Writing in Two Genres
by Janette Paul/Jaye Ford
This year I was thrilled to have books published in two genres, entering the romance world in February with a romantic comedy called Just Breathe while in September, my third psychological thriller, Blood Secret, will be released.
As genres, they’re at opposite ends of the spectrum – Just Breathe is light and funny and my thrillers are dark and scary. I have different names for each version of my author self: Jaye Ford for my thrillers and Janette Paul for my romantic comedy. I’ve loved having the opportunity to explore different parts of my personality but to be honest, it can be a bit like having two heads.
I didn’t set out to split myself in two. When I first started taking my writing seriously – by which I mean actually finishing one of the stories I was playing with – my focus was on romance. I’m a little daft and accident prone so I was writing something to match – fun and a bit quirky.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t what publishers were looking for then and after taking five years to write two full manuscripts and not receiving a hint of interest, I decided to try a new tack. I’d always wanted to write a thriller but didn’t think I had the kind of mind it took to pull all the intrigue and scary bits together into something cohesive. But writing romance had taught me a lot about plot and character and what drives them both.
Aside from being daft, I’m also suspicious, a little nervy and love a good heart-pounding drama, so like my earlier manuscripts, I went with what appealed to me in a crime story: creepy situations, women in peril and do-or-die moments.
I had as much fun writing for the dark side as I’d had with the quirky stuff and partway through my first manuscript, I was telling myself that the perfect life would be to spend a year penning a thriller then the next writing a comedy to counteract all the scary stuff.
It didn’t quite happen that way, though. My first thriller, Beyond Fear, was picked up by Random House in a two-book contract that specified a second thriller. Scared Yet? followed last year, after which I was signed to write two more crime stories. As I was starting Blood Secret and settling into another year of dark and ugly thoughts, Random House began planning it’s new digital-first Random Romance line and my publisher asked if I wanted to submit one of my earlier manuscripts. I was nervous. They were completely different – not a bad guy in sight. But she loved Just Breathe.
The job got a little more complicated then. I was still writing Blood Secret when I began editing Just Breathe. It was three years since I’d written it and it took some time to figure out how to slip between creepy and witty on a daily basis. I’d find myself saying, ‘No, Jaye, a gun in the face just isn’t amusing.’ Or, ‘Oh yeah, I’m meant to be funny today.’ My husband started asking who I was when he came home at night. Jaye got a glass of wine; Janette got a kiss first.
Then came the publicity. When Just Breathe was released for the launch of Random Romance in February while I was still doing talks at libraries as Jaye Ford. I got an email to Jaye asking if she’d mind passing an invitation to Janette Paul to talk about her new book! I offered to bring two hats – I figured it looked a lot better than two heads.
Janette Paul is the pen name of Australian psychological suspense author Jaye Ford. Jaye’s first novel, Beyond Fear, was the highest-selling debut crime novel in Australia of 2011 and won Sisters in Crime 2012 Davitt Awards for Debut Novel and Readers Choice. Her second thriller, Scared Yet?, was released in Australia last year. Between them, the novels are being translated into nine languages. Just Breathe is Janette Paul’s first romantic comedy, released in February 2013 for the launch of Random House’s digital-first Random Romance. Jay’s next book, a thriller titled Blood Secret, is released in Australia in Septembr 2013. Jaye is a former journalist, who worked in print, radio and television for twelve years. She was Australia’s first female presenter of a national sport show, hosting Sport Report on SBS in 1988-89. Later, she fronted evening news on regional television and ran her own public relations business. She lives in Lake Macquarie in the NSW Hunter Valley and writes full-time.