Writing outside of your comfort zone.
I have a passion for writing. Every writer I know has a passion for writing, or we wouldn’t be driven to doing such a crazy thing. And most writers I know have one particular type of story they’re interested in writing. I’m no different. I love sword-and-sorcery type fantasy and my imagination is filled with dragons and elves and witches and above all, magic. That’s my comfort zone. My first published novel, The Weaving, was a straight-up witches and demons and wizards and kings battling type of thing.
But that’s not all I’m interested in. I like the thrill of stepping out of my comfort zone once in a while. I love trying out new styles and genres. After all, a story is about the people, not the setting. My writing is character driven, so once I develop the characters and drop them into a setting they always come alive and adapt.
Lately, certain Western imprints have caught my eye and I got the crazy idea to write a story set in the old West. I’ve never written a Western before. I suppose I didn’t think I knew enough about life on the frontier. For example: where, exactly, do I set my story? The “wild west” covered about a third of the country at various times.
Texas and Nebraska were both the
frontier but were as different then as now.
I do not and have never lived west of Ohio
except for a few miserable weeks of Air Force basic training in San Antonio one
summer. The cows I grew up with on the
farm were milked, not wrangled. What do
I know about daily life on a ranch?
Then my writer side stepped up and slapped me for being so dense. I’ve never lived in a castle or worn a sword, either, but that didn’t stop me from writing a story that took place in a castle. I didn’t grow up in the West, but I knew the cowboy myth as well as any child who grew up in the golden age of Westerns. I spent many hours immersed in Bonanza and
Cheyenne and a dozen more
series on our television, not to mention the movies.
So the child in me woke up, strapped on the six-shooters and headed out West. The result is this, my first but certainly not last Western Romance. I sent it in to Rebecca Vickery and Becca liked it well enough to publish. So along with my Appalachia Romance series, I just might start a series of stories set in the mythical town of Wilcox, Nebraska.
So if you're a writer, have you decided to step outside of your comfort zone before?
"A Wicked Past" by Gerald Costlow, published by Rebecca Vickery
Nancy Darling is enduring a
winter alone in her isolated farm. Two men, each trying to escape a
wicked past, are in a race to find hidden Confederate gold. When they
arrive one Christmas, will she find the fallen angel she's dreamed of or
face a devil in disguise? Nebraska
Where to purchase the book [only 99 cents at these locations]: