What lines do you write for?
I started in Harlequin Historicals and my sixteenth story, THE WARRIOR’S CAPTIVE BRIDE, released in September. Then I moved to Harlequin Nocturne, writing six paranormal romances and recently, began writing romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.
Why did you genre jump?
My desire to expand began with an idea that would not fit in Harlequin Historicals. The stories involved Native American mythos and the supernatural aspects of the story made it a good fit for Nocturne. I approached my editor to see if she would be open to a proposal and THE TRACKER series was the result.
Isn’t it hard writing such different types of stories?
I’d call it a challenge that I enjoy and the different lines keep me excited about the writing. Despite the obvious differences between the lines there are similarities, too. In all these lines, my voice is consistent, as is my love for the American West and for Native American characters. Including history, magic or suspense doesn’t change my voice or the types of Alpha men I write.
What differences do you consider between genres?
Harlequin Historicals require a lot more research . On the up side, there are many situations and scenarios a writer can explore when writing historicals that are impossible in contemporary lines. There are just an unlimited number of obstacles and interesting situations to explore in the past. The length of the historicals also allows slightly more freedom to delve into subplots and secondary characters.
Nocturne required a darker, more intense story which I very much enjoy writing. I also find it thrilling to write larger-than-life characters with supernatural powers that really make them superheroes.
Intrigues are the shortest of these lines and that is challenging, requiring me to trim down on exposition, secondary characters and subplots. The sense of danger also needs to be ubiquitous while serving to amp up the romance. Surprisingly, I find that writing short can be more difficult than writing long.
Any stumbling blocks along the way?
Oh, sure! But I’m lucky that my editor, Ann Leslie Tuttle, was there to help me when I rambled too far from the core suspense plot in book #3, TRIBAL LAW, in the APACHE PROTECTORS series. Her guidance got me back on track and focused on the romance and the core suspense plot. Here’s the happy ending. Her comments and my willingness to slash superfluous portions and write to the core of the romance story really improved the work and that book was my first RT TOP PICK!
Harlequin is a great place to write. They have supported my desire to write across different genre and helped me to tailor my work to fit the series lines.
What advice do you have for genre jumpers?
Basic stuff- Pay attention to the guidelines. Read the line for which you wish to write to get a feel for the tone, tropes and common ground between the current releases. Then find a way to fit in the line while bringing something new that fits within the series guidelines. Finally, remember to be open to revising your work.
You recently quit your day job. How’s that going?
That’s right! This is an exciting time for me, full of challenges while I adjust to a new schedule that I set myself. I have to say that I don’t miss writing during my lunch break, evenings and weekends. One unexpected challenge is scheduling in time to exercise. I gained a few unwanted pounds the first year and to tackle that I now begin and end the writing day with exercise. I swim in the morning and walk the beach at night. Doesn’t that sound ideal? That’s one of the advantages of my new home state–Florida.
Bestselling author, Jenna Kernan, writes riveting romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue, Western Historical fiction and paranormal romance. A Publishers Weekly Bestselling Author, winner of the Book Buyers’ Best award and two-time RITA nominee, Jenna is the author of the popular APACHE PROTECTOR series for Harlequin Intrigue. Look for the series to continue with TURQUOISE GUARDIANS in January 2017
Follow Jenna @jennakernan, on facebook/AuthorJennaKernan or join her newsletter at www.jennakernan.com.