought.

He knew it made him selfish, but he wanted Lily’s attention focused on him, damn it. He wasn’t prepared for serious competition for her affection. It hadn’t ever been an issue before. Encountering it now was throwing off his game.

He had to do something to get her attention, and he had to do it now.

The sound of laughter and voices reached him from the other side of the door. His heart started beating faster and he turned towards the door as it swung open. At least ten different greetings ran through his mind as he tried to decide what to say to Lily.

She walked in and her entire face brightened when she spotted him. All of the greetings faded from his thoughts. In their place rose a demanding need he’d never felt before, especially for Lily.

He met her halfway into the room and, as naturally as if they’d done it a hundred times, he pulled her against him and captured her mouth in a passionate kiss.

Imperfect Harmony

A rock band. A reality show. The opportunity of a lifetime.

As the front man for The Void, lead singer Dane Archer has yet to achieve the success he craves. He hopes that will change when he’s approached about filming a reality show called House of Archer. All he and the band have to do is get some juicy footage while on their upcoming tour.

The problem? Archer’s life is a snoozefest. His parents are happily married, he’s never done drugs or gotten arrested, and he doesn’t get into fights with his band mates. He knows the show will fizzle and die before it ever hits the air, taking his dreams of worldwide fame along with it.

Unless…

If Archer can convince his best friend Lily to be on the show, he’s sure they’ll get all the compelling footage they need. Her life is filled with drama. Hell, she’s practically a reality show in her own right.

Archer’s willing to do whatever it takes to get Lily on board, even if it means charming her into being more than just friends. But when he finds himself falling for her, his seemingly simple plan gets complicated. Soon the line between reality and Reality TV begins to blur, leaving him wondering if achieving his dreams is worth all it might cost him.

Book Links

The fourth book in the House of Archer series will be out soon. Sign up for book notifications on Raine’s website or follow her on Amazon to be the first to hear of Beautiful Finale’s availability.

Raine Thomas

is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction.

Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine has signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen.

She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Get to know Raine through:

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