I’m having a bit of a struggle articulating my MS’s genre. To give an overview, here is the short pitch I’m using for CPs/betas etc:
When the murder of an Empress drags her ex-diplomat father back into politics, Virginia An Roskilde, a naïve but stubborn noble, finds herself catapulted into a world of decadence and power games.
Four years later, with their home burning behind them, Gin and her beautiful older sister, Neri, flee from the whim of a mad Emperor into the night. Hunted from town to village, they run before the fire, desperate to escape the soldiers he sends after them, wondering if they will ever be free. Meanwhile, rebellion is brewing amongst a starving people. As the Empire convulses around her, Gin risks everything to carve a place amid civil war, divided loyalties, and the reach of the man commanded to run them to ground.
Set amongst the medieval world of the fictional Vazran Empire, this historical fantasy brings to life one woman’s fight to survive amid the chaos of a realm tearing itself apart.
At the moment, I’m describing it as historical fantasy and the MS is set in a secondary medieval world where our primary ‘this world’ does not exist. This, I think, would usually locate it in the category of high fantasy, however, no magic or dragons etc feature in the narrative, plus the aim is to read like historical fiction, which seems more in keeping with low fantasy? Do I need to specify to this extent? I’m also worried that those who like historicals may be put off by the fantasy reference, whilst those expecting sorcery etc will feel mis-led…
Also, when I’m writing historicals, I tend to be more descriptive and lyrical, and, as a reader, I always want to feel immersed in all the little details and oddities of that world. However, I’m not doing anything impressive enough to lay claim to writing literary, so I’m a bit stumped as to how I pitch the genre. The point of the novel for me has always been the character’s coming of age, internal conflicts and gradual development and I want to be able to draw those who like that kind of writing to it. Is there such a thing as a legitimately less pace-y, more descriptive genre/style that people think my MS would fit? I looked at upmarket fiction but it largely seems to comprise contemporary-set novels, and saying upmarket historical fantasy feels a bit long-winded, but maybe that’s just me?
Any thoughts much appreciated!