Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Welcome Guest Blogger: Nancy Lindley-Gauthier

Blending Genres I

How ‘High risk’ can reading be?

Let’s face it, even as a dedicated reader, my time is limited. Funds only go so far – so I choose my next read carefully. OH! The To-Be-read pile might be huge, but that is the pile to peruse – and who knows where those books come from? Discards discovered at yard sales; these are only the nothing-better-to-do books. I might –someday – be willing to risk a few minutes on these.

The books we flip open as fast as possible? Those are the ones we already believe will bring us joy. And, some of us are bigger risk takers than others,.

As readers, we may become somewhat – shall we say (?) attached to our favorite genre. (OK, ok – that’s the royal ‘we.’ I mean me; I admit it, but perhaps a few of you can identify with me.)

We may perhaps go further, looking first for our favorite authors…then perhaps widening the search to those most personally popular of publishers… and only later… grudgingly… (if we haven’t yet located something to read) casting our net wider. How do we become bigger risk-takers? How do we wander into a sea of text, and risk it all on some unknown author – perhaps from some previously untried genre?

Internet bookstores are good and bad for those of us who are just such readers. I want a romance – well, I can see with perfect ease if my faves have anything new out, and not only that but when I DO expand my search, can follow handy links to a bazillion products (or authors) offered as somehow ‘similar.’

I am particularly dedicated to Anne Perry (not just a mystery but those oh –so-tantalizing moments of attempting to convey great depth of romantic feeling while maintaining that stern Victorian formality!) I must confess that I never had a big interest in that particular time period – but now find myself buying the occasional regency, just to get that proper, drawing-room perspective on the world. My reading world expanded – because that very Victorian in what seemed a mystery, that then harbored a romance, also involved me in a historical.

The best part of many E publishers is that willingness to blend generes. This reduces predictability – OK, MAYBE we all DO want every romance to be a “Happy ever After’ – but when we start on page one, we don’t really want to KNOW that, do we? Many literary genres are blending. This is nothing new – check out practically any movie , play, or tale – and it’s a rare thriller /adventure/mystery/choice of label – that does not also have some touch of romance going on, some remembered tragedy, some hint of intrigue. No story is really just one thing – but the most long-lasting are very thoroughly more than one. Let’s face it, Indiana Jones might be one fast-moving adventurer – even in his later years – and it is fun to cringe when a scorpion lands on his toe, but when he admits that what’s wrong with all the ‘other’ women in his life, to charming freckle-faced Karen Allen, is that “they weren’t you, dear…” Now, that sends chills down the spine.

Blending genres keeps readers guessing, because things just might not turn out the way you think, or the way you want. Then again , they might. Either way, you keep on reading.

It probably doesn’t make a lot of sense that we, as readers, seek the ‘new’ in among our conventional ‘old’ favorites –but many readers do go by a certain ‘label .‘ That label might be a specific author, publisher, or genre; but a reader of romance might be more likely to pick up a mystery – if elements of romance are promised in there, as well. Some of the best romances are hidden around the corners of mystery or adventure novels… and are all the better for being a surprise! For just that reason a select group among the Anne Perry Victorians are my favorites you have faves that blend more than one genre?

Help me take a big risk here : If you’ve read this far, take another minute to leave a book or story recommendation in the comment box!

And if you are interested in mine, where some sort of intrigue always manages to gum up a perfectly good relationship -- or is it the other way around?-- take a look at “The Painter’s” short story series – (on a special Sept Sale right now) at The Wild Rose Press.

I am also lucky enough to have a full-length mystery out, just this month… and what could be more romantic than a few days at sea with a handsome sailor?

Nancy Lindley-Gauthier

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Judy Thomas said...

Anne Perry is one of our favorites...more the Monk books than the Thomas Pitt books. You might also want to consider Candace Robb. Hers are set in medieval Scotland and England. I've also recently discovered Jacqueline Winspear. Her Maisie Dobbs series is set in early 20th century.

B.B. Walter said...

I certainly do stick with my favorites, but every so often I take a 'BIG risk' and jump out there. Take the fantasy genre.

I know, I know what you're thinking "She WRITES fantasy, for pete's sake!" But, a little known fact is that I had never picked up a fantasy novel until 8 years ago. A box of books was mysteriously deposited on the front stoop of my husband's game store; I was bored while manning the register; I took a leap on a genre I had never looked twice at before. Then I fell in love.

This is a similar story to how I've ventured into many other genres, including romance. Usually if I'm bored enough and it's readily available I'll jump on it.

I love, Nancy, that you decided to use this as your blog for today! It's a terrific topic.

Brandy said...

Is nothing scarier than spending money on an author that you've never read before? I don't think so! *G* I haven't read Anne Perry in years, but now think I may have to retry her. Thanks for the blog post! *G*

Debra St. John said...

Okay, this may be going WAY out there, but I really love Clive Cussler novels (Dirk Pitt especially) for the blend of action/intrigue/romance they bring. The on-going romance between Dirk and his one and only weaves through many of the titles in the series. And the books are chock full of adventure. Get my heart pumping one way or another!

Elaine Cantrell said...

I've always enjoyed Elizabeth Peter's Amelia Peabody series. It's a blending of romance, mystery, and action adventure with a good bit of humor thrown in. Oh, and I love Dirk PItt too.(See Debra St. John's post.)

Elaine Cantrell

Anonymous said...


J D Webb said...

Count me in as a Dirk Pitt lover. I've made a move to expand my reading into other areas and have joined a book club. With a stack of 40 + books to-be-read isn't that nonsense? But it gets - no forces - me to sample other genres. It's been worthwhile. Excuse me, I have to go read the next assignment.
J D Webb
Author of Mysteries