The joys and travails of writing in multiple genres – Falguni Kothari

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By Falguni Kothari

I became a writer quite by accident. Before it could even sink in that I had written a full (and pretty readable) manuscript that I was holding in my hands, much less acquire enough industry knowledge to inform my decisions about the career trajectory of a writer, I was a published author.

My first two books are romances and are traditionally published in India. My third book, the first in a fantasy series, is also traditionally published in India, though it is self-published everywhere else. And my new release, My Last Love Story, is a romantic women’s fiction novel which was very briefly self-published but was then picked up by Graydon House (Harlequin) to published across the world. To say my publishing journey has been a tad topsy-turvy is putting it mildly.

Now, you may wonder why I’d genre hop with almost every book, when, as a rule, the industry advocates and encourages authors to stick to one genre where they can build their audience and careers. And only then — perhaps, if they’re brilliant — tolerate them branching out into other genres. The simple truth is that it never occurred to me that I was genre hopping. All my stories are about love, so all of them must be love stories or romances, right? Wrong.

Yup, I didn’t know any better. I hadn’t learned enough about the industry and the marketing and publicity aspects of it, and I had no clue, no business plan. Even when I learned about categories and genres, I was under the impression that because I was an eclectic reader, as a writer I could be the same. I read anything that appeals to me. I love a thriller as much as a romance as much as a contemporary novel or historical fiction. I equally enjoy an epic family saga or an epic fantasy tale, and sometimes — rarely — a memoir. I also love historical and cultural non-fiction.

When I began writing, I believed I could write what I wanted, when I wanted. I still do. I write the story first and worry about — or let someone else worry about — the genre later. It’s how my stories come to me. I get an idea and I have to write them down. I imagine a character in her setting and I have to write her down. And while the end results have caused some confusion with would-be agents who weren’t sure how to sell books that didn’t fit neatly into a strict genre, each book has, in the end, managed to find its right path into the world — some with an agent, some without.

Perhaps my writing adventure is still a fairly new and my brain wants to try everything before it can settle down in one genre. Or perhaps I’ve been right all along about writing love stories, but because of their themes or their settings or their character’s arc, they are categorized differently.

With My Last Love Story, I’ve changed direction again into women’s fiction. But no matter the genre, my stories will always have a romantic thread running through them.

Falguni Kothari is the author of unconventional love stories and kick-ass fantasy tales. Her four novels, most recently My Last Love Story, are all flavored by her South Asian heritage and expat experiences. An award-winning Indian Classical, Latin and Ballroom dancer, she currently spikes her endorphin levels with Zumba. She resides in New York with her family and pooch.


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