Guest blog by Kathryn Johnson (aka Mary Hart Perry)
Perhaps it’s because I love to cook—buttery popovers, succulent roast chicken, sweet and moistly rich red-velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing (really, whatever suits my mood)—that I often think of novel writing in the same way. I start with a hunger for a particular mix of story elements, grab my ingredients, and get to work. The desire to experiment and create is something we all share—whether that means baking, writing, or tinkering with car engines. If, like me, your reading tastes are eclectic—and you also enjoy writing fiction—you, too, might consider mixing genres not only in your to-be-read pile but also in your to-be-written file.
Here’s where it starts for many of us. . . One lazy Saturday you’re in the mood for an edge-of-the-chair thriller. Another evening you long to mellow out with a moving love story. Still another day your brain cells call out for challenging mystery or a mind-blowing adventure set in an exotic locale. There certainly are a great many exciting thrillers, romances, and adventure stories being written by talented authors today. But I guess I’m a little greedy. I want it all. All in one book, that is.
And that—pure selfishness—is the raison d’être for the series I’ve been working on for the past few years. If I were to apply a label to these novels—three published, so far—I’d call them romantic Victorian thrillers. The ingredients are drawn from my favorite genres: mystery, romance, and historical fiction. And the recipe is this: Each novel, so far, is based on real events surrounding Queen Victoria’s family and features one of the little queen’s three daughters as the protagonist. Based in fact and the Victorian era, I’m able to satisfy my love of history. But then the creative writer takes over—after all, I’m not penning a biography or history text—and I develop an interesting mystery with quickly paced thriller element to challenge my royal protagonist. Only then, when the first two elements are locked down, do I allow myself to give my hero and heroine a romance. Because, after all, what is life without a little love?
I’ve had such fun with these stories. If you get a chance to read any of my Mary Hart Perry novels, I hope you’ll let me know what you think of the mix. What genres or elements of fiction would you include in your own creative story blend?
Meanwhile, here’s just a tiny bit about each of the Mary Hart Perry novels. . .The Wild Princess: Princess Louise, considered the wild-child of the royal family because she wishes to become—Gasp!—an artist, struggles to protect the queen from an assassination attempt by Irish separatists who are bombing London. When a mysterious American borrowed by the Queen’s Secret Service steps in to chase down the culprits, he sets his heart on capturing more than the dynamiteers.
Seducing the Princess: Beatrice, youngest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, is expected to shun all men and devote herself entirely to her widowed mother, “unto the grave”. But when the Bea finally falls in love, the Queen is horrified to find her daughter has not one but two suitors. Will they sort out which one truly loves her, and which one is a spy secretly planted at the palace by the ruthless heir to Germany’s throne?
The Shadow Princess: The year 1888 brings tragedy to Crown Princess Vicky, Queen Victoria’s eldest child. Empress of Germany for just 3 months before her husband died, Vicky is now without a “job”, since her adopted country’s throne has gone to Willy, her mad son. When news of Jack-the-Ripper’s shocking murders in London reaches her—and she learns that nephew Eddie is at the top of the list of suspects, she must rush home to clear the family name. It’s there that Vicky tangles with an intriguing Whitechapel detective, who is as intent on catching the Ripper as he is on avoiding romantic entanglements with a lovely royal.
You can find out more about these books, sign up for a newsletter, or contact me, through these links. Happy reading and writing! Kathryn Johnson (aka Mary Hart Perry)