Monday, March 27, 2017

Why Genre-Bender Writing can be a Hit with Fans

Stephen Stromp


My novels are probably a bit of an acquired taste. And I’m totally okay with that! I’m fine being a writer with a niche audience. My readers are probably those looking for something a bit off center, a bit unique. One of my favorite reader reviews described my writing like this: “Somehow this author makes the strange and morbid seem normal.” I won’t argue with that assessment. 
I don’t like to be pinned down by a single genre, even within one story. It’s not that I plan my books to be genre-bending. For me, it’s all about the story first. What’s going on in this world? With these characters? What feeling do I have when I think about the story so I can get the tone right?  So, to serve the story best, I ignore genre lines. In fact, I don’t really think about genre at all until I am forced to attempt to classify a book for publication. But if I had to classify the genres I tap into (and as I writer, I begrudgingly do!), they would include dark fantasy, mystery, horror, young adult, fable, low fantasy, supernatural, magical realism, speculative fiction and suspense.

Cracking Grace by Stephen Stromp
Winner of Kindle Press Publishing Contract

My first book, CRACKING GRACE, is a short novel that explores relationships, loss and spirituality. It’s about a young girl who loses her mother and befriends statues in a cemetery, who, it turns out, are on their own journey of discovery.

In the Graveyard Antemortem by Stephen Stromp
My first full-length novel, IN THE GRAVEYARD ANTEMORTEM, is a mystery/horror novel set in the 1980s. It’s about a teenager who is determined to solve her father’s murder. But to do so, she must unravel the secrets of Grand Hallow, a funeral and mortuary operation the size of a small city. The book was a winner of the reader-powered Kindle Scout program and was subsequently chosen for publication by Kindle Press. It’s sort of my love letter to the 1980 horror movies I grew up with—but in book form. Although I set out to write an unabashed horror/suspense novel, the mystery element kept creeping in until it clearly became the centerpiece of the novel. Again, I was crossing lines without realizing it. My genre bending was called out when a reviewer at wrote, “I’d have thought it a mistake to have the numerous plates of horror, fantasy AND murder-mystery spinning at once, but all of these aspects dovetail so seamlessly that it produces a wonderful book of relentless pacing, intrigue and sheer oh-dear-God-ness!”

What’s Next?

I keep getting asked if there will be a sequel (or even prequel) to “Antemortem.” I honestly don’t have anything planned, but it would be interesting to explore. There is more to that story that I purposefully held back because it wasn’t the focus of that book. Maybe at some point down the road, I’ll revisit the folks at Grand Hallow. Right now, I’m finishing up editing a book I hope to have released sometime in 2017. All I’ll say about it now is that it’s a coming-of-age story set in the 90s with elements of fantasy and psychological horror. I’m proud of it. It feels perhaps more emotional and personal than my previous books.

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1 comment:

  1. Your work is amazing, keep the books coming!!