Guest Post by AR DeClerck
AR DeClerck is a multi-genre author with stories including sci-fi romance, fantasy romance, cozy mysteries, horror and serial fiction. You can find all AR DeClerck books and stories at linktr.ee/ardeclerck.
I started writing with the intention to publish in 2010. Back then, I was a young mother of 2 kids who was working full time. It didn’t seem like the smartest move to take on publishing novels on top of all that, but I had a dream and I wanted to make it happen.
My first book was a very raw sci-fi story called Ghosts of Phaedra that never made it to the publishing phase. I thought about what I wanted to write next, and like most authors I was writing the kinds of stories that were my favorite to read. I loved romance, and especially adventure romance, so that’s what I was focused on. I eventually did finish a novel about angels that I’d classify as paranormal romance, and it was published by a small press that is no longer in business.
Over the next six or eight years I wrote furiously, putting all the stories in the styles I loved to read on paper and publishing them. When the publishing house closed in 2018 I started self publishing and I never looked back. Of course, I knew that writing all different kinds of romance stories wasn’t recommended for a new author, because it’s much harder to find a readership when the type of story you write is always different. But, I’ve never been the kind of writer who could force myself to write one thing or another. I always wrote the stories that were on my mind and in my heart at the time.
I decided that to market my work, I’d put them all under the umbrella term of “adventure romance”, meaning that readers would know that no matter what sub-genre of romance the story might be, it would always be a story about people who come together through adventure to find love. For several years, I was content writing under the umbrella.
Fast forward to 2019. I took the opportunity to go back to school and I started and finished a bachelor’s degree in 8 months. Yes! It was crazy. During that whole time, I put writing on hold. When I completed my degree and came back to writing, I knew that writing romance wasn’t all I wanted to do anymore. I had learned how much I enjoyed reading and writing psychological horror. I wanted to try my hand at it!
I published a story called The House on Herabe Hill to test the waters, and later I also published a story called The Lights Are On Now. I didn’t want to give up on writing romance all together, but I loved being able to explore these new avenues of writing and style that the horror genre opened up for me. During this period I also realized that I wasn’t able to write as fast as I used to, and I joined the Kindle Vella application via Amazon to write my work in serial format. I was able to write multiple stories at once, and publish to the audience faster than if I was trying to churn out five novels at once.
I found that through this journey, I am, indeed, a multi-genre author. My mind just isn’t content on playing in one sandbox anymore. I’ve had folks ask me why I don’t start a pen name for each genre, but to be honest, that’s far too complicated. I prefer to simplify my life as much as possible. AR DeClerck writes anything and everything that strikes her fancy. It’s possible that readers won’t always find their favorite things in the next story that comes out, but I haven’t abandoned them! I’ll be back with a romance for the romance lovers or a horror for the horror lovers. It’s so much more satisfying to me and to my readers when I’m in love with the work I’m doing. The results are always much more well received when the stories are filled with the passions of the author.
In the end, the moral of the story is that writing in multiple genres is not the answer for every author. It is not the easy road when it comes to marketing and promotion and building a reader base. But I’d rather be a happy, obscure multi-genre author with a few loyal readers than a miserable and discontent romance writer with a loyal following who wants stories I don’t feel like writing anymore because I wished I was doing something else.