A new member at our writer’s group asked me what genre I write.
I answered: “Transformational fiction.”
I was asking for it, since I have adopted a phrase I heard from the presenter of a workshop at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference.
“I write about change – people who want to make a change in the world and by doing so make a change in themselves.”
What followed was a meaningful conversation about my books. It progressed into which causes we each work for, and what organizations we are members of and support. I felt that I left him wanting to buy my book because he had connected to me. Best of all, it wasn’t false or salesmanship. I was being me and, perhaps the fact that I was being genuine is what was most attractive.
Brian Judd in a recent Booksurge webinar recalled a man who had written a children’s book about bananas. He would dress up as a banana, which naturally became a talking point.
I have tried to make my website (http://www.alonshalev.com) fit that transformative flavor: the Richard Wright quote, the request to purchase my book at an independent bookstore and showcasing non profits and causes that I support.
This urge to advance a persona behind the book and author feels right. It wouldn’t work if it wasn’t genuine, but since I have been a political activist and community organizer (no I’m not announcing my candidacy for President) for most of my life, it fits.
And so I will go out into the world: Alon Shalev, author of transformational fiction. And maybe one day, the person I am being introduced to won’t respond: “Transformational fiction – what’s that?”
Even better, maybe they’ll say: “Alon Shalev? Yeah I read your novels.”