Part one: Subgenres of Romance
By Stacey Agdern
I was talking with a friend of mine, author Isabo Kelly, and it came up in conversation that her new release, Brightarrow Burning is a fantasy despite the fact that she’s known as a Science Fiction author. She was worried about this, but I reminded her that her style…her voice, came through in what she writes.
After talking with her, I started to think about this idea a bit further, and it’s true. Despite the differences required when a writer switches subgenres, or even genres as a whole, a writer’s voice always comes through. Anybody who reads the JD Robb series can spot Nora Roberts in the way Eve, Roarke and the rest of the ensemble cast grow and change during the course of the series. Who else?
Ann Aguirre’s voice absolutely comes through in the strength of both Sirantha Jax and Corine Solomon, and in the way they deal with the insanity life throws at them, despite the complete difference in their setting and plotlines. You can see the heart of Ilona Andrews in the characters in Silver Shark, the Edge as well as the Kate Daniels series…their devotion to duty and those around them ring true and warm a reader’s heart despite the difference in their setting and genre.
Doranna Durgin’s ‘Reckoners’ series contains the things I adored about the books she wrote for the dearly departed bombshell line, despite the fact that the bombshell books were fast paced and written with a central narrator, and the Reckoners books are not only a bit more humorous, but also contain multiple points of view.
But what about authors who need to change their writing style to fit the subgenre they’re in? Lisa Kleypas fundamentally changes her writing style when she goes from historical to contemporary, but she does so rather well, switching from her trademark historical third person, to a strong first for her contemporary. Once again, it’s the strength of her characters and their family bonds that make readers remember it’s Lisa Kleypas. And you can see echoes of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter books in Kinley MacGregor’s MacAllister brothers/brotherhood of the sword series despite the fundamental change in both writing style and subgenre.
In short, as a reader, I enjoy watching my favorite authors jump between subgenres, mostly because I still am able to find the things I like about their writing in each book. Whether it’s the themes they choose to write about, the type of story they’re good at telling, or their particular skill as a writer that shines through every time, I’ll be able to find something to grin about. What do you think?
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