Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Guest: Skylar M. Cates

 Today my guest is Skylar M. Cates! Skylar talks about tropes and repetition authors use. I read a lot of mystery, and the genre follows a formula. But I love a mystery even if I can spot the formula, so I always go back to the genre no matter.


You’re My Obsession
Writers are constantly trying to create something new with every novel. They like to push the envelope. They like to grow and change and defy expectation…Don’t they? That is the question that I’m struggling with today. Do writers repeat? Do readers want that repetition?

I think that the answer is yes.

When I pick up a Pat Conroy novel, for example, I expect to see an abusive military type of father and a struggling son. If it is a theme that Conroy repeats in several books, then it is a theme that resonates with me. I like it. I might even be disappointed in one of his works that didn’t have a Great Santini type of father. Similarly, I expect to have a fun time with a Janet Evanovich story. I don’t want her to suddenly turn morose. When I am in the mood for heavy reading, I still turn to a good classic like Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, but I don’t want that in Finger Licking Fifteen.

Recently, I stumbled upon an argument amongst romance writers who were attempting to clarify how they, “Go beyond mere romance trope.” It struck me that I love trope. Give me friends-to-lovers, hate-to-love, lovers reuniting trope. Whenever I pick up the novels of the romance queens like Jayne Anne Krentz or Nora Roberts, I want trope---repeated, predictable trope--- and they deliver it. It is the dependability of the trope combined with their particular writing style that I actually savor.

But what about the writers desires?  Should they deliberately try and change their patterns? Isn’t it important to spread their wings and take some risks?

I’m too new to even know what my patterns are in my books. I’m sure that over time, readers will let me know. It won’t surprise me to hear, though, that I unconsciously repeat themes or even images. We all have obsessions, right? There are some core ideas that float around in our heads. They come from our childhoods, our lovers, our lives. Even if we change genres, make a concentrated effort to write something new, I suspect that these obsessions will still linger, hovering like ghosts. On the other hand, I do see some value in pushing some limits and trying to slay them.

So I’m throwing the question out there to readers and to writers. For the readers, I am wondering if you like spotting an author’s obsessions? If so, why do you like it? Or does it bore you? Do you like it when your most beloved author goes in a completely different direction or do you resent it?  

For my writer friends here, I’m wondering if you try and escape from your own patterns (whether it is in terms of style, theme, POV, or plot)? Do you embrace it, or is it an albatross around your neck?

Tell me your obsessions and I’ll tell you mine.

Skylar’s novel, Exposed, is available from Dreamspinner Press:
Buy link and contact link:
 http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/y links:

After years of running from a traumatic secret, young journalist Rafe Quintero is making his way in the world alone. Now that he’s landed a job at a Miami newspaper, he’s hungry for success. His goal? A blistering expos√© on closeted PGA golfer Daniel Andrews. Rafe will stop at nothing to get the scoop—even if it means going undercover on Daniel’s private yacht.
Daniel is used to being in the spotlight, but his reputation for being cold and unfriendly hasn’t made him very popular. Still reeling from his mother’s death and his ex-boyfriend’s engagement, he hides out on his yacht to escape the press hounding his every step. His instant attraction to Rafe, his new crew member, is a problem he can't ignore.
When Rafe and Daniel begin a steamy affair, Rafe knows it’s only a matter of time before Daniel discovers his betrayal. Now he has to choose: confess and hope Daniel can swallow his pride and forgive him, or put his ambition ahead of his heart and follow the story.

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