The Big Reveal

Welcome to the Big Reveal

I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
have a new question for them.

Did you choose your genre or did your genre choose you?
What genres do you like to read?

Lara Schiffbauer, Un-agented Author
My genre chose me. I wanted to write mysteries or thrillers. I think I’ve made an Urban Fantasy Thriller with a Cozy Mystery style. Not something you want to put on a query letter! I still enjoy reading mysteries and thrillers. I enjoy the paranormal mysteries that are out now.

Mark Koopmans, Un-agented Author
Yes, my genre chose me as I fell in love with the inspiration behind Donald’s story.
WIP#2 will be fiction, not sure what specific genre yet.
I read everything – even the backs of the shampoo bottles if I forget my book. 🙂


Eileen Cook, Published Author
I read everything, non-fiction, historical novels, thrillers, murder mysteries, general fiction, science fiction and YA. My first book was an adult romantic comedy, but I fell in love with the YA genre. I love the intensity that comes writing for teens- things matter deeply at that age. I start with the idea first. If I had a great idea in another genre then I would write it. I follow the story and let the genre follow.


Kelley Lynn, Published Author
The first story I ever wrote was YA. So I guess I chose the age group. Since then, I have written many genres within YA. Contemporary, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller. So… I guess I refuse to choose. haha

Chloe Banks, Agented Author
I don’t really feel as if I’ve chosen my genre yet! I suppose my current novel (contemporary commercial) chose me because I just wanted to tell the story and didn’t give much thought to genre at all. I purposefully tried to write for children once, and I might like to again. But my guilty desire is to be able to write a really spectacular ghost story. I read pretty widely, but not a lot of “genre fiction” – a bit of sci-fi/fantasy/crime/whatever, but mostly both contemporary and classic general fiction. Which I guess is what I write too.

Valerie Cole, Agented Author
YA definitely found me. Six years ago, I took a creative writing class to balance out my science and technical writing classes for my degree. We were asked to start writing a story and it could be any kind of story we wanted. So I just wrote, and I had no idea I was writing young adult. My teacher actually had to tell me and I think my response was something like, “what in the heck is young adult?” So I went to the bookstore and started reading everything I could get my hands on: Sarah Dessen, Laurie Halse Anderson, Jessica Warman, Sara Zarr among many, many others. That was the moment I was like, “yes, this is exactly what I’d love to write.”


Jay Bendt, Un-agented Author
My genre chose me, I think. I decided to write out of my love of reading, and though I’ve read many genres, I am always drawn to Young Adult more than any other. I think there’s a lot that hangs on the line when one is young, and our choices ultimately shape a very big part of who we become later on. All feelings are intense, all tragedies are great, but at the same time all victories are huge and that’s a great feeling. I think people tend to forget that spark and intensity of life as we grow older, and I can hope that my writing reminds others of what it’s like to trust fully, to fight for the things you need to even when it looks like there’s no chance in hell, to remember what it’s like to love completely and without reservation.


The biggest reason why I enjoy reading and now writing YA is because there’s always a sense of escapism and familiarity. I remember myself as a 16 year old thinking the world was falling around me and reading made things better. It showed me that I wasn’t the only one out there feeling that way, and there are always better things. My teenage years were very lonely. I see so many teens in the same place and if I write something that makes them feel less lonely, then I think I’ve done a good job.

Did you choose your genre or did your genre choose you?

8 Responses

  1. I guess I’ve always preferred contemporary, but I kind of fell in YA. Just got a story in my mind, wrote it, then started others and have been there since. It’s what I read mostly now too.

  2. It’s interesting to see how many authors have their genre find them. I definitely picked my genre. I get tired of living in the real world and love reading about and making up fantastical things that couldn’t happen in real life, so writing in fantasy was a very natural extension of that.

  3. Yikes. I don’t know. I write a lot of different things (which drives my manager crazy because it makes it that much more difficult to market my work). I’d say my characters choose me to tell their stories. I’m like a biographer of imaginary persons.

  4. Great question. My genre chose me. I wanted to write MG and YA fantasy (think Shannon Hale snd Robin zmcKinley), but it turns out (at least for now) I’m a YA contemp with possible sprinkles of magic.

  5. I love reading everyone’s answers. It’s fun to hear how other people arrived at the genre they write in. I always hear people say “don’t write for the trends” and I don’t usually find that people (real writers) do that. Most are like everyone here, and just had a story they wanted to tell.

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