#InkRipples: Genre

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I’ve written about genre recently, and about how difficult it sometimes is to fit a book into distinct genres. While knowing the genre of a book helps me decide whether it’s something I’d want to read or not, sometimes it can be a deterrent so I end up not reading a book I might have liked if I’d have given it a chance.

I don’t like to label things all that much in general, and same goes for books. I’m an eclectic reader, only avoiding Christian fiction and hard core science fiction.But when choosing my next read, I usually first check the blurb (apart from the cover, of course). Naturally, one doesn’t always have to check for the book’s genre because often it’s apparent from the cover and/or the blurb or even because the author is already familair to us.

I will more often check out books in my preferred genres, like young adult, romance, contemporary, but I’ll read in other genres when the blurb or reviews convince me that the book is worth my while. So it seems that genre labels only work together with other information about a book, like the cover, blurb, author, reviews, recommendation from someone.

And since the topic of last month was book covers, I’d just like to give an example of when book covers and genre can be  a bit at odds with each other.

6553175This cover made me think the book is a fluffy romance, an easy read with fun characters. But it’s so much more than that. Yes, it’s a romance, it’s funny, but it also deals with mental illness and all the sadness, stress and anxiety that that brings with it. The chracters are complex and well written and the story is compelling.

So it’s not just about the genre, or the cover, it’s the whole package. And essentially, it’s about what you like.

Genre

Hearts must be broken is my novella that will be published in February as part of a Valentine’s Day anthology by Inkspell Publishing. It has had quite a journey from the first draft to the one which will be now published.

It started off back in 2014 as a sci-fi short story. But for a short story, the sci-fi element was too complicated, so I dropped that, and eventually I developed it into a suspense novella. Around that time, an editor friend has had a look at it. He suggested I trim it back down to a short story because novellas are notoriously difficult to sell. His description of it as a story in the thriller mode of Daphne du Maurier stuck with me.

I was familiar with du Maurier, especially with her novel Rebecca (did you know the Germans used it as a code key in WWII?). When I had trouble stating the genre of my novella for promotional purposes, I decided to research this “thriller mode of Daphne du Maurier”.

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Images of a creepy London from PS4 video game The Order: 1886

When I typed “Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier, genre” in the search engine, the diversity of the hits only confused me further on the issue of genre. Turns out, Rebecca fits into a gazillion different genres. Amongst them: coming-of-age, psychological thriller, suspense, mystery, romance, family drama, horror, gothic, and more.

While Hearts must be broken can’t possibly be compared to the epic Rebecca, it, too, fits into quite a few genre slots. It’s definitely a romance (if it being published in a Valentine’s Day anthology didn’t give that away), but it’s also dark and intense even though I dropped the sci-fi element. The love story isn’t all fluff and rainbows, it’s a lot grittier, suspenseful, with a mystery the protagonists have to solve if they hope for a happily ever after. The setting may be the twenty-first century London, but at times, it feels a bit gothic with the fog shrouding the streets and footsteps echoing through narrow alleys.  Whooo … 😉

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Anyway, I hope you’ll like the mix of genres in the novella. I always prefer for the genres to be a bit mixed up instead of a straight up romance or hardcore thrillers. It adds to the complexity. What’s your preference?