A good friend of mine who is also an author and publisher recently suggested that traditional thrillers, à la Plague, were my real forte, as opposed to the “tight” sub-genre of weather thrillers in which he viewed me as being “trapped.”
His comments came in the wake of a couple of successes by Plague: being nominated as a finalist in EPIC’s eBook Awards suspense/thriller category, and having a pretty good run up Amazon’s Kindle best-seller list to #37 after a Daily Deal appearance.
As much as I enjoy basking in my friend’s approbation of me as a traditional thriller writer, I don’t fully agree with his assessment. If I’m literarily “trapped” in the weather-thriller sub-genre, it’s a self-imposed ensnarement.
I wasn’t happy when Plague languished in bookish backwaters for over a year. There were multiple reasons that happened, but the most important one is precisely because I stepped out of my “tight” sub-genre.
With Plague, as I mentioned earlier, I ventured into the realm of traditional thrillers, a land ruled by Big Names with iron fists (and large promotional budgets). Think the late, great Tom Clancy, Brad Taylor, Steve Berry, Daniel Silva. It’s not just that they rule, but their minions are faithful to a fault and loathe to grant interlopers entrance to the kingdom.
In other words, thriller readers–I found out after Plague’s publication–are reluctant, more so than readers of other genres, to try novels by unfamiliar authors. Romance readers, for example and by contrast, are much more willing to embrace books by new or “unknown” writers.
The bottom line here is that yours truly wandered into a genre minefield and stepped on a Bouncing Betty.
So, lesson learned. I’m perfectly content, eager even, to homestead within my own little literary fiefdom–meteorologically-based drama–and solidify the specialized niche I’ve begun to stake out for myself.
Supercell follows in the tradition of Eyewall. (And although I didn’t set out to produce a trilogy, it looks like I’ll end up with one. I’m currently pecking away at a novel with the working title of Blizzard.)
My goal is to establish a lasting bond with a readership that loves weather thrillers, or at least thrillers based on our natural environment.
So, until Blizzard blows in, I hope you’ll enjoy the excitement and danger of a two-week tornado chase in Supercell.
~~ Buzz Bernard
A retired meteorologist, Buzz has published 3 novels, the latest, Supercell, came out this fall. He is Vice-President of SWA and manages our workshop bookstore. This article was reblogged with permission from his personal blog. You can read his blog and learn more about Buzz on his website: buzzbernard.com