My approach so far is to release whatever book I think is my best book at the time, and that also shows something different about my range.
So "Led to the Slaughter" was my first book, because I thought it was my best book at the time.
Took a turn not long after into a creature book, which had a different tone and approach, "Tuskers." Which again, was my best book at the time.
Then released "Blood of the Succubus" myself, because again, I thought it was my best book, and had a completely different approach and tone.
I've continued the Virginia Reed books after "Led to the Slaughter," and I've continued the "Tuskers" books.
Since then, I've written a bunch of other books, all of which are somewhat quirky. I like them a lot, but now that it is almost time to put something out again--mid-summer I think--it is pretty clear that the best book I've written lately and that also has a different tone, is "Deep Sea Rising."
I'm going to call this book my first "adult" book. It has no supernatural elements. No fantasy, no S.F. It is a straight thriller, adventure. I tried to adhere to reality, to what could really happen.
I suppose it could be called a "creature" book, but the creatures exist, or the creatures could exist. It could be called a "disaster" book, but what thriller isn't?
So what's the problem?
I described it as an "adult" book, written so that people who forbear anything that smacks of the fantastic could read comfortably. A crossover book, if you will. I wrote it because I like it, and only after I was done did I realize I'd done something different.
Thing is...I have never felt very "adult." I've always been sort of sidelined. I've run a business for 36 years, which is pretty adult I suppose, but look at what it is--a comic book, game, bookstore. Not exactly your usual job.
I look around me and see 'adults' and God bless them, but I've always felt the outsider, a little immature, not really socially conditioned.
Fine, I wouldn't have it any other way.
But...when I write about "adults" in my stories, I can get most of the way there, but I always feel like I come up a little short. A certain amount of the "adult" comes from other sources, not personal experience. That is, the world that I perceive most adults living comes as a mystery to me.
So, like I said, "Deep Sea Rising" has some good ideas and characters and I love the story, but I feel like I can't quite get the the "real" which is the feeling I want to get out.
So when I'm writing "Tuskers," and I'm purposely writing it in the 70's disaster movie mode, it's okay to use archetypes (better word than stereotype.)
For the Virginia Reed books, there is enough distance that I can approximate the "real", especially when the real is part of the story. I think it might actually be difficult to not tap into the tragedy of the Donner Party.
So..."Deep Sea Rising" is the best book to put out next, but I don't quite feel adult enough to pull it off. Maybe this is just the imposter syndrome. Maybe nobody feels adult.
But it does seem to me that there are two options in writing: Either write what you know, or write so far out of what you know that it doesn't matter.
The danger is when you try to write something that you "should" know, but are only guessing at...
I do feel that with a little "adult" supervision, "Deep Sea Rising" could get all the way there. But where do I get that?
A short distance to making this a really good book, a vast distance to get the help to get it there. Such a vast distance that I don't believe it worth going for.
So I'll do my best pretending to be an adult and just put it out.
6 days ago