The film, Jumper (2008), is a movie obsession of mine and I’ve watched it countless times. The main character, played by Hayden Christensen, discovers he has the power to jump to any place in the world, simply by thinking about it. There’s a villain (Samuel L Jackson), more than one chase scene, and a romantic interest (Rachel Bilson), but the idea of being able to transport yourself to anywhere on the planet you desire merely by thinking about it is what’s fantastically appealing to me.
I’ve discovered that I have a jumping super power of my own (well, okay, it’s more of a fledgling ability than a super power, but whatever)—I’m a Genre Jumper, i.e., jumping from one genre to another in my writing.
My first novel, You’ll Be Thinking of Me was romantic suspense. My second novel, Le Reméde, for which the proverbial ink is still wet on the contract, is a paranormal romance. My current WIP is straight-up women’s fiction, a family drama and I’m jonesing for a psychological thriller next.
I’m told that this genre jumping I’m gleefully taking part in is a bad thing and that there will be dire consequences for my writing career—not quite as dire as Mr. Christensen’s geography jumping was in the movie, but he had some great benefits that made up for the downside. Did he want to check out the Coliseum in Rome? Give it but a thought and he was there.
How about a picnic lunch atop the Sphinx of Giza in Egypt? No sooner said than done. Jumper’s character didn’t plan where he wanted to go on any given day; he would simply open his eyes in the morning and think to himself, “I want to see Big Ben” and before you could say “Bob’s your uncle,” he would be in rainy London.
I think that’s how I feel about my writing—a new day (more like a new year or two), a new genre. But I have yet to hear about any upside to my genre jumping. In fact, I’m told it’s downright bad, because I’m not creating my “brand,” that readers should know what to expect when they see your name on the cover of a book and that they feel cheated if it’s different from what you’ve written before.
I get that. I do. But I also know writers whose writing style has grown and become so much more sophisticated with time that their early novels are almost unidentifiable as being written by the same author. I would say that’s akin to genre jumping.
While my TBR list is big, my TBW (to be written) list is also big and getting bigger. I want to try different stories, different genres and see what gives me the most satisfaction, challenges me and provides the most success—however I decide to define it. It’s not like I set out to be a genre jumper. I just find story ideas that appeal to me and I get sucked in.
I know plenty of authors who start out with a single genre and stick with it—paranormal, psychological thriller, horror, historical romance, erotica, women’s fiction—and are quite successful. Of course, sticking with one genre is no guarantee of success, but it’s evidently a good place start. But then you have your J.K. Rowlings, who can write pretty much whatever they damn well please and sell a couple of warehouses of books.
The tag line for Jumper was “Anywhere is possible.” I’d like to think that any genre is possible as well—think of a genre that appeals to me and jump in. Now, if only I could simply think about it and the words would appear upon the page. That would be a superpower.
Actually, that’s not a bad idea for a story. What genre would that be?
Densie Webb (not Denise) has spent a long career as a freelance nonfiction writer and editor. Her debut novel “You’ll Be Thinking of Me” was released by Soul Mate Publishing in January 2015. She recently signed a contract for her second novel, Le Reméde, a paranormal romance. She is an avid walker (not of the dead variety), drinks too much coffee and has a small “devil dog” that keeps her on her toes. She is currently working on a third novel, a work of women’s fiction, tentatively titled The Opposite of Amnesia.
YOU’LL BE THINKING OF ME, DENSIE WEBB
A chance encounter with a celebrity, an impromptu video, and a shiny new espresso machine. It all added up to a juicy tale for 24-year-old Rachael Allen to share with friends. But when her best friend posts the video online, bizarre threats, home break-ins, and deadly gifts from an obsessed fan follow close behind.
Mick Sullivan, the star in her video, offers to help and in the process, Rachael discovers that despite his reputation as a player of Olympian caliber, he’s down-to-earth—and emotionally damaged. He has secrets; some he’s shared only with his pseudo best friend. Others he’s shared with no one.
But there’s one secret he’s hidden from himself, washed away by too many beers. Despite wildly divergent life paths, their shared southern upbringing (and a passion for good music) creates a common thread that draws them together. As the threats escalate, and their relationship deepens, Rachael struggles to accept Mick’s past—and his present. And she is forced to confront her own obsessive love to ultimately decide if being with Mick Sullivan is worth the collateral damage.
YOU’LL BE THINKING OF ME is the story of Rachael’s serendipitous encounter with a celebrity, her brush with obsessive love, and the bittersweet gift left behind by the very person fixated on destroying her life.
BUY THE BOOK HERE