Cross Genre – Everyone’s doing it!
(Note: I was away from the computer most of yesterday and didn’t see that Rowena’s post didn’t go live. So I’m putting it up now and will be back to put up my own post around noon CST — Amanda)
This weekend I’m at the crime writers convention in Melbourne. SheKilda. This is run by Sisters in Crime, the Australian branch of an international organisation. My para-crime (no sparkly vampires, I promise) is coming out next March with ClanDestine Press.
My short stories have covered near future sociological SF, through horror (now called Dark Fantasy), steampunk (before I knew it was called that) to fantasy. Funnily enough, I don’t write much fantasy in the short story form.
My published books adults have all been fantasy, until now. Not that I haven’t written other books. I have two SF novels based around mysteries.
In the past publishers tended to like you to write in the one genre so they could retain your readers. I don’t know why they thought readers only read in one genre, because from what I’ve heard people say, they read widely and will follow an author they like across different genres.
I’ve been doing a series of interviews with authors on my blog and many of them write across age groups and/or across genres, even across mediums. Rebecca Moesta has written across ages and genres and, with the publication of the comic, Grumpy old Monsters, across mediums. She says: ‘For a writer, there’s a exceptional joy that comes from seeing a story that I wrote come to life in illustrations.’
Sean Williams writes tie-in novels, like Rebecca, books for YA and adults, and across the fantasy and SF genres. When talking about writing for YA he says: ‘ I’ve written eight books for kids and four for young adults, and I’d have to say that I find the YA mindset much more difficult. I like to write characters who see the world through a fairly rational lens, and of course being a teenager isn’t really about being rational. That’s one of the reasons why it’s such a wonderful, terrifying time, and why it’s such a rich vein to mine, creatively speaking. I’m drawn to doing difficult things–each book is a new challenge–hence my focus on YA in my solo work at the moment.’
Tracey O’Hara‘s books are marketed as paranormal, but they contain a strong element of mystery/thriller. She says: ‘I loved the Arthur Upfield, Napoleon Bonaparte (Boney) books when I was a teenager and I’m a big Agatha Christy fan, however mainly the TV series and movies rather than the books which I sometimes find a bit tedious.’
And then there’s Trent Jamieson, who has a humourous dark fantasy in Death Works and is now releasing a steampunk duology The Nightbound Land. Trent would have to be the cross-genre king. His short stories are particularly hard to define. He’s won both the SF and YA sections of the Aurealis Awards and been nominated in the fantasy section (often for the same story). He says: ‘I like to mess around in various genres. Believe it or not, my first published works were nonsense poems. But I don’t set out to write in a specific genre. Stories start as either a particular image, or a weird sentence or even a beat, I just follow the pulse to end.’
I’m happy to see my para-crime finally reach and audience. Like the authors mentioned, the story takes me and I just have to write it. I find it is the themes that can be similar across different genres, some genres give a writer more freedom than others. Some have great tropes and toys to play with that might suit a particular idea. Who doesn’t like a steamship dirigible!
Do you write across genres? What draws you to other genres?