Today I am so pleased to welcome Evelyn Shepherd to Joyfully Jay. Evelyn has come to talk to us about her latest release, I Am Hope. I am a huge fan of this trilogy and reviewed the book last week. She has also brought along a copy of the trilogy to give away. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!


Do the Genre Mash

I’m really horrible about sticking with one genre. My writing is all over the place most of the time. I’ve written romance, high fantasy, urban fantasy, mystery, and horror—and those are just my published stories. I have a stockpile of stories that go from cyberpunk, sci-fi, (more) fantasy, contemporary, BDSM, and so forth. There are some authors that tend to stick to one genre, and then there are others who branch out and write anything and everything under the sun.

I tend to lean towards the latter, and I also tend to take it one step further by mashing up my genres. Because why not? Who says that romance has to be separate from horror? Who says there can’t be some horror in my urban fantasy? Or, in the case of my most recent work, who says I can’t add a dash of sci-fi to my horror?

Genre mashing is a great way to make layers in a story. It adds another facet, giving your work greater depth, and more room for you to play. I’m all for breaking down barriers and blending genres together. The thing, though, is to make sure you do it right.

As an LGBT writer, I always look at a chance to add romance to my stories. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see two hot guys (or girls) going at it? But before I start shoving sex scenes and love confessions into one of my stories, I need to assess what’s going on. The key to blending two or three genres together is finding a balance. First you select what the real genre is: is the main focus of the story the romance or catching the killer? Once you’ve decided what the priority of the story is, you can start weaving in other aspects. But never forget the focus of the story. If you start deviating too much from the original plot, your story will grow convoluted and your readers will get frustrated.

For me, I usually don’t write about just the romance. I use the romance as a way to add to the original plot, whatever it may be. In my Theo Bourne series, it isn’t about Theo and Carlos falling in love, it’s about them finding a killer or Theo dealing with his Phantom powers. His relationship with Carlos adds to the story, it helps build his character, and it drives him to make choices that affect how he catches the killer, but it’s never the sole focus.

With the Meteora Trilogy, I took the idea of a zombie apocalypse and added in a threesome, asking the question, can you find love while running from the undead? (The answer is: yes you can, and it’s a threesome!) I never let the romance overshadow the horror. At the root of each book in the trilogy, it’s about survival and a world overrun by zombies, but the decisions and actions each character makes is based on the romance that has built up in the three books, and it’s these decisions that affect how all three members of the poly-relationship act in dealing with the influx of undead.

Now I didn’t stop there with mixing romance and horror. Romantic zombie novels have started to become popular and I knew I wanted to do something different, so I decided to mix in a little sci-fi with my horror. I started subtly, adding hints and nods to the genre in the first book, building in the second, and completely unfolding everything in the final segment of the trilogy. I had to balance all three genres—romance, horror, and sci-fi—and I did this by keeping in mind that at the very heart of the story, it was still a zombie novel and still in the horror genre. I think that by combining three genres, I was able to create a story that was able to separate its self from the masses. Of course, y’all will have to let me know if it worked out!


ES_IAmHopeThe undead were only the beginning.

Topher, Jesse, and Sawyer thought their greatest threat were the Infected and Mutated that roam the world. As they struggle to reach the camp in Kill Devil Hills in North Carolina, they soon discover that the monstrous mutations of the undead are the least of their problems. Something else, something far more intelligent and lethal, is hunting them.

Topher knows that the only way humanity will survive is to find a cure for the strange infection that’s ravaged the world. He’s on the brink of discovering it; but the further his research goes, the more he realizes that curing the world of the infection may mean losing Sawyer.

The three will fight to stay together, and Topher will have to make the ultimate choice: cure the world or save his lover?


Evelyn Shepherd lives in Columbus, Ohio with two fat cats. Her time is split between writing and running a book/writing blog. She’s the author of the Theo Bourne Series, the best-selling Last Canticle, and the award-winning Meteora Trilogy.


Evelyn has brought a complete set of the Meteora Trilogy to give away to one lucky reader. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter. 

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