Thursday, September 29, 2011

Now I Know!

Back in the day when learning words and telling time were all I needed to do, I remember my grandmother teaching me how to read from the Dick and Jane books. They were vintage books used to teach children to read from the ‘30s into the ‘70s, and are still sold today. There was a lot of repetition in them, such as “Look. Look Up. Look Up at the sky”, so it was easy for children to learn words and sentences. I also remember the colorful illustrations in these books.

Then many, many years passed before I had any desire to read again. When I started back, I went through a phase where I would only read Sidney Sheldon books. At the time, I had no idea how much this man accomplished with international praise for his scripts, movies, plays and novels, let alone that he was from Chicago. He thought of his writing success as a miracle. “I was born in Chicago during the Depression and both my parents were third grade drop-outs," he recalled. "My father never read a book in his life and I was the only one in the family to complete high school." His books were mostly crime fiction and thrillers. He was the only author I’d read, and that was the last time I ever stuck to only one writer. Unfortunately, Mr. Sheldon passed away in 2007, but left behind a legacy of words.

I then ventured out and started reading Mary Higgins Clark and Victoria Holt, and both of these women wrote suspense with a romantic flare. I’ll admit that I didn’t know what genre any of these writers wrote until now. I always thought they were romance novels with an ingredient of suspense. After these female authors, I started reading Sandra Brown, who also writes suspense.

I find all of this interesting because for a few years I didn’t read many women authors (this in no way suggests that women authors aren’t great writers). Since my early favorites, I’ve gone on to read many authors of both gender and all different genres. After finding out that all of my favorite writers, who got me back into reading, were suspense and thriller writers, it now makes sense that I have written a psychological suspense thriller. 

Genres are and will always be foreign to me. Each category has its definition, but some of these definitions blend in with others, such as thrillers and suspense. I believe they both go hand in hand. How can you have a thriller without suspense, and how can suspense not be thrilling? Since I’m not one who has done extensive research in genre categorization, I’ll have to leave it up to the experts.

What’s your favorite genre, or who is your favorite author? Has it changed since your earlier days of reading?

Revisions and Tea,


  1. My favorites are cop thrillers. John Sandford & William Kent Kruger. I never would have thought that's what I'd read but for me, it's all about following the characters. I read a lot of Sandra Brown too. I love her newer books - not so into her older "romance" ones. Genre's are a funny thing. I often finish a book & wonder where it will fall. I leave that up to the publisher. I guess I don't care what's its called - as long as it's called 'published" :)

  2. I. Loathe. Genres. I can't stand that a novel has to be categorized, because, like you pointed out, there is so much crossover within a story. The reason I read is that I love to walk in the shoes of another. And I don't know many people who are stuck in a category. Even if they had an overriding worldview I feel it would be unfair to make a broad-sweep description of them to someone who didn't know them. I know... I know... there needs to be genre labels so customers (including me) are aware of what they're buying, but still. I find it to be a necessary evil. *Rant over*

    One of my favorite authors is Emily Giffin b/c she has a knack for taking you down the road of questioning moral absolutes. Her characters intrigue me. But I used to read lots of science fiction, which is really strange b/c I'm not interested in that at all anymore. I loved Michael Chricton (sp?) and Robin Cook novels. LOVED them!

    My favorite genre, then, would be women's lit with a little bit of chicklit with a little bit of inspirational with a little bit of young adult. Oh, and mainstream fiction, too.

    p.s. I've never read Dick and Jane, can you believe that? It's right up there with never seeing It's a Wonderful Life! LOL

    Fun post!

  3. Hey AB, I’ve heard of John Sandford.

    I haven’t read a Sandra Brown book in a long time, so I don’t know how her newer books are. I think I read her because I loved the romance mixed with suspense. One of my favorites of hers is Witness. It just grabbed me from the start.

    Genres are funny and frustrating because I don’t always know what category a book falls into either.

    Barb, I totally agree about genres although I understand their need for customers. There are some genres people just don’t have an interest in reading. Sci-fi and fantasy (two of the most beloved genres on a writing forum I know) aren’t really a genre I’d buy, along with horror and paranormal. It’s not that I refuse to read them, I just wouldn’t go out and buy them. Mein Liebster reads sci-fi and has left a book for me to read. I’m sure I’ll read it…someday.

    I’ve never heard of Emily Giffin. I’m going to have to look her up. As for Michael Crichton, I didn’t read his books, but know what movies and scripts he was connected to. I had a crush on him. It was very sad when he passed.

    You shouldn’t tell people you’ve never seen It’s a Wonderful Life! :D It ain’t right, I tell ya.