by Leanna Renee Hieber

Hey friends,

So I'm a cross-genre writer. Really cross. My debut in mass market, the Strangely Beautiful series, is a Gothic Historical Fantasy Paranormal Romance with Horror and YA elements.

I'm currently working on three projects:

- The next Strangely Beautiful book in the series
- a straight up YA novel.
- a straight up horror short story.

I've got to try and keep track which genre I'm in, where, and when, and be pretty clear about it so I know how to pitch and market it. But aren't all the lines blurring? It may be tricky for the marketing department but I kind of love it. I mean, there's romance all up in our Sci-Fi (thank you Star Trek, Spock was UBER HOT and I'm still drooling)

There's paranormal all up in our action movies... (I thought Underworld: Rise of the Lycans was a pretty great prequel and it made me go right out and watch the first movie again)

So where do we draw the lines these days between the genres or is there a need to stay in just one anymore?

I am a member of the following:


And will be joining the Horror Writers Association

Where do I belong? All of the above.

My question to you, friends, is what do you do when you do need to stick to just one genre? Do you find yourself bleeding over? (No pun intended, HWA) If your guidelines require you not to, what do you do to stay true to one form?

What's your palette cleanser? What's your immersion? I'm collecting strategies here. There's nothing more fascinating to me than the writing process and I'm always curious about learning more about my own and others' creative paths. Tell me, tell me!


Leanna Renee Hieber is an actress and award-winning playwright. Her fantasy novella Dark Nest is a finalist in the 2009 Prism Awards. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker will release from Leisure Books / Dorchester publishing on 8/25/09.


  1. Fun topic, Leanna! And while I'm while I loved Star Trek, Spock's ears just don't do for me. Kirk on the other hand...whew! Hotty McHotster! :)

    As for genre crossing - I don't really do it much. I write Regency because when I dream, that's what I dream about - flowy dresses, balls, candlelight. *sigh* It's not hard for me to stay on the straight and narrow. However, I will say book 4 took me to Scotland, and you just can't live in a cavernous Highland estate without a ghost, can you?? So, there is a tiny bit of paranormal, but the book isn't done yet, so I have no idea how far I'll go with it.

  2. I'm pretty hopeless about sticking to a recognized genre. So I love your description for your first Strangely Beautiful book!

  3. I can SO understand your situation Leanna, because I love mixing it up, genre-wise. And oddly enough, my "palate cleanser" would be Regency, because I consider myself far and away too unknowledgeable about the genre to write to the high expectations of the readership, so it is not even on my radar as a genre except one to enjoy reading immensely. My paranormal stuff has erotic and horror elements and some snarky/humor elements. Some paranormal stuff is urban fantasy w/ a touch of erotica. And my erotic romance has Gothic, horror and paranormal elements, and my historical has erotic elements. The only thing that is "stand alone" is my historical women's fiction (w/romantic elements, whoops!). Perhaps I'm just confused? I like to think of myself as just complex! Best of luck with Miss Percy and I'm waiting, of course, anxiously for upcoming releases!

  4. I can't wait to read the first book in the Strangely Beautiful series! I'm excited to see how you blend the genres (perhaps you'll set the model for a new genre?)

    When I feel the need to immerse myself in my chosen genre and time period (Regency Era), I start with rereading some of what I've written. Sometimes I take a "reading vacation" and read books by other writers set in the Regency or a nonfiction biography or reference text. And sometime I just writing knowing I might have to toss out what I've written the very next day:)

  5. I love how you describe your story! To me, cross-genre is much more fun because it's less predictable.

    I write paranormals and Regency historicals (so far). When I'm writing historicals, I have very little problem staying on genre. Once, I had a hint of a ghost, but that's it. In paranormal, I have to rein myself in. Keeping within the limits of the world I've built is never easy. In fact, often I don't even know what the limits are until they've been tested.

    I'm looking forward to reading your story!

  6. I'm open to everything actually! I enjoy reading Regency and Victorian historicals but as for movies - I'll watch anything and everything. I think blurring genre lines can lead to creating new genres or sub-genres so blur baby blur! ;D

  7. Jerrica,

    I'm a sucker for the still on the surface but churning on the inside that Spock so deliciously displayed, ears or no. But you're right, Kirk was totally hot.

    I appreciate when authors stick to one main love and excel in it, I love to read specific genres, I just can't seem to stay in one lane m'self.

    You're my kinda gal!

    It's true that your author map has many divergent highways, and I love it!! It suits you and your talent!

    Thank you, and you bring up a good point. Sometimes when you need to 'come home' to a specific muse you need to look back at what you've already written within that vein. And you're right, if what you plow ahead with doesn't work, so be it, but keeping writing is the key.

    I'm so with you about the large Paranormal worlds that begin to explain themselves to me as I go! (I'm such a 'pantser') Just when I think I've created boundaries, some character breaks them. But as long as I justify it, it often leads to exciting new answers!

    It's clear you're a renaissance gal, and we love you for it!

    Thanks for your responses, friends!

  8. Hmm, good question!

    As I just finished reading Linda LaRoque's time-travel historical western romance, I have to say the blending of genre's can be very tasty!

    Since I recently jumped ship--my upcoming release is humorous women's fiction with romantic elements and my current WIP is a psychic suspense--I guess I'll find out!

    Except for the dilemma of marketing (which section to put THIS book in??) I think the cross-genres are fantastic. This is the Aquarian Age, after all, and Aquarius and its ruler Uranus, is all about smashing through boundaries and breaking the rules. *grin*

    Here's to our own Brave New World. *wink*

    Great post!!


  9. I'm so excited for your release, Leanna! It sounds like a great read.
    I'm not a purist about genres, the more inventive the crossover, the better, especially if well-written to boot. It's all about the story, my friend...

  10. Chiron, Cate, you're my kinda gals! Thanks!


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