Most things in my life happen when I’m trying to do something else. I don’t even mean the big things, like planning to write a dissertation and coming out with a series of romance novels instead (ought I to get an RD for that? I like the sound of Romanciae Doctor), or the fact that if I meant to go right, I usually walk left (I find all sorts of new and interesting places that way). This happens to me in my writing, too. What I wind up writing is seldom exactly what I intended it to be.
Take my first book for example, the lengthily titled Secret History of the Pink Carnation. I very firmly told my agent that what I had produced was a “traditional Regency romance”. My agent is a very kind, patient sort of person. Instead of making snorting noises, he said, very gently, “Are you sure?” I was quite sure. “Um…” he said, flipping through the mental filofax for Tactful Ways to Deal With Deluded Authors. “Are you really sure?” That’s how I found out that what I’d really written was Napoleonic-era historical fiction/ romantic suspense/ mystery/ chick lit. No can quite agree on what it is, but it sure ain’t a traditional Regency. In a word, ooops.