Now, she writes about women coming into themselves. She understands them, their motivations, their thoughts, their desires. But Sylvia, who also spent two years studying spiritual warrior training under a shaman in New Mexico, doesn’t get stuck in one genre. She’s branched out from mystery to women’s historical fiction. And today, she’s going to tell us about making that move in genres and how she’s re-branding herself.
Please welcome author Sylvia Dickey Smith.
Since my first three books were part of a mystery series, why did I switch genre and write a historical novel? Wouldn’t that confuse my readers? When a Sidra fan heard the new book wasn’t a Sidra, she said, “But I miss Sidra. I love that woman!”
Sidra, as you may know, is the protagonist in my mystery series, and a strong woman with spunk and a resolve to find her own way in the world. I love Sidra too. I’m sure It comes as no surprise to anyone that there’s a lot of me in Sidra. Her lessons reflect many of mine. After thirty years as a subservient, obedient wife, I did a 180 at midlife and started on my own course. (I suppose a little bird watching overheard would discount obedient/subservient for the last five of those thirty! Changing directions often comes slower than we realize when we’re in the midst of the turn.)
But after I finished writing the third Sidra book, Dead Wreckoning, and started on the fourth, this voice that whispers over my shoulder advised that if I kept going straight into another Sidra book the story would be more of the same. That I needed to take a break from her, let her go off on her own a little while, and for me to do the same and expand my own repertoire—to challenge myself to write something totally different.
The working title of the draft, A War Of Her Own, came even before the story did. It is very loosely based around the lives of my mother and father, and their family during those years. The story takes place, again in my hometown, but this time set during WWII. Once again, my protagonist, Bea Meade, is a subservient woman of her times, who discovers of what she is made and learns to stand in her own power. I took a chance that readers would fall in love with Bea Meade, too.
So, it wasn’t that I intended to write a historical novel. I just had a story stirring in my gut that wouldn’t be quiet until I gave it voice.
This process has led me to rebrand myself more into a women’s fiction writer—which, in the long run, crosses genres anyway. And this new ‘branding’ fits my passion. I love writing of women who find their voice, who learn to speak for themselves, to give a firm NO when no is what they wish to say. I believe women must learn to give that firm no before they can claim the triumphant YES!
Who knows what will come next? Will I write more mystery? More Sidra Smart? Sure I will—but not until Sidra is ready for me to—possibly book after next. Right now I’m writing The Swamp Whisperer—a tale about Boo Murphy, an old woman in Dead Wreckoning, who demanded her own story. Viva la old women!
Thank you, Sylvia.
You can find out more about Sylvia’s books on her website, including A War of Her Own, Sylvia’s latest book. Another thing you should know about Sylvia is that she’s been recognized for her willingness to support other writers and to mentor them. She is the 2010 recipient of the SAGE Award, given out by the Barbara Burnett Smith Mentoring Authors Foundation.
Remember, if you sign up in August to subscribe or follow her on her blog, your name will be entered into a drawing for a free copy of A War Of Her Own.
Are you thinking about writing in different genres? Or maybe you think it’s time to re-brand yourself. Feel free to use the comments section to ask Sylvia questions about both these topics and her books.