Strangers, on learning that I'm a published author, frequently ask, "What do you write, then?" They probably want me to answer with a nice simple genre - mysteries say - and I almost wish I could oblige. But instead I tell them I write novels and children's fiction, then elaborate, if they ask, with the fact that my second novel, Infinite Sum, has just been released, and that I have children's books with two different publishers. One children's series (with almost enough books now for a book-a-month club) is the Five-Minute Bible Story series, published by Cape Arago press. And the other is a series of animal stories from Linkville press, with only one book (Tails of Mystery) out so far.
My tangled answer got me wondering, do we ask publishers what genre they publish? Technically we authors research our publishers, determine they have an interest in the sort of thing we write, and then submit. But what if the publisher's interests are as eclectic as our own.
I decided to read some books from Linkville Press and see what else they publish, besides my sweet animal tales. So choose your coffee, fill your mug, and pick your next book to read.
Fate’s Crossing by J. R. Smith has the feel of a California-based Shannara, with a modern-day student traveling to California and finding far more than she expected.The story's stold with pleasing humor, and enticing touches of mystery, and Liana slowly learns there is far far more to her life than the surface allowed. It's a complete enough story in itself, but it's clearly part one of something bigger. Enjoy its light-hearted tone with some 2-star easy-drinking coffee. But darkness awaits.
Killing from the Inside by Bea Brugge is a much darker tale, inviting readers into the wounded mind of a serial killer. The splatter-movie road-trip feeling is counterbalanced by a dogged detective seeking to catch his criminal, and the somewhat haunted touch of a love interest. But it's a truly dark tale, best enjoyed with a seriously dark 5-star coffee.
A novel in a very different genre is The East End Beckons by Ian Parson, which recreates a well-researched and fascinating world of Cornwall and London in the 1800s, as governments bow down to the rich, globalization threatens livelihoods, and the poor are reluctantly drawn into politics. It's a world not so different from today, and it's deeply enthralling. Enjoy this complex tale with some complex 4-star coffee.
Then there's Different ways of being by Alan Balter, another very different novel that invites readers into the world of the Deaf - not a people deprived of hearing, so much as a people differently gifted than the rest of us. The novel explores other "handicaps" too - from mental illness to paraplegia. It's filled with fascinating facts, making it a curious blend of fiction and information, but it's a fascinating read that will leave you thinking you've really met some of the characters. Enjoy with some complex 4-star coffee.
Then, of course, there's my beloved Tails of Mystery, wagging their way toward volume two, a Nose For Adventure. I guess my publisher's answer to "What genre do you publish?" will be as mixed as my answer to "What genre do you read?" But perhaps that's not so surprising. After all, will you answer with one simple word when I ask, what genre do you read?