Confessions of a genre hopper

I write and publish stories in multiple genre’s. The freedom to do this is one of the things I love about being an independent author.

It’s not that big of deal, but it goes against the conventional wisdom of publishing (which matches most business conventional wisdom) that says to focus on a specific market. This is why we have traditionally been able to classify authors as a horror writer, thriller writer or historical fiction writer. The logic is sound. When you pick up a book by an author it’s nice to know what to expect. But that’s not me.

As a reader, I love genre hopping and I suspect I am far from alone. Genre hopping allows me to list The Bourne Identity, The Pillars of the Earth and Wool as some of my favorite books. It means I can go back and re-read Lord of the Flies even when my TBR pile includes The Martian and A Clean Kill in Tokyo. What I read influences what I think about and therefore the stories that I want to tell.

When it comes to writing, the most common question I get is where do the ideas come from. The answer to that is everywhere. I probably have twenty story ideas a day. Many of them are discarded but some come back over and over again. I refuse to discard the ideas based on genre, I prefer to focus on how thought provoking the idea is. When something sticks with me for over a month it warrants a note in the future stories folder.

This is all well and good until I started looking for blog ideas. Conventional wisdom came up again and suggested that I blog about the themes and elements of my stories. That’s a little tricky when my stories deal with innate intelligence, surviving the zombie apocalypse and solving crimes – with ideas for romance and urban fantasy.

There is a tendency among indie authors to blog about writing and the self-publishing business and there are some great ones out there (Joe Konrath & Joanne Penn leap to mind), but that doesn’t help my readers understand me and why I genre hop. So I decided that I would start blogging about story ideas and where they come from. I’ll let you know about the thoughts, events and emotions that ignite a spark in my brain. Hopefully we can be thought provoking together and you can get some insight into what I’ve written, and what I will write in the future.

I’d love to know how you feel about genre hopping. How varied is your tbr pile?

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