Hello readers! Today I am honored to have J.L Bryan who will be doing a guest post about his book Jenny Pox. I had the opportunity to review J.L Bryan's book titled Jenny Pox last week and I was just impressed of how good the book is. For those of you who haven't read the review or had the chance to read the book, you can see my review HERE.
The Horror of Categorizing Jenny Pox
Many thanks to Grace for letting me guest post on her blog!
One of the first stories I wrote was called "The Bike Trail Phantom." I was about six years old. It got published, too—by the Arcado Elementary Publishing Company, an outfit staffed by volunteer moms who typed up kids' poems and stories, then bound them in fine cardboard covers.
Since then, my stories have skewed dark. Even when I write science fiction, there's bound to be some horror elements. I love a good monster.
Jenny Pox is the story of a teenage girl who infects anyone she touches with a deadly supernatural plague. I simply labeled the book "horror," figuring that anything with supernatural elements and a bit of gore would fall into that category.
My readers beg to differ. I'm told the story isn't really horror, but urban fantasy, or dark fantasy, or even paranormal romance (I never thought I'd write a romance novel!).
Let's consider these suggested categories for a minute…
Paranormal Romance: Well, maybe. It does center on romantic relationships. There's even a love triangle at the heart of the story.
On the other hand, I think of "romance" as focusing on idealized relationships. The kind of relationships that romance readers might fantasize about having, rather than the kind they actually have. The men in such stories tend to be handsome, rich, witty, confident to the point of arrogance, rugged and rough with a heart of gold underneath—available only to the woman who can penetrate his tough exterior, naturally. These are idealized characters in that you don't find all those traits together in real life. In real life, the rich guy is boring and shallow, the guy with the heart of gold is shy and fat, and that handsome and rugged guy is gay.
I'm not sure whether Jenny Pox fits here, since I tried to write honestly and realistically about relationships, rather than idealizing them.
Then again, Seth is handsome, rich, clever, and he seems like a jerk at first, but on the inside he's got a heart of…hey, maybe this is a romance!
Urban Fantasy: This is a slippery category to define. I sometimes think of it as "horror without all the horror." Main characters might be vampires, werewolves and demons (oh my!), but the books aren't meant to scare you. You're not checking for monsters behind the shower curtain after reading the latest Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter.
Is Jenny Pox urban fantasy, then? The only horrific monster is Jenny herself, when she uses her power, which isn't often. She's also the protagonist, so you're on her side when she does. I don't think anybody will have nightmares about getting stalked by Jenny Morton. This may qualify.
Dark Fantasy: Apparently, this refers to stories with paranormal or supernatural elements, dark in tone and theme, but not quite dark enough to be horror. In any case, I like the sound of it. The story is dark, on both an emotional level (at first, at least) and when you consider Jenny's particular "gift." I can live with this one!
Supernatural Thriller: Nope, it's not this. Nobody's getting stalked by any monsters or restless spirits. There aren't any mysterious deaths, or anybody trying to solve the mystery of why people keep disappearing…I don't think Jenny Pox would be considered a thriller.
Horror: Ah, back to familiar territory. The moments when Jenny lashes out with her power are horrific, but those scenes are only a small part of the book. Then again, Stephen King's Carrie is considered horror, yet there is very little horror until the end.
Die-hard horror fans tell me Jenny Pox is not horror—fortunately, they also say they enjoyed the book anyway.
So that's the problem of trying to describe a book according to ever-evolving, ever-sub-dividing fiction genres. Ultimately, if you like any of the above categories, there's a good chance you'll like Jenny Pox.
Feel free to leave your opinion in the comments section below. If you haven't tried Jenny Pox, you can read several chapters for free at Smashwords. And Grace is giving away a free ebook—I'll let her fill you in on those details!
The book I'm working on now, The Haunted E-book, is definitely, absolutely, positively horror. Unless, of course, the readers tell me otherwise :).
Thank you again Jeff for stopping by. So for those who are interested in knowing Jeff a little more here are some helpful sites that you can visit:
J.L. Bryan studied English literature at the University of Georgia and at Oxford, with a focus on English Renaissance and Romantic literature. He also studied screenwriting at UCLA. Most of his writing wanders into the horror or science fiction genres, reaching into the darker depths of human nature, where things are often scary or funny.
He lives in Atlanta with his wife Christina and assorted pets. They have an organic and natural pet supply store (www.momandpups.com), which is where his cats and dogs often blog). He's really getting into ebooks by indie authors lately.
** Information was gathered via the About Me page of J.L Bryan's website
For the giveaway, I am giving 2 copies of J.L Bryan's book Jenny Pox. I have 3 different file format of the ebook so you'll have choice. This giveaway is International to accommodate everyone. This giveaway will end on the 10th and the winner will be drawn via Random.org on the 11th. Just fill up the form below.