For Emily Baxter, life is simple. Her world is made up completely of school, church, and the community in the small farming town she calls home. All that changes one fateful Sunday, when a new girl shows up at Pleasanton Baptist—a girl unlike anyone Emily has ever seen. A girl with long red hair, crystal green eyes, and style and posture like royalty.
A girl named October.
The months that follow are filled with magic—the magic of ordinary things, of finding pictures in the stars, of imagination and a new sense of beauty. But as time goes by, Emily begins to sense that her enchanting new friend may have secrets that could break the spell. Is October really all she seems to be?
About the Author
Grace Pennington has been telling stories since she could talk and writing them down since age five. Now she lives in the great state of Texas, where she writes as much as adult life permits. When she’s not writing she enjoys reading good books, having adventures with her husband, and looking up at the stars.
What do you think of when you think of Stephen King?
How about Nicolas Sparks?
And Harlan Coban?
Thrillers, of course.
So how would you feel if Stephen King came out with a sweet romance or Nicolas Sparks waded into the pool of science fiction, or Harlan Coban brought forth a straight-up comedy?
Yeah. Most authors don’t do that.
To be fair, that isn’t always true. Stephen King is actually a good example. He usually writes horror, sure, but he has written some dramas without horror or supernatural elements as well. C. S. Lewis is one of the best examples I know. He wrote a little of everything, from science-fiction to fantasy to scholarly works to Christian theology for the common man to poetry.
But authors tend to stick to one particular genre. For a couple reasons:
- They usually picked the genre because there’s something about it they especially like.
- People are used to it, and might not buy something they wrote if it was different.
Me, my primary genre is science-fiction. I’d say eighty-five percent of my work probably falls into that category. But there are plenty of exceptions. My western mystery novel, Never. Numerous short stories and poetry.
And my latest novel, October.
October is my first novel to leave the realm of so-called “genre fiction” and venture into the much more murky territory of “literary/general/contemporary/drama” fiction. There’s no crime. No technological advances. Nothing supernatural, at least, no more so than in our own everyday lives. Just people. Living. Loving. Learning. Heartbreak, joy, wonder. Relationships. Trouble. Feelings.
Personally, I just don’t start out thinking along the lines of genre. I think of a story—usually relationship-based—and once I have that I ask myself what setting lends itself best to this story. Usually, there’s a clear answer. Some stories are just begging to be science-fiction or historical or what-not. But not October. October, by its very nature, demanded general fiction status.
Ultimately, I try to ensure that every choice I make in writing is in service to the story, to the theme, to what I want to tell the world. If that ends up being sci-fi, I’m happy. It is still my favorite genre.
But sometimes a story wants to be something simpler. Something closer to home. Something more true-to-life.