When You’re Both a Sith and a Jedi – Writing Dark and Light Books

Alrighty so I’m probably taking the Star Wars metaphors too far but if you don’t know this already, my author personality is kind of a hybrid of Darth Vader and Obi Wan Kenobi. I write two completely different types of books in other words. Oh, don’t get me wrong, they’re both contemporaries since I love writing contemporary, but they ARE different. Firstly, I have the fun, light and flirty stories that I write for Entangled – my Obi Wan personality. And secondly there are the books I write for Samhain that are much, much darker and angstier, not to mention hotter – say hello Darth Vader.

How did this wonder come about? Well, you see, I love writing dialogue. And sometimes when I write dialogue, I get silly. This love of silliness sometimes makes it into my books in ways that I don’t expect – Christie’s Ugg boots in Talking Dirty with the CEO as case in point. I’m also a fan of dry humour so that tends to creep into my dialogue too. I really like writing this kind of thing but lighter humour can often not sit so well with books that have really heavy issues.

“What’s with the hair? You look like a drag queen in that wig!”

“I have cancer. I just finished my last round of chemotherapy.”

“But seriously. That wig. You look like Liberace.”

Photo: Sam Howzit

“It’s terminal.”

Here’s where the dark side comes in. Because in addition to this love of silliness, I also have a huge love of angst and darkness. Extremes of emotion. Brooding hotness. Psychological damage. ISSUES!  But the same thing applies – it’s very difficult to balance light and funny dialogue with the kind of angst I love to write about.

“My father died last night. Of alcohol poisoning. I tried to save him but…I was too late…”

“Gee, sorry to hear that. By the way, you look a little like a chicken when you flap your arms like that.”

Which is why I write two different kinds of books.  I can totally indulge my love of the funny with my Entangled books and then completely go over the top with the angst in my Samhain books.

It’s not easy though. Being funny, for example, is really hard. My editor at Entangled often has to tell me to put in more of the amusing dialogue and doing this consciously can be tough. If you force (aha, see what I did there? The ‘force’) it, the ‘funny’ can come out self conscious and not funny at all. And then you have to balance the fact that the tone is lighter so the conflicts can’t go to as dark a place as you’d like to take them.

However, I do like to think that my love of angst and extreme emotion can help my lighter books still be quite emotional. And that my love of silliness can make the very dark books a little bit lighter.

What do I prefer when writing? Well, having just come out of months of writing two Indulgences back to back, I’m hanging out for some major angst. Luckily that’s what I’m going to be working on now so bring it on!

What about you? Are you a Jedi or a Sith when it comes to the books you prefer to read/write? Or does it depend on your mood?


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