Goodbye, Historical Fiction. Hello, Contemporary Fiction.
It’s time for me to say goodbye. To historical fiction, that is, and make the switch to contemporary fiction. While we all know never to say never, this makes The Unmarriable Kind my final historical fiction work. From here forward, I will focus on my upcoming contemporary series, The Rock Star’s Wife.
I’m incredibly excited about the switch, but it wasn’t a decision I took lightly. It took several months to decide this was the right move, and I did it for both business and personal reasons. Here’s why:
It Was a Business Decision
Reason 1: The Market
I’m an American writing about Canadian characters. While Angel of Mercy was the novel that got me back into writing after several years, I have come to learn that Americans don’t care about Canadian characters, and Canadians want stories written by Canadians. One of the greatest compliments I ever received regarding my WWI trilogy was from a reader who said it was refreshing to read a Canadian author writing about the past. It warmed my heart to know my research had paid off and she wasn’t able to tell the difference. I did, however, set the record straight. She did not email back when she learned I was American.
My books are very niche, and to say the market is tiny would be an understatement. In fact, it’s so niche, I could not find a Canadian Historical Fiction category on Amazon, and a Listopia on Goodreads called Historical Fiction Set in Canada lists only 243 books. I even have difficulty finding Canadian articles on historical fiction.
Nevertheless, I am proud of my six books. If you read my WWI trilogy and the three prequels, you meet six generations of the same family through the maternal line. Their stories were inside me, waiting to be told, so I have no regrets. If nothing else, they were a stepping stone.
Reason 2: Reader Feedback
Historical fiction isn’t for everyone. I have read many comments in the Bookstagram community (on other authors’/readers’ accounts) from people who said they dislike historical fiction (and history in general). Many said it was their least favorite genre. While Instagram is not a scientific representation, it does host a substantial population of readers, and I’ve read their comments with interest.
The main reason listed for not liking the genre is that it is too heavy. Those potential readers would not like my books because they are, by nature, heavy. (And I have heard this comment about the WWI trilogy). I wanted my stories to be realistic about life in the past. I wrote about World War I, the Underground Railroad, pioneers, and the Victorian world. These eras were heavy. Life was difficult, and death was always present.
Reason 3: Assumptions
People assume historical means romance. My books are not romances. They are some romantic elements. Characters have suitors and spouses, for example, but my books do not meet any of the criteria readers would expect to find in a romance. My stories are about the lives of ordinary women and the obstacles they face.
Reason 4: The Genre
My books may not even qualify aa historical fiction. They don’t fit neatly into the genre.
“A general story about a real person’s life may not be enough….The more famous, the better,” a literary agent writing an article on historical fiction on Writer’s Digest says about characters.
All my characters are ordinary people.
“Western Europe is the safest place to set a story,” the agent says, and “What’s in? WWII is very in at the moment.”
My stories are set in North America (with the exception of Angel of Mercy, although it does start there) and the closest I get to World War II is the year 1919 in Adjustment Year.
What’s more, historical fiction tends to be very narrative heavy whereas I love writing dialogue.
It Was a Personal Choice
Reason 5: Fun
Historical fiction is a struggle to write, and I feel in my gut that I’m better at writing contemporary fiction. It’s less of a struggle to get stories framed the way I want them. They’re also fun to write. Historical fiction isn’t enjoyable to write because of the weighty subject matter and the world building.
Reason 6: Exhaustion
The people in my historical fiction stories live in a world where death and illness are everywhere. Then in 2020, that became our world. I didn’t want to experience that in both reality and fantasy. It became mentally exhausting. Instead, I focused heavily on The Rock Star’s Wife and for a while I was probably spending 60 or more hours a week working on it. I did this for the sake of my mental health, and as a healthy way to make psychologically through the pandemic.
Reason 7: Passion
I never thought I would write contemporary fiction but turns out I was just waiting for a story I could be passionate about. That story is The Rock Star’s Wife. To learn more, visit https://rockstar.melinadruga.com/ . That will be my main website moving forward.
Just So You Know
This post is a companion piece to Melina Druga’s contemporary fiction series, The Rock Star’s Wife, a series about sex, family and rock & roll.
Book1: Sexual Awakening: Teenager Cassandra Economos loves five things: her awesome friends, her big fat dysfunctional Greek family, rock music, her plan to move to Chicago and Kurt Cobain. Soon, she’ll gain another love. Sex. How will Cassandra explore her sexuality when stifled by her family’s rules? Available February 2023.
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