By Lisabet Sarai
1. What's your favorite ice cream flavor?
d. Butter pecan
e. All of the above.
2. Who's the sexiest guy on the silver screen?
a. Clive Owen
b. Jake Gyllenhaal
c. Hugh Jackman
d. Robert Downey Jr.
e. All of the above
3. What's your favorite genre?
j. All of the above...
I don't generally have trouble making decisions. I don't agonize about things like which car to buy, or which job to accept, or where to take my vacation. I gather the necessary information, weigh the advantages and disadvantages and choose the alternative that seems to offer the best balance between the pros and the cons. I'm convinced that there are no wrong decisions in any case. Each choice will send the path of my life off into a different direction, but I have a strange confidence that any direction will have its satisfactions and rewards.
When someone asks me to choose a favorite in some dimension, though, I find myself stymied. I have two possible answers: "it depends" (on how I'm feeling on a particular day) or "all of the above". Unfortunately those kinds of questions pop up all the time in author interviews. What's your favorite food? Your favorite author? Your most romantic memory? Your favorite genre?
Well, I'm rebelling. I refuse to choose. Or rather, I choose variety. If I had to commit to a single genre (or two), I'd lose the creative spark. Writing would stop being fun.
I'm probably hobbling my writing career by not specializing. I recently penned a blog post about building a brand as author. A brand is based on distinctiveness, quality and consistency. I think I've got the first two components under control, but consistency? No way.
I mean, I like to think that my writing is consistent in its craftsmanship. But I've written pieces in practically every genre, with every combination of genders and orientations. I like to mix things up. My first novel includes M/F, M/M/, F/F, and M/M/F/F scenes, as well as a scene that I can't express using short-hand that involved three guys and one woman. In one book.
I've written contemporary, historical, paranormal, noir, even comedy. I haven't written any chick lit—yet—but I've got several chapters of a 1950's satire. I've written about vampires, monks, millionaires and bums. One of my favorite ideas (which I haven't pursued because I suspect I won't be able to sell it to anyone) involves a romance between a woman and a hermaphrodite.
If my main goal were to sell lots of books, I'd have to settle down and choose one content configuration that would define "Lisabet Sarai" for my readers. Most likely I'd choose BDSM, a genre which pushes my personal buttons. But would I write M/M BDSM? M/F? BDSM ménage? Each sub-genre has its own dedicated readers. Choose one and I lose the rest.
I can't seem to even get my mind around writing a series. Once I've written one book about a set of characters, I'm eager to move on to something different. I want to stretch my abilities, exercise them by staking out new writing territory. Right now, for instance, I'm roughing out the plot and characters for my first sci fi romance. I'm also turning over some ideas for an erotic mystery.
So I guess "Lisabet Sarai" is unlikely to become a household world. You can't package me into a soundbite. My tagline is "Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac". It identifies the main constant in my work, my fascination with sexual desire. Beyond that, anything goes.
What's my favorite genre? All of the above.