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I'm an OSHA-certified safety and health inspector at a metal fabrication shop in upstate New York. I have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a double minor in chemistry and biology from Binghamton University. My writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. My first full length paranormal suspense, Lash, will be published in April 2012 from Bradley Publishing. My first vampire romance novel, Promise Me, will be published in June 2012, with the sequel, Broken Promise, to follow in Fall 2012 from Melange Books. I also coauthored (with Eric Dietrich) the essay "The Allure of the Serial Killer," published in Serial Killers - Philosophy for Everyone: Being and Killing (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). I divide my free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, target practice, and contemplating—though not committing—murder for hire.
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We challenged Author of Horror/Suspense, as well as Romance and Erotica Tara Fox Hall to answer this question.
The pleasures and pitfalls of simultaneously authoring both romance and horror under the same name?
Tara was up for the challenge and gave us an interesting insight on the pro's and con's of being just such an author. And how she solved the conundrum of keeping all of her work separate without using a pseudonym. It's quite interesting. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Thank you Tara excepting our challenge and writing such an insightful acticle. Welcome!
WHEN HORROR AND ROMANCE DON’T COME TOGETHER
It’s said that if you author more than one genre, that you should use different pen names. In my wisdom—and perhaps ill-thought out bravado—I elected to keep one name for all genres, my own: Tara Fox Hall. I was already being pushed to my limits to remember everything in this new career; I knew I would not be able to keep another name straight, much less multiple names. To give myself a banner to include all my work, I came up with the slogan "tarafoxhall.com – Where Romance and Horror Come Together." So far, it’s working out. I have a page on my website devoted to just horror and suspense stories, and another devoted to romance works. I have fans that just like the scary tales, and others that just want the romance, with the majority in between. But….how long will it work?
I admit my chief fear is that my fans will be upset, should they encounter books that are not genres they like, and buy them, thinking my name signifies a particular genre. I certainly don’t want that to happen.
I know the limitations of blurbs and other labels on books, having been in that same position myself with other authors, like John Sandford. I loved all his Prey novels, but couldn’t get into his Kidd novels. I fully expect that to happen with my own works, that all readers won’t like everything I write, just because they liked some of my works. My action adventure is graphic at times, with very little romance. My romances have elements of suspense, but they are primarily centered on the relationships between characters. My horror focuses on scares and suspense. And now, mix in also the nonfiction nature stories, which have nothing in common with any of the above, and also the children’s stories, soon to publish online at a free read site. How will this all fit together?
Perhaps I’m being too pessimistic, though, as well as not giving my fans enough credit. While it’s true a blurb for a action/adventure work might be construed as a horror work, it likely wouldn’t be thought a romance. There is so much information online on any given published work that the genre of that work is easily determined with a few clicks. In addition, one of the best selling works I was featured in to date was Spellbound 2011, a mix of scary tales and romantic stories.
Authoring multiple genres under one name is also very rewarding. It’s easier to promote your name and get noticed when you write in multiple genres. Many review or blog sites want only novels, or short stories, or flash fiction, or romance, or erotica, or horror. As I write in all of these genres and lengths, I can usually find something that a given site is willing to either review or let me blog about to promote my work. While different genres are also promoted different ways, most all of them can be and are regularly blogged about.
Also, writing in multiple genres releases my writing from all boundaries. I never have to worry if my story goes someplace I hadn’t planned on going. For example, Return To Me, a paranormal romance, was supposed to be a scary story, if not chilling horror. Instead, I ended up with a ghostly paranormal romance. If I didn’t also write romance stories, I would have needed to alter the story to make it turn back into horror. The resulting story would not have been as good as Return To Me turned out to be. This starting out with an idea in mind and then having the story morph into something else happens about half the time I sit down at my computer to create a new story. It is not always about genre, either; I have had a story I thought would be a few pages turn into a hundred. It’s a big relief to me that I can let the story go where it wants to, and focus instead on making it as good as story as possible.
On the horizon, a new project of horror and romance is also emerging. I am partnering with Jenny Twist, an esteemed colleague, to create a jointly written anthology of scary, suspenseful tales, and short romances. We are both excited about the project, and working hard to get it ready for an October release. Our biggest snag with the work so far is not the cover, for which we already have some great ideas. It’s not the content, as we plan to put some of our best received work in along with a few new stories. No, it’s the title. Jenny and I have sat on opposite sides of the Atlantic, racking our brains for a great title than brings to mind both horror and romance. I have come up with dozens of suggestions and none of them are any good. Jenny has come up with a very nice title----Just a Bedtime Tale---but we may not be able to use it, as there is worry that this might lead readers to mistake the anthology for a single story, something I have encountered with my own anthology, Just Shadows. We have also thrown around the title Bedtime Tales. So I close with this question: Bedtime Tales, Just a Tale at Bedtime, or what? Help us, dear readers, to make horror and romance come together.
Now that's where you, the readers come in. You heard Tara she needs help with the title for her new project, "Help us, dear readers, to make horror and romance come together". Yes she's talking to YOU. Give us your ideas/suggestions on how to help Tara and Jenny's
What a great article Tara. Wow, I really enjoyed reading your insight on The pleasures and pitfalls of simultaneously authoring both romance and horror under the same name?
Tara, thank you so much for being here. I hope you enjoyed yourself as much as I did.
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