When people ask me what I write, I often joke that I’m incapable of writing the same genre twice. After all, my novels thus far include contemporary Gothic horror, fairy tale/ fantasy, and historical fiction. If you look back into my screenwriting days, you can add sci-fi time travel and contemporary drama to the list.
So, am I just a dilettante who can’t make up her mind? Or is there something else going on that binds my work together–something deeper than mere genre?
One of my professors once told me that my “thing” was characters who excel at something, who are above average–even geniuses–in some way. He wasn’t wrong. My characters do tend to stand out from the crowd in thoughts as well as actions. But as I’ve continued to write and grow, I’ve found another through-line, something perhaps a little more unique: I love to juxtapose things and ideas that most people would say don’t belong together. Jennifer the Damned is about a vampire who lives in a convent; Cinder Allia is a fairy tale where Prince Charming dies on page one; and To Crown with Liberty follows the same character through both the French Revolution and a journey into the Louisiana swamps.
These things don’t go to together…which is why they work.
Ultimately, I think this insistence on putting together very disparate things comes out of my identity as a Catholic. The word “catholic” means universal. All people, all things belong to God, and by juxtaposing elements that seem like they should not be put together, I can widen my own view of the universal world, and hopefully do the same for my readers. Because ultimately, nothing is separate. There is nothing that doesn’t belong to the Catholic imagination because there is nothing that does not belong to God.