Writing: Coloring Outside the Lines with Books and Genre

Genre is how a novel is categorized to help the reader know what the book is going to be about. Different genres include romance, crime, mystery, woman’s fiction, historical, fantasy, Sci-Fi, paranormal … and the list goes on. And within each genre, like romance, you can have different subgenres. Experts believe that writers/authors should stick to one genre/subgenre. For me, I like to color outside the genre lines. For my books, all five have romance but it’s not the only reason for the story…

All Five Books

Gitana Life Plan: I wrote this book as a contemporary romance. Its about a woman’s struggle with finding herself again after her husband divorces her for his pregnant girlfriend. As I wrote the story, I added a secondary story that fits the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender) genre. Toward the end of the story, I realized that this book also falls into the Crime genre.

The Calling – Is it a Dream or Reality Trilogy: The three books are about a woman who wakes from a coma and has to tell her fiancé that she’s in love with another man from a different world. We go through her journey as she struggles with reality when she wakes in the hospital (Contemporary) and then when she survives in the other world (genre could be Adventure, Arthurian or Medieval). I classified this book as a Romance/Fantasy. Paranormal also includes other worlds, but this story just didn’t fit that genre.

Peaceful Plots: This is my latest release about a woman who returns to her childhood home after her sister calls with the news that their dad has committed suicide. Besides dealing with work and an upcoming promotion, she has to manage her dad’s estate along with allowing herself time to grieve. But when signs show that her dad may not have committed suicide, she’s in for another level of emotions as she tries to figure out what really happened. This book is a definite mystery/suspense.

As you can see from above, my books can be tagged with different genres. I like to tell the story by the way it unfolds. The romance part of the story is fun to write because they always have a happy ending (or promise of a happy ending) and the relationships are complex. I love that. But will my next book be a romance? I’m not sure. We’ll have to see how it unfolds.


Beth M James

Author of novels based on strong characters and elements of romance.


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