Can Authors Write In Different Genres?
Diverse Disciplines: Fielding the Field
by Catherine Jordan
Can authors write in different genres?
As a writer, if you haven’t already tried your hand within other categories, you should—genre blending is on the rise. The mixture of themes and elements is not new. But as a horror writer, I’m seeing calls for horror comedies (I recently watched Netflix’s Le Manoir/The Mansion, a hysterically funny horror), historical horror (Alma Katsu’s disturbing, The Hunger, was based on the Donner Party), horror romance (Warm Bodies, a zombie romance by Isaac Marion), and horror mystery (Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects—the who-dun-it is horrific and features the most evil women on the planet).
Anne Rice, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, and J.K. Rowling: these are horror/dark fiction authors, right? Yep, but hold on—don’t put those writers in a box; they’ve all mastered more than one genre.
Did you know Anne Rice wrote erotica long before 50 Shades of Grey ever darkened the bookshelves? And wherever 50 Shades wouldn’t go, the Sleeping Beauty collection went! Just know Ms. Rice can bring more than arousal and sensuality to sucking. Blood sucking, that is.
Stephen King wrote one of my favorite movies starring Morgan Freeman—The Shawshank Redemption. Originally titled Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, I was shocked to learn it originated with King. Back in the 1990’s, I erroneously thought he only wrote horror. Turns out he also writes fantasy, westerns, poetry, nonfiction, and even authored a children’s book under a penname. I’d like to see him write a cookbook. Seriously.
Neil Gaiman’s genre prose is just as expansive as King’s. No surprise there, (and no cookbook, either). His writing can be very telling, (all writers have been told show don’t tell) but he gets away with it—his stories are that good. His short “October Tales” gave me feel good chills, and I’ve been a fan ever since.
Joyce Carol Oates has written historical fiction, mystery, theater, memoir, children’s literature, and thousands of short stories. I have yet to get “Take Me I Am Free” out of my head. Recently published within the anthology collection When Things Get Dark, Stories Inspired by Shirley Jackson, the dark tale broke my heart. Still, where’s the cookbook?
J.K. Rowling made a genre switch under a male moniker, with which I take umbrage. She used her initials with the Harry Potter series because marketing thought they’d sell fewer books with a woman’s author name. Seriously? How come it’s not that way with cookbooks?
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Catherine Jordan is the new review coordinator for Horrortree.com. She’s a horror movie fan and a horror novelist, although she edits and writes in many genres. Ms. Jordan has been featured in a variety of anthologies, on-line publications, and print magazines. It was her pleasure to serve as judge for the Bram Stoker Award and for the ITW Young Adult Award. Catherine also facilitates writing courses and critique groups. She credits her five children with inspiring her writing material.