Monday, May 21, 2012

Switching of genres: an evolution?

Hi everyone :)

how are you doing? Did you have a nice week-end? I hope you're getting as nice weather as I am! It's really gorgeous outside :) Sunny and not too hot - perfect really. So Saturday was my aunt's surprise party and she was surprised!! LOL, we were sure my uncle would give it away - he's not really good with keeping secrets and lying, but he pulled it off, so kudos to him :) LOL, my cousin thinks it's more like my aunt is naive... Could be a bit of both. I guess it did help my aunt's b-day is actually a month away.

The funny story of the evening was our gift to my aunt :) We actually bought her tickets for a show we knew she would enjoy on the week-end of June 15-16 (think Quebec's version of American Idol). We told my uncle, because we wanted to be sure it'd be a hit with her and also, to know which date would be better. Well turns out when my aunt saw the ads for the show, she asked if my uncle was interesting and my uncle said "No, no." You have to know my uncle: sweetest man on the face of Earth and he rarely says no LOL. So she thought my uncle and cousin was organizing something for her that week-end!! LOL, so now she knows why he said no :P What's funny is my uncle thought it was weird my aunt didn't argue more about going to see the show LOL. Now, everyone's happy :)


Before I get to the main discussion topic, I'd like to give you a little update on my dilemma concerning which edition of Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong I was going to get. Remember? Well thanks to Li, I've finally made a decision  and... surprise, surprise, I'm going with the Canadian edition!!

Why you ask, when the Canadian cover was clearly my least favorite... and the weirdest? LOL. Well Li sent me a link from Ms Armstrong's forum about the cover and turns out that Random House has something really special planned!! Here are the details.

First, the edge is going to be dyed red and patterned to match this image:

LOL, I had to look up Jennie's post about Fun Book Vocabulary to ascertain what the edge was. If I'm not wrong, it's the pages on the side of a book. I wonder how thick the book is for it to be patterned with that image...

And then, the image imprinted on the actual book cover is the following:

This I really love!! If this had been the cover jacket, I would have gone with this one without a doubt :)  It still doesn't go with my other books covers, but I think it's pretty and the mood it conveys fits in my opinion.

And you'll have the cover jacket that we've all seen:

The neat thing though is apparently, the jacket will be in vellum, i.e. thin and semi-transparent, and therefore, the image imprinted on the cover will show faintly! As for the text on the cover jacket, it'll be silver and red. Obviously, it'd be better if we could see the effect right now, but so far it sounds really cool... And if it still doesn't work for me, I'll just remove the cover jacket :P

So problem solved!! And a big, big, big thank you and hug to Li for sending me the link! Otherwise, I would have pre-ordered the UK version! Thanks Li!!!


So now, onto today's discussion topic :) Not too long ago, I asked what was your definition of Women's Fiction. Well the reason is I wonder if Women's Fiction is the natural evolution for authors who write contemporary romance. This is not the first time this question has popped up in my mind... and I decided this time, I'd asked for your thoughts :) However, it's much harder to put it into words than I expected!!

Basically, I was looking for new releases by authors that I enjoyed in the past and realized my list of authors seems to be shrinking. Or at least, the list of new releases by these authors is definitively not as long as it could be. And I realized that in a lot of cases, it's because the authors have changed genres. Let's take Susan Wiggs for example. She started off as a romance author... but I felt there was a definitive shift throughout her Lakeshore Chronicles series. Actually, she seems to waver back and forth in that series between contemporary romance and women's fiction... but if you look at her two last stand-alones, Just Breathe and The Goodbye Quilt, those two are definitively women's fiction. Another author that comes to mind is Barbara Delinsky. When I started reading, Ms Delinsky's career was already well-established and I think her transition into women's fiction/fiction had already started. My first and favorite book by Ms Delinsky is Three Wishes... I think it's contemporary romance, but her subsequent releases lean more and more into women's fiction realm. However, there is no doubt she started off in romance :) Proof: Wendy just reviewed The Forever Instinct which is being re-issued in e-book format. More recently, an another author that seems to be making the transition slowly is Susan Mallery. Oh, her Fool's Gold series is definitively contemporary romance, but Almost Home and Barefoot Season are women's fiction books... and I wonder if it's the start of the end?

But aside for the fact that these authors are switching genres... my question is why? And I can't help but think deep down, it has something to do with the author's age. Perhaps they feel a disconnection to romance and draw inspiration from what they're going through in life? Or do you think it's because the two genres are so closely related, it's easy to cross into the other? Is it just a natural step in the evolution of things? I guess it doesn't limit to contemporary romance --> women's fiction. There's also romantic suspense --> mystery, paranormal romance --> urban fantasy. However, are these switches a conscious choice? I mean, when you take a closer look, authors who write historical romance are more likely to do it throughout their whole careers... or am I making generalization?

In the case of Sandra Brown or Kay Hooper, I always thought it was more about going mainstream, which is not a bad reason. Although when I consider Ms Hooper's books, a lot of her romance books had psychics and she liked her characters mysterious and intriguing... So perhaps her switch was really simply where her writing led her. Hmmmmm.

I guess my question is: Why do you think romance authors branch out to other genres? Is it simply the evolution of their writing or is there more underlying the switch? Is age also a factor? Is women's fiction the natural evolutionary path from contemporary romance?