Friday, February 21, 2014

Splitting the Author Personality

inkblot3I used to scratch my head over why an author would need to use different names. You often see So N. So writing as Such N. Such written on book covers. If you’re going to put your name on it, anyway, why not just put your name on it? After all, the cover art should show varying genres, shouldn’t it?

I’ve changed my mind because I found reason to change my mind. No, that doesn’t mean I’m wishy-washy or untrue to myself; it means I’m willing to stop and think and reconsider what I thought I thought. It means I can admit when I’m wrong, or in the very least that I recognize what I think is “right” might not be “right” to someone else. It means I’m secure in the fact that I can be wrong and still be right enough. Right?

Anyway, when I was bringing out Pier Lights last year, I gave this matter a lot of thought. And I mean a LOT of thought. I do not want to look disingenuous. I don’t want to look like I’m “ashamed of” or “embarrassed by” this new spicier line. I admit it was hard for me to release spicy fiction (as completely non-vulgar as it is – with none of those shock value phrases many authors use) because in general, I’m a rather non-spicy and very private sort of gal. It’s about the relationship, the characters, the story.

But you know, sex is a normal part of life and it IS part of theinkblot2 characters. It’s part of all of us whether we grasp onto it or hide it or ignore it. It’s still there.

I’ve developed a good following of readers who are glad I don’t write spicy, or at least I never did until Pier Lights. So, for those people, since I would never criticize anyone for wanting or NOT wanting spice in their fiction – it’s fully their right to choose – I wanted to be sure they realized the new book was different so they could skip it if they’d rather.

Funny thing: as uncomfortable as the whole thing was – writing and releasing romances with actual sex scenes – I found I enjoyed writing slightly steamier shorter contemporary romances. All of my LK books are set in the past, near past or distant past. Writing present and not having to research “did we have that back then?” is a nice switch. And, letting the characters go farther than my LK books allow them to go offers more in-depth exploration, so to speak.

The one thing I still insist on: each scene must move the story and/or develop the character. That includes any spicy scenes. I won’t do spice just for spice. It has to bring character detail in to play.

My author friend Celia Yeary posted today about stepping out of your comfort zone, or not. My comfort zone, as I commented, is quite small, and I’m just not willing to tie myself into that little space. So out I step. I love challenges. I love learning new things. I love what I learn about myself when I learn new things.

And I’m fully enjoying these contemps set on beaches in places I haven’t been (research is just learning new things) inkblot4They are short enough I don’t spend a year or more on them. It leaves me time to work on my longer, more complex LK books. And, they take me to new places. I mean that in more way than one.

My plan was to do one a year during Nanowrimo since I can write the whole first draft in a month and then spend the next few months rewriting and polishing. Winter is a nice time to spend working on summer beach books! Recently, as the second book was nearing the end (of revisions and publishing), I felt a bit unwilling to let go of this new line, under the name Ella M. Kaye, until the end of the year. Maybe some novellas as fill-ins, for the fun of it and to help spread the new name? Good possibility. I haven’t done a novella yet. Might as well.

Now the crux: The wonderful, loyal followers I mentioned? They want these books, too, but not so much the spice. So… I’ll put out non-spicy versions, as well, not widely, but available. Yes, I’ve heard the comments that it just says the author is being wishy-washy or not standing up for her own work. I disagree. I think it’s having respect for your readers and their own personal and valid viewpoints. Not that a writer should do a cleaner version if they’d rather not, but why shouldn’t they if they so choose? Live and let live. There’s plenty of room for both.

As far as renaming/revamping/splitting yourself… Why not go with the flow and let the tide take you where you might really need to be? You can always row back into that safe harbor if you’d rather. My guess is you will have learned lots of nice new things by then, about others and about yourself. 
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Today is RELEASE DAY for Shadowed Lights, the second Ella M. Kaye book. Find more about this line at


When her sister loses her house to Hurricane Sandy, Delaney Griffin welcomes the family into her home. Months later, with five noisy kids and an overbearing brother-in-law threatening her sanity, Delaney spends much of her free time at the wildlife refuge, which also works as her refuge. Still, the lack of privacy, along with space to dance, her only passionate release, causes her debilitating social anxiety to escalate.

Eli Forrester has come from small town Indiana to Barnegat, New Jersey with his company to help restore the coast. A high rise worker who loves new people and new places, he fears nothing, except water. When he accidentally kicks one of the sea critters Delaney is trying to help rescue, he is drawn to the quiet New Jersey girl. Unwilling to take her cues to leave her alone, Eli is alternately put off and turned on by her odd behavior.

Under shadow of devastation, fear, and forced separation, Delaney and Eli search for their own rescue light.

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Want to win an ebook of this title? Check the comments!
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Ella M. Kaye said...

For a chance to win a copy of Shadowed Lights (pdf, epub, or mobi), email and say you read about split personalities! Specify which format you want if you win. Through 2-23-14

Unknown said...

I'm glad I read you post--I saw my name! Thanks for the mention. But I really read it to see what you meant by split personalities. I wonder how many authors like me have an inner yearning to write spicier sexier books. I don't think I ever would. When I come to the point in a WIP in which the H/H will have sex, I almost balk at the notion. But I forge ahead, trying to avoid all those trite phrases I read over and over in romance novels.
Good thoughts, and thanks.

LK Hunsaker said...

Hey Celia, I would have buzzed you if you hadn't found it. :-) It's not the first time one of your posts has helped fuel my thoughts here.

Yes, those trite phrases should be handled like clich├ęs... and just not handled. ;-)

LK Hunsaker said...

Anonymous: Kindly don't spew your personal vendetta filth on my blog or under my blog posts. Truly classless.