Sunday, June 5, 2016

Pros and Cons of Genre Boundaries

I spotted an interesting comment in a review of THE PAGES OF THE MIND. The book came out last Tuesday and it's been doing amazingly well. The best of any of my books so far, in fact. Something I credit to my amazing readers who've really turned out to support this release week.

You all are amazing with posting reviews and talking up this book and series - thank you!

It's even more super cool that the companion novella in FOR CROWN AND KINGDOM, with darling friend Grace Draven, has cracked the Top 1000 on Amazon in the paid Kindle store. Love seeing those fabulous rankings! So does my mortgage company, so there's that, too. :-)

At any rate, a review of THE PAGES OF THE MIND posted just today said:

My goodness its been so long since I read a legit Fantasy Romance. The genre is so small, and its hard to find gems like this one. When I say Fantasy Romance I mean non Paranormal. Since the Twilight craze there are just too many Vampire/Werewolf type romances happening. This book is in a completely different world than our own with its own politics, religions, and lands.Top it all off add in some magic and romance and you've got me hooked.

I saw that just this morning as I was mulling this week's topic: How does working within or outside the genre spectrum benefit or limit? As faithful readers know - my books rarely fall within genre lines. In fact, when I wrote ROGUE'S PAWN, the first of my Covenant of Thorns trilogy, I had no idea it was Fantasy Romance. So, it's kind of amusing to me to have a reviewer call my book "legit Fantasy Romance."

This comes on the heels of a friend who asked me if I had any new Contemporary Fantasy Romance releases later this year for an interview. Which... I don't. My Fantasy Romances are all either "historical," as in they occur in less technological ages than ours, or they're alternate world. Really they're all alternate world, but I'll accept historical. Only that original Covenant of Thorns trilogy counts as Contemporary Fantasy Romance, because part (very small parts) of the storylines in books one and three take place in our contemporary world.

So, those are perfect illustrations right there of how working within a genre can both benefit and limit at the same time. Having my books fit exactly within the Fantasy Romance genre is fantastic and very helpful for conveying what these books are. However, genre boundaries can be so limiting - as much as I'd love to participate in my friend's article, that small addition of "contemporary" leaves my current books out of the running.

But, in the end, does it really matter? For me it's all about the story. I suspect that's true of most of you, too.


  1. Subgenres are so tricky, everyone seems to have their own definition! To me 'historical fantasy' is something actually set in a historical period with the addition of magic (ex. Naomi Novik's series in which dragon air corps fight Napoleon), whereas something like Mark of the Tala is 'secondary world fantasy'. And I'd call Rogue's Pawn 'portal fantasy'...

    1. I'd agree on those, Nicole - but they do get spliced by some into historical and contemporary fantasy romance, respectively. As you say, subgenres are tricky!

  2. I ignore most genres. I am cautious with contemporary anything, since I seek escape (although I will go around that for any writer who has captured my imagination or any story that grabs me). Your books fall into the "great story, fabulous characters" genre for me. This one is a gem.