Tag Archives: Contemporary Gothic

Kelley Armstrong on Crossing Genres

Posted by October 16th, 2013

We are so excited to have #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong as our guest. While she’s famous for her Urban Fantasy Otherworld series, in her most recent book Kelley’s produced different fare: what she calls the “contemporary Gothic.” Read about her journey into genre, and about how crossing genres has played a part in her most recent literary brew, OMENS.

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When I decided to wrap up the Otherworld series, the most obvious question was “What will I do next?” I was definitely going to launch another adult series. While I write YA and have recently launched a co-authored middle-grade trilogy, my first love is adult fiction, and I can’t imagine ever giving that up. The question then was “Which genre?” I knew the answer wasn’t urban fantasy. If I wanted to continue that, the Otherworld universe is vast enough that I could tell any story I wanted in it, from any narrative point of view. No, if I left the Otherworld, I was leaving the standard UF genre with it.omens by kelley armstrong

In addition to the Otherworld, I have a straight-up crime/mystery adult series with no fantasy elements. That’s the Nadia Stafford trilogy, wrapping up in November with WILD JUSTICE. I loved writing those books, though I’ll admit I missed the fantasy elements I include in all my other work. The answer seemed obvious then—I would start a series that combines the two. Less paranormal than urban fantasy, but still some element of fantasy, with mystery driving the main plot.

So is OMENS a mystery? Not entirely. I’ve never been good at sticking squarely to any genre. I read most of them, and I want to incorporate many different elements in my work. When I wrote BITTEN, the modern “urban fantasy” genre didn’t exist. There was UF, but the name was used to refer to any fantasy set in the contemporary world. BITTEN was called a supernatural thriller, then paranormal suspense, and finally urban fantasy.

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