This week in our blog series “Genres (and why we write them)” we have author, Katrina Monroe, who describes what she writes as humorous fantasy. Mostly. You can find her books on Amazon here, follow her on Twitter, or visit The Deviant Dolls here.
Katrina Monroe: Write What You Love
I tend to think of genre as a Russian matryoshka doll with FICTION at the beginning, opening to endless sub-genres, niches, and caveats. Categorizing a novel is anything but a science and attempting to make it one is an exercise in self-torture. Two novels of similar content and style could easily be considered two entirely different genres.
Just to be contrary, let’s call what I write humorous fantasy.
Well, except ALL DARLING CHILDREN. That’s not really humorous at all unless you consider the systematic murder of orphan boys funny.
See? We’ve already hit a snag.
Humorous fantasy is exactly what it sounds like. Fantasy that makes you laugh. Or hopefully makes you laugh. I’m no stranger to dud jokes. Comedy isn’t huge in the traditional publishing world and there are few authors who succeed (success, of course, being defined as making a living through publishing novels) in those particular genres. The ones who do are usually men.
So, why do I write it?
I have two major reasons. First, to be contrary (isn’t that a great word?) Romance is seen as the women’s genre, while the rest tend to be dominated by men. It’s ridiculous, and I have every intention of stomping on those stereotypes. By writing raunchy, comedic fantasy (with few romantic entanglements), I hope to appeal to an audience that wouldn’t necessarily read my work based solely on my obviously female name. Plus, women like boob jokes, too.
The second reason is a pretty simple one. I write the books I want to read. If there was any rule for the kinds of books an author should focus their efforts on, it’s that one. My favorite authors all write humorous fantasy, or humorous memoir, or humorous literary whatever. Point is, they’re funny. Satiric in most cases. I like thrillers. I like mystery. But I love to laugh and I love fairy tales. Humorous fantasy was a natural fit.
Writing humorous fantasy does present its own special problems, though. There are “rules” for writing fantasy, and some taboos applicable to today’s market. If you’ve ever perused the #MSWL (manuscript wish list) tag on twitter, you’ll see that each “I want fantasy” tweet is often followed by a “non-European” caveat. I get it. There are a million sword and sorcery books out there, but few that incorporate non-western culture. The world needs culture diversity, but I’m not the author to give it. I have a weird obsession with European culture, not just British but eastern European, too. It’s my heritage and I find the history fascinating (and too tempting not to capture in satire).
As a result, I’m not a “big name” author. I have my audience and they’re loyal and I love them, but I’m far from quitting my day job. In spite of that (and maybe because of it), I will continue to write what I love. Otherwise, what would be the point? It helps, though, to find a group of authors in the same boat. Author Renee Miller and I founded the Deviant Dolls, a publications group that encourages writers to write the things they love and put them out into the world, regardless of market trends and Big Six desires. Find yourself nodding along to what I’ve said so far? We’d love to have you.
About the Author
Katrina Monroe is a novelist, mom, and snark-slinger extraordinaire. Her worst habits include: eating pretty much anything with her fingers, yelling at inappropriate times, and being unable to focus on important things like dinner and putting on pants. She collects quotes like most people collect, well, other things. Her favorite is, “If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.” – Dorothy Parker