After a great deal of debate, I’ve decided to publish Release under a slightly different pen name. I did not make this decision lightly. On the contrary, I’m sure I drove a few people absolutely nuts, hashing out the pros and cons again and again.
On one hand, starting over with a brand new pen name sounded daunting. And after all, Release does feature m/m themes. It’s not as if I’ll suddenly be publishing middle-grade graphic novels or upmarket women’s fiction under Marie’s name. And anybody who follows me on Twitter has already heard me talk incessantly about my dark, kinky, semi-cyberpunk. Everybody knows I’ve been working on this book for ages. So why not publish it as Marie?
I almost did. But I could already hear the angry cries of readers who bought Release expecting warm fuzzies and found cold, hard anger, instead. And that’s what really drove this decision. The truth is, Release is unlike anything I’ve ever written. The closest I’ve come is Oestend, or maybe Blind Space, but even those stories were gentle at heart. Even they had a seed of purity in their center. Release, though, is a different beast entirely. It’s dark and sexy, with corruption and a great deal of moral ambiguity at its core. It contains violent and graphic scenes that may be called dub-con. And although the overall arc of the series includes plenty of love, the first novel, Release, could never be called a romance.
In the end, after talking to close to a dozen of my friends about it, it was ZA Maxfield who finally convinced me. The best choice seems to be to somehow split the difference — publish the book under a new name, but one not too far removed from Marie. I decided on AM Sexton. I will continue to be absolutely open about the fact that AM Sexton and Marie Sexton are the same person, but I hope having a new name on the cover will underscore one very important point: THIS ISN’T CODA.
With all that being said, Release may not be a lighthearted romance, but it’s still me. I hope readers who decide to take a chance on this new series will find what they’ve come to expect from my work. I hope they’ll feel I’ve given them complex, emotional, well-developed characters, striving to make the best of a bad situation. I think my fans will see that I’ve poured my heart into this story. The name on the cover doesn’t change that. If you love genre mashups, darkly erotic AU, or extremely damaged heroes, I hope you’ll take a chance on Release.