March 3, 2012

Writing in different genres

The news about J.K.Rowling's new book emphasized the fact that the book will be for adults. It made me think about writers who publish books in more than one genre. I recently read two books by authors who have done that. A couple of weeks ago, I read John Grisham's The Associate. I'm a big fan of Grisham's legal thrillers, even those like The Associate that didn't get good reviews by the wider reading public. However, when I read A Painted House, Grisham's attempt at literary fiction, I was bored out of my mind and didn't even finish the book. Another author who IMHO didn't successfully cross genre boundaries was Eoin Colfer, best know for his Artemis Fowl books. I enjoyed reading Artemis Fowl and looked forward to reading Colfer's entry into crime fiction, Plugged. While not nearly as atrocious as A Painted House, I was still somewhat disappointed with Plugged. Maybe my expectations were too high, but Colfer doesn't let me down with new Artemis Fowl novels.

I can't think of too many authors who have written across multiple genres that I enjoy reading. Isaac Asimov and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle come to mind. More recently, the only two I can think of are Neil Gaiman and Stephen R. Donaldson (although I didn't think his crime and sci-fi books are as good as the Thomas Covenant series that made him famous).

I really hope J.K. Rowling's new book is close to being as good as Harry Potter. It's easy to brand an author as a sci-fi author or a horror author, and I can see why traditional publishers want to do that with writers because it's easier to sell books that way. However, I would like to see more authors write successfully across different genres because it's something I plan to do. I don't want to be pigeon-holed into one genre. Of course, being successful in one genre is something I still aspire to, much less success in multiple genres.

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