Saturday, March 27, 2010

Guest Post - Anita Clenney

Hi All - I'm lucky enough to come into contact with lots of talented, interesting writers and I'm nosy enough to like to pick their brains. That said, let me turn it over to a new friend of mine, Anita Clenney.

My name is Anita Clenney and I want to thank Sheila for letting me guest blog. I’m a writer, I live in Virginia with my husband and two kids, and up until a little over four years ago, I had never thought about writing. It wasn’t even on my radar. I loved reading. I always have. I grew up on Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and then I discovered Romance and grown up Mysteries. When I finally realized I’d missed the fork in the road that led to my destiny, I backtracked and started sprinting to catch up. I crammed eight years of writing into nearly four, and thanks to my wonderful agent, Christine Witthohn of Book Cents Literary Agency, my dream has become a reality. I have a three book deal with Sourcebooks, Inc. The first, Awaken the Warrior, will be out in Spring 2011. If you’d like more info on my Modern Day Highland Warrior Series, you can go to

Awaken the Warrior is a Paranormal Romance…wait a minute. Paranormal Romance? It does have romance, lots of it, but it’s about secret warriors battling demons disguised among us and the demons would like to kill us all. There’s a lot more than romance. What about all that suspense and mystery? Where’s that mentioned in the label? Will the reader just think I write ghost love stories or have a haunted Highlander?

Genres confuse me. Sub-genres make me crazy. Cozy Mysteries, Thrillers, Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense, Horror, Urban Fantasy…I could go on all day. How do you know what you’re writing, or reading for that matter?
Many people interchange these labels and obviously these genres and sub-genres overlap, especially Paranormal and Romance. When you’re dealing with a subject this vast, I don’t think it’s an exact science. Your Paranormal could be demons or time travelers or vampires or a harmless ghost. Or a time-traveling vampire ghost.
Horror and Paranormal can also be confusing. Horror can include paranormal elements, and Paranormal can include lots of fear, even elements of horror, but I think real Horror relies more upon raw, gut-wrenching terror, sometimes with a good dose of gore thrown in. I don’t like gore. That’s just my taste. In my first story, I have a demon rip off half of someone’s face, but he’s a bad buy and it isn’t terrifying. Creepy yes, but not crap-your-pants terrifying. Maybe that’s the difference. At least to me. Paranormal can have some pretty creepy characters, but there is a sense of hope. Evil will be conquered. The day will be saved. Horror makes me feel like I’m hanging on the last rung of the ladder into Hell by a broken fingernail. Some people eat that stuff up. What is it about humans that want to be scared?
The experts have various theories. For instance, that we aren’t really afraid so much as excited, and being excited is fun. BS. I had to dig my sister-in-law’s fingernails out of my arm when we saw the Grudge. She’s a good example. She loves scary movies, then she has to drive home with the interior lights on in her car. What’s fun about that? And my son begs to watch a spooky movie, but then calls me into his room several times a night because he heard something outside his window? I don’t think he’s having fun.

The other theory about our attraction to fear is that the sense of relief we feel at the end makes it worth the terror. Could be. If you’re dealing with horrific issues in real life, maybe watching someone being tortured takes your mind off your troubles.

When it comes right down to it, I think we all want to be enthralled, taken out of our lives for a few hours. Whether it’s through love, emotion, fear, or even terror. We want to FEEL. It means that we’re alive.


SG Redling said...

I love it, Anita! Thanks so much for posting here. I'm glad I'm not the only one who says things like "crap in your pants" Can't wait to see your book on the shelves!

Gin said...

I'm excited about your book series, Anita! No matter what sub-genre it fits under.

I remember querying Murder Creek to agents and editors and hitting the part where you need to say what genre it is. Originally, I typed out: "Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Romance".

On the third round of my 5 agent/day queries, I finally just picked Paranormal and ran with it thanks to a friend who is great at query letters and shaped mine up.

Over the next few weeks I had eight requests and three real interests, one of which landed me my current agent.

As far as the horror genre...I'd agree with the excitement statement. Think of Haunted Houses, and how we scream and then laugh, indeed, grateful to be alive. Horror even gives us the added bonus of living the next day or next few days a little more cautiously, hence (<my crutch word)the nightmares and overactive imaginations that have us leaving lights on.

I guess it can kind of serve as a reminder that sometimes things can go horribly wrong so watching our six o', isn't a bad idea.

::Grins:: Of course, for me, I'm more horrified by the sick and twisted mentality of the villains. Mind-messing antags creep me out more than gore any day!



Anita Clenney said...

Thanks, Gin and Sheila. Some people see black and white, but to me everything is gray. So Paranormal or Romance, Mystery or Fantasy, they all have to capture the reader. But I really want to call what my writing Paranormal Romantic Suspense.

Hey, I just googled it and Amazon shows it as a genre. Maybe I'll change what I call mine.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Anita you crack me up. Call it whatever you want, it's still a fabulous series!!!