When people ask what genre I write in, I never really know how to answer the question. The question brings more than a little anxiety, as the honest answer is simply “I don’t know.”
My first book Polar Night is a detective story that features a vampire as its antagonist. My second, The Ghosts of Aquinnah, includes a ghost, but it’s really more of a mystery combined with a love story than a paranormal novel. I would classify both of my books as mash-ups of different genres. But “mixed bag” isn't exactly the answer people are looking for when they ask about genre.
I understand the importance of genre and can’t deny I have sometimes been envious of authors who write in clear-cut genres like science fiction, suspense, romance, or “chick lit.” I've seen authors do brilliant marketing work in creating their brand and platform based around their genre of choice. If I had to pick a brand for myself I suppose something involving a very confused person would be most accurate at this point.
But I also can’t deny that sometimes I wonder why the answer to the genre question can’t simply be “fiction.” When it comes to reading, I've never thought much about genre. If I see or hear about a book that sounds good to me I read it. And I can think of tons of books I've read over the years that don’t seem to fall into any one genre.
One of the things I enjoy about being part of Untethered Realms is that I love that the designation of speculative fiction provides such a big umbrella. I think I have a better answer for the genre question now.
As readers, how important is genre to you? Does it bother you if books fall into more than one category?