Friday, May 11, 2012

Will the real Leigh Purtill please stand up?

I grew up reading everything. As a girl, I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" series and all the Betsy-Tacy books.  Not to mention all the Ramona stories.  When I was a pre-teen I read whatever I could find on my parents' bookshelf - nothing racy but certainly scary.  I can remember Thomas Tryon's books as well as true crime novels like "In Cold Blood."  And as a teen, I just took out whatever struck my fancy while I was wandering the stacks.

Fitzgerald's Pat Hobby stories. Joseph Wambaugh. Aldous Huxley. Octavia Butler. Douglas Adams. Ray Bradbury. Stephen King. Peter Benchley. Robert Heinlein. Isaac Asimov. Frank Herbert.  And on and on.

When I began writing, of course I started with some of the more fanciful stories because - hello?  look at that list of names!  Naturally, I loved fantasy and science fiction and horror.  It never occurred to me to write in a genre.  I only wanted to write what I liked reading.

But people don't like that - publishers, editors, agents.  They want to know: what do you write?  What kind of stories do you tell?

Um, the kind people like to read?

What a silly question.  I hate being put in a box.  I don't ever want to do/write/be just one thing.  Readers want good stories with good writing and good characters.  Good.  Fun. Thought-provoking.  Entertaining.  Heartbreaking.  Provocative.  Keep-me-up-at-night.

Right now, I'm working on the third book in the Fat Girls in LA trilogy.  Next I'll tackle my paranormal thingy again and after that, the steampunk-time-travel thingy.  Maybe a detective story in the middle.  I don't know. But whatever it is, I want it to be good.