Jul 3, 2017

Michele Drier on Stepping Into a New Genre

When an author is in the groove of writing stories in a certain way, and in certain genres, it’s easier to follow the plotting and character pattern.

Cozies? The protagonist is a quirky person, usually a woman, who makes a living at some interesting, safe career, usually has a pet and a circle of friends and figures out the murderer before any of the cops can.

Police procedural? The protagonist works in law enforcement. He or she is usually the odd person out, a rebel who bucks the system, doesn’t always follow procedures, gets called on the carpet by the plodding supervisors, and figures out the murderer before any of the other cops can.

A PI? The investigator may have had some law enforcement background but works outside the normal channels. He or she takes on a case when the cops can’t or won’t work on it and figures out the murderer when the cops have given up.

What happens, though, when an author wants to break out and tackle another genre? This road map for storytelling isn’t the smooth freeway she’s used to, it’s an unknown, winding road with detours, rivers to cross, rickety bridges. And it may not have a flashing “The End” sign.

I write in two genres. Traditional mysteries where the protagonist is a newspaper editor and she and her cops’ reporter dig deeper into the “why” of local murders. The local police (or sheriff) arrest the right bad guy, but the protagonist is interested in what motivated him to murder.

I also write paranormal romance, a series called The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, about a 500-year-old group of Hungarian vampires who’ve cornered the market on international celebrity gossip and are now among the world’s richest. What happens when two 21st century SoCal women get involved with the sexy family leaders?

For a few years now, I’ve had a different story in my head. What if someone invented a memory chip that changed personalities and memories? How would you cope if suddenly your behavior changed? I wrestled with a way, a genre, that I could use to tell this story and ended up with a psychological thriller, a story where the reader knows the violence from the first chapter—but the protagonists stumble into this violence when they look for ways to help their failing memories.

One of the keys to a thriller is knowing from the beginning who or what is causing the tension and violence and this was different for me. My normal books are a search for motive and sometimes I can get to the penultimate chapter before I know who did it, so for Ashes of Memories I had to figure out how to keep the knowledge secreted away from the protagonists.

Writing this took many more months than the others. I usually write two or three books a year. Ashes of Memories took almost a year. Creating the tension and violence when I knew the cause, but the characters didn’t was kind of like yelling “Don’t go into the basement” in a teen babysitter horror flick.

I’m pleased with the result though, as were my beta readers and fans. The book is getting five star reviews on Amazon.

For this summer, I’m going back to my sexy friends, the Kandesky vampires. I’ve started book ten (don’t have a title yet) but it feels like coming home. And next year? There’s a quirky character who’s been clamoring to get out of my head for a while now. A cozy series beckons.


Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home.  During her career in journalism—as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers—she won awards for producing investigative series.
Her Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries are Edited for Death, (called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review), Labeled for Death and Delta  for Death.
Her paranormal romance series, SNAP: The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, has received “must read” reviews from the Paranormal Romance Guild and was the best paranormal vampire series of 2014. The series is SNAP: The World Unfolds, SNAP: New Talent, Plague: A Love Story, Danube: A Tale of Murder , SNAP: Love for Blood, SNAP: Happily Ever After?, SNAP: White Nights,  SNAP: All That Jazz, SNAP: I, Vampire .
Visit her webpage, www.MicheleDrier.com facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMicheleDrier or her Amazon author page, http://www.amazon.com/Michele-Drier/e/B005D2YC8G/

Getting what you wish for can bring unintended circumstances. Jennifer in New York and Matt in San Francisco worry that they're losing their memories. Jennifer from an earlier trauma and Matt while watching his father succumb to Alzheimer's. After finding a new medical technology designed to help people with cognitive disorders, they independently track down a grey-market supply, but when they meet they find unknown terrors.


Ashes of Memories is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

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