Writing Across Genres–Beth Trissel

Many authors wisely choose a genre and stick with it. Most historical romance authors master a specific time period, such as Regency England, and set up camp. They learn the drill and can summon appropriate dress, manners, transport…without a second thought. Not me. Like a restless spirit, I wander about. I compare it to flitting through time,  or venturing through the rooms of a very large house or old castle and discovering a different era/theme behind each door. Like these spooky castle stairs, leading who knows where or to what, or WHO, much mystery is involved in the exploration, a great part of the allure. Writing would be far easier if I’d stay put, but not as much fun.

So I write both historical, with varying time periods and settings, and light paranormal romance, generally with a time travel or ghost in the fantasy meld. If I were to choose a favorite era it would probably be colonial America, but I also love others. Research into my early American ancestors and their interaction with Native Americans (some were taken captive) inspired my historicals set in the colonial frontier, Red Bird’s SongThrough the Fire and my upcoming November release, Kira, Daughter of the Moon, and a spinoff of that theme in my upcoming December release, A Warrior for Christmas. Family involvement in the American Revolution led to my writing historical romance novel Enemy of the King.

The connection I feel to the past and those who’ve gone before me is the ongoing inspiration behind all my work. I’ve done a great deal of research into family genealogy and come from well-documented English/Scots-Irish folk with a smidgen of French in the meld, a Norman knight who sailed with William the Conqueror. One line goes back to Geoffrey Chaucer. And there’s a puritan line with involvement in the Salem Witch Trials—my apologies to Susannah Martin’s descendants—but that’s another story. With my historical romance Into the Lion’s Heart, I more deeply explored my British ancestry, and The French Revolution. I don’t think our family lost any heads back then but it’s a fascinating time period and figures heavily in the story.

In my historical/paranormal romance novel, The Bearwalker’s Daughter, I ventured into the shape shifting realm with a bearwalking Shawnee warrior. Depending upon whom you consult among the Shawnee, they may not consider this to be fantasy but an actual ability some of their people possess, or used to in ages past. The Bearwalker’s Daughter also has a magical moonstone necklace which I wish I could’ve kept, but the novel sucked in that prize and won’t let me have it back. Bummer.

Scottish time travel romance Somewhere My Lass was a departure for me in that I also wove sci-fi elements into the story. My paranormals require the same research I’d do for a historical because there are other time periods to explore, and then the added contemplation involved in otherworldly elements, so they are not easy, but enjoyable in a challenging way.

The concept behind my Somewhere series, is that the story opens in present day, so far my home state of Virginia, and then transports the reader Somewhere else. Either back to an earlier time in the same house, as in Somewhere My Love and Somewhere The Bells Ring, or another place altogether, as in Somewhere My Lass. The wonderful old homes I grew up in and visited over the years are an integral part of the inspiration behind this series. In Somewhere My Lass, I used a compilation of Victorian homes for the mysterious house in historic Staunton, Virginia where the story begins. How do they go back and forth in time, you ask? Why through the ‘door to nowhere,’ of course, a portal to the past. I was acquainted with just such a door as a child.

*Royalty free castle image

About BethTrissel

Married to my high school sweetheart, I live on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia surrounded by my children, grandbabies, and assorted animals. An avid gardener, my love of herbs and heirloom plants figures into my work. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans and the people who journeyed here from far beyond her borders are at the heart of my inspiration. In addition to American settings, I also write historical and time travel romances set in the British Isles. And nonfiction about gardening and country life.
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16 Responses to Writing Across Genres–Beth Trissel

  1. Sofie Couch says:

    Very nice, Beth! And I loved your hook line about different doors in a castle.

  2. Great post, Beth! I think you’re very brave to explore different time periods. I stick to American Civil War and the years just after for the reasons you stated. I already know so much about the time period and locations I use that I don’t have to do a ton of research. But I do like to sneak paranormal elements into some of my stories.

    I’ve read many of yours and love them all. Just purchased ‘Through the Fire’ and am currently reading ‘Somewhere My Love’.

    Best of luck with all your books!

  3. Katherine says:

    Hi Beth,
    Your post made me feel much better about wanting to write the contemporary story that keeps knocking around my brain. Currently, I’ve only ever written and been published in historical romance so it’s nice to know that an author can be successful when jumping from one time period to another.

  4. Judy says:

    Like you, I find myself unable to stay in one genre. I don’t read only one, so why should I write only one? We’ll see how it works out. 🙂 Go you!

  5. I love the genre I am in mainly because I grew up with the stories set where we lived roaming in my head and now they all need to be told. I so look forward to reading your stories, Beth, if I can ever get caught up with the ones I am writing and get them done on deadline. I consider them the frosting when I am done. You have a great voice as is shown in your blog.

  6. Beth, I love crossing genres, too. I enjoy a good historical, but I’m not well versed with them. I love your analogy of opening up the different doors of an old castle. Well said! I enjoy the challenge of exploring so that’s why different genres appeal to me. I really like how you’ve set up your blog. It’s easy to read and explore. *wink*

  7. Great post, Beth! I actually admire your ability to write so beautifully in more than one genre. If I can become as prolific as you in one, I will have reached one of my goals. I’ll deal with the rest, later 😀

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