Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Kind of Book

I'm currently reading The Awakening by Stuart Meczes and enjoying it very much. I'm enjoying it because not only is it well written, but it's the genre I most enjoy. Thanks to Amazon I have just learned that that genre is called "Urban Fantasy". It includes thing like Twilight, The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, Harry Potter, the Xanth series by Piers Anthony, and Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (in which a London copper finds out that part of his duty is keeping the river gods in line). Books set in (at least partially) a world we understand and see every day, but including elements we don't. I love that. In a bookshop or library, I automatically drift to the sci-fi / fantasy shelves, because those are my kind of books.

The book I am currently hawking round agents, Emon and the Emperor, is urban fantasy, but strangely it's the first time I have written in the genre that I most enjoy reading. My first two books could probably be best classified "general women's fiction". My husband has read my first book, Haven, a gentle tale of the love and faith of one woman and how it alters the lives of those around her. I asked what he thought. He said it was "a little light on the wizards and battles."

My third book, Easterfield, is historical fiction. My fourth and fifth books are romantic thrillers. None of these are books I would usually choose to read. Someone recently asked me why I wrote No Escape, my latest novel, when I had already admitted to her that "I don't like that sort of book".

Good question. The obvious answer is because a friend asked me to (and I dedicated the book to her) but the real answer is more difficult. Maybe I knew that it would be more palatable to my publisher than the novel I wanted to write. (As evidence I point to the fact that No Escape is on shelves in bookstores now, and Emon has been doing the rounds of agents for over a year.)

The real answer, though, is that I recognise that other people like other books. I like other books. Just because I wouldn't necessarily choose a romantic thriller or historical novel for holiday reading, it doesn't mean that I don't enjoy them once in a while, or believe that those who do love them above all else shouldn't be catered for. Thanks to my book club I've found myself reading - and enjoying - lots of books I wouldn't normally have bothered to pick up. (Of course, I've hated many of them too.) I have bought books I wouldn't normally buy simply because I met the author (Michelle Cunnah and Stephanie Black are just two) and I have loved those books.

There are books I won't ever read, including misery memoirs and erotica, but I am open to reading and enjoying all sorts of books, and similarly I can write books in genres other than the one I love the most. In fact, my current work-in-progress isn't urban fantasy either.

But the book I most enjoyed writing, by a mile, is Emon and the Emperor. Because it's my kind of book.

What's your favourite genre? Do you write in that genre? What genres do you refuse to read?

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