How do you describe the sort of writing you do? I am asked.

Tough question.

My genre, my niche, has been described (to me) as psychological suspense. I react to that label with a severe case of the icks. That descriptor is limiting, like being bound mentally hand and foot. Worse, it’s deadly. It establishes an expectation that doesn’t necessarily bear any relation to the greater possibilities of the work.

So, how would I describe what I do? Awwww geeeeeez.

The first book was about psychics who have been brought together not to predict natural disasters as they are told, but to change the course of events (an idea that has been co-opted by every psi-based genre film since.) The second was about sleep—the part of you that knows everything you know and everything you fear—that takes on a life of its own. The book I’m about to finish is…well, a love story. But it’s more than that. The next one? I’m not talking about that, yet. But psychological suspense? Ehhhhhhhhhhh….

Writing about subjects outside the pale is the direction I was born to. I never had to look for the niche, it was always there. It’s that seed of contrariness in me; the stubborn insistence on living by the rule of what if?

But what to call it?

There may not be an easy, instant definition for what I do. Or maybe there is, and I’m just too blinded by the light of myself to see it. I can say this: Whatever my subject is (and this newest book is a perfect example), it will always be—must be—one step to the left of what is expected. I may clothe the idea in the garments of convention, but anything less than bigger themes and deeper meaning will not satisfy me. I need to look to the farthest reach of an idea. I need to find the more in it.

I will not write to create a niche. I will write to become one.

Isn’t that what every writer worth her salt tries to do?

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