Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Reading different genres - Kathleen O'Brien
Blood, guts, werewolves, zombies, mutant monster spiders...not my usual choices by a long shot!
I'm definitely a romance, historical, women's fiction kind of lady. Ordinarily, the furthest I wander outside my comfort zone is a nice murder mystery, and even there I prefer books written by women and cozies. Character-driven stuff with a decided absence of gore.
Truth is, I'm…well, I’ve got a very vivid imagination, and after reading a scary book I sometimes have to ask His Highness to escort me from one room to another so that the boogeymen don't get me. He is not amused.
So why am I suddenly spending my free time reading Stephen King, Clive Barker, Jonathan Maberry and other shock masters? Only one possible reason. Because I am enrolled in an MFA program that requires me to. We're studying all forms of genre fiction, and this term it's horror for me.
Actually, the class is kind of fun. I'm meeting a lot of crazy, icky creatures. I marvel at the writers' inventive genius. But the most important thing I'm learning is that, at heart, all good books have one thing in common: characters we can love.
But add this to the equation: a stolen space capsule carrying three brave but terrified teens is about to land just a mile from Old Mud Eye's moon cave. The kids have gone rogue for this trip, because moon dust has been found to have cancer-curing properties, and their adored grandmother, who brought them up, is dying.
Now the monster has a chance to scare us. And if the author can make us care about those teenagers, to know their fears, their dreams, what makes them smile, cry or yawn, then the drooling approach of Old Mud Eye can bring us to the edge of our seats.
I'd love to hear from you guys. Do you read other genres, too? Which ones do you love? I'm always looking for a great book recommendation! Can reading more widely can teach us anything about writing romance? Are good characters at the heart of the best novels, no matter what?
The first three people to offer a suggestion will win a copy of any one of my books you like. Just make sure you give me an email address so that I can get in touch.
Meanwhile, happy reading! And remember, when you're sending those suggestions, nothing that stirs up the boogeymen!
Posted by Lee Hyat at 12:18 AM