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Writers on Writing and Genres

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Last week, when we talked about NaNoWriMo, I mentioned several authors. So who are they? Who is Will Graham? Who is Melissa Ohnoutka? Who is Rusty Rhoad? Where can you find them? You can click on their names to find them. Today they visit with us on the topic of GENRE. An ever-changing matter, with the coming on of self-publishing which has brought self-categorizing to a whole new level!

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So who are they?

Will: "Will Graham" is the pseudonym of a professional investigator specializing in computer forensics and electronic evidence exclusively.
His musical tastes pretty much stopped with The Rat Pack, and he still reads Leslie Charteris, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Dame Agatha Christie, and Ellery Queen.

Melissa: Melissa Ohnoutka's interest in writing started back in the seventh grade as a way to escape and create new worlds where she was in control. Those control issues tend to get her into trouble even today. Born and raised in Texas, she dreams big and believes good conquers all. When not hard at work on her next novel, Melissa loves spending time with the family, camping, snow skiing, and to inspire her pesky creative muse, photography and painting.

Rusty: After a stretch in the army (where I met my wife of 36 years) and a year-long cross-country camping trip, I spent 32 years as a chemical engineer in Conroe, Texas. I went on to become the world’s foremost expert in the manufacture of polyalkoxyetheramines. That’s a big name for the stuff you need to cure those huge windmill blades, so if you ever see one of those big windmills, odds are that it contains material made in a plant I designed or debottlenecked.

The last years I was working I wrote fiction over lunch every day, and have since retired to write full-time (as full time as you do anything when you’re retired). My other hobby is music, and I direct and arrange music for a folk choir and play keyboard in another.

What do they write?

Will: Thrillers, mysteries, humorous paranormal with a touch of romance.

Melissa: Melissa enjoys writing suspense/thrillers with a touch of romance.

Rusty: I write modern humorous fiction with a fantasy element that connects to the Arthurian legend somehow.

What is a genre? And how do they define their genre. Is it cut and dried? What genre do they put their books in?

Will: "Genre" is a category used to describe things that share a common basis. As a descriptor, 'genre' is changing constantly these days, so it is kind of difficult to isolate.
I only would define one my books as a specific genre, and that would be to classify STREET HEAT as a 'police procedural'. His genres include: Romantic suspense. Thrillers with a mystery. Paranormal with humor.

Melissa: A genre to me is determined by what drives the storylines. I'm not sure how to define my genre. The edge of your seat suspense certainly places a book in the suspense section, but classifying it as a thriller depends on how much detail goes into describing the murders and other criminal activities. Same with the romance. Suspense, danger and action are the main focus in my storylines, but since there are few details about the murders/human trafficking and little to no sex scenes these stories are listed under the Romantic Suspense genre.

Rusty: That’s [a genre] the shelf in the bookstore where they put your books so people know where to find them. [On defining his genre] I keep looking in the bookstores for the shelf marked “oddball,” but that’s not recognized as a genre so far. Nothing is cut and dried about what I write, and I struggle to even come up with a label. What I write is not comedy—it’s funny/edgy because the hero inevitably has a snarky, sarcastic outlook on life (wonder where that comes from) that he shares as the plot trundles along. My writing heroes are Tom Robbins and Christopher Moore, and they can’t find a shelf to put them on either—their books always end up in literary fiction.


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