Are You a Genre-Hopper?

Are you an adventurous reader? Or do you enjoy a steady diet of a single genre?

One look at your book purchases can provide the answer.

If you scanned my To-Be-Read shelves, you’d see that I’m a fan of inspirational historical romances, particularly those set in the 1800s. They’ve been my favorite reads for decades.

In recent years, I’ve met many writers who work in different genres. Eager to support my friends, I’ve bought their books. And I’ve read them.

I’d never considered reading a WWII romance until I met Sarah Sundin, but I picked up her debut novel, A Distant Melody. The book was so good that Sarah became one of my must-read authors. I devoured the other books in her Wings of Glory Series: A Memory Between Us and Blue Skies Tomorrow, and I look forward to her new Wings of the Nightingale series.

I visited my agency mate Billy Coffey’s blog and learned that he’s a gifted storyteller. Because of that, I snapped up his debut novel, Snow Day, and enjoyed a tale filled with his unique brand of front-porch philosophy. His second book, Paper Angels, is in my TBR pile mountain, and I’m looking forward to savoring it.

Not long ago, I won an Advanced Reader Copy of another agency mate’s book. When Katie Ganshert‘s debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter, showed up in my PO box, I let out a squeal that elicited some interesting responses from others in the post office. I knew Katie’s story was a contemporary romance, but I do read them from time to time. What I didn’t know was that the story includes a women’s fiction element. I wasn’t sure what to make of it when I first realized that, but after reading just a few pages, I was hooked. Katie’s first book won’t even be out until May, and I’m already eager for her second.

If I had insisted on a steady diet of inspirational historical romances set in my favorite period, I would have missed out on some great reads. By exploring different genres, I discovered some delightful surprises.

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Do you gravitate to one genre, or do you read books in different ones?

What authors have you discovered when you’ve chosen books outside your usual genre?

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Image from iStockphoto.
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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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22 Responses to Are You a Genre-Hopper?

  1. I read widely. I love a good story, no matter when it is set! I love experimenting with new authors and hearing fresh voices come off the page, and the I love going back to authors and settings that I’m sure will give me a satisfying reading experience.

  2. Nope, I read in a lot of genres. I enjoy everything from Terri Blackstock and Brandilyn Collins’ suspense and romantic suspense to Julie Lessman’s historical romances to Karen Kingsbury’s contemporary romances and women’s fiction. This made it difficult to decide what I want to write. At the moment, I write contemporary women’s fiction with romantic elements, but I could also see myself branching out in the future and enjoying other genres as well.

  3. bethkvogt says:

    I genre-hop.
    I like historicals and contemporaries and I’ve even read a few (cozy) mysteries. My favorite way to pick a book is to hear a recommendation from a friend and then discover a new author.

  4. Gillian says:

    I love a wide variety. Cozy mysteries, historicals, inspirationals, paranormals, contemporaries (but light-hearted), and some YA, probably not surprising with three girls in the house.

    I adore Elizabeth Peters and Laurie R King (I simply cannot recommend The Beekeeper’s Apprentice highly enough).

  5. Aw, I love ya, Keli! Thanks for the shout out, girl!

    I read across genres, for sure! I read a lot of ABA books. You can find me reading mainstream fiction, literary fiction, Christian fiction, women’s fiction, ROMANCE (of course!…which includes historical and contemporary and paranormal), even the occasional YA from time to time.

    You can bet I will enjoy me a historical romance sometime in July. I believe the title is called A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California by this really talented author I keep hearing about. I think her name starts with a K. Have you heard of her?

    The genre I don’t really read very often (unless I know the author) is suspense or mystery.

  6. I tend to read women’s fiction but have jumped around lately because I wanted to try some different writers and have found the experience to be good! I love seeing the styles in the different genres and feel I have learned a lot that will help my own writing.

  7. Gina Conroy says:

    I genre hop. I used to be hooked on suspense, but now I love women’s fiction and even a good YA. I have to admit I steered clear of romance until my friends started writing it. And I realized while it’s hard to get through a contemporary romance or a romantic suspense, I really enjoy historical romance!! So can’t wait until your book comes out, Keli!!

  8. Keli, like many of your commenters, I read across genres. Anything from the classics (rereading all the time) to mystery in its varied sub-genres, women’s fiction and romance. Love romantic suspense, and also dabble in some fantasy or paranormal. Love to taste the delightful array of goodies available for us to sample 🙂

  9. Cindy R. Wilson says:

    I mostly read contemporary romance because that’s what I write, but I’ve definitely branched out and found amazing authors and stories. Particularly historical romance. Jody Hedlund and Julie Lessman and even Colleen Coble’s historicals. Good stuff!

  10. I have very catholic tastes when it comes to reading. I love historical romance, historical mystery, thrillers, techno-thrillers, horror, contemporary romance…just about anything but sci-fi or fantasy, and I’ve been known to read some of that too, depending on the story.

    I guess I just love fiction. Though when I write, I tend to stick pretty close to the historical romance genre.

  11. Women’s fiction is it for me. (For now.) 😉 I wink a lot here.
    ~ Wendy

  12. Melissa Tagg says:

    Oh yeah, I jump around! 🙂 I love contemporary romance, historical romance, suspense…and I even love Ted Dekker’s fantasy books. So, I may have a bit of reader’s ADD.

    However, I make a conscious effort to read contemporary romance like crazy – especially anything romantic comedy-ish. That’s what I write, so I’m almost always reading something from that genre while reading others at the same time.

  13. I’m definitely a genre-hopper. I read and write historical romance, but I also do the same for epic fantasy, paranormal romance, and my favorite subgenre darling, steampunk. 🙂

    I read books written by Gail Carriger, Ted Dekker, Jeff Vandermeer, and Cassandra Clare.

  14. Loree Huebner says:

    I’m a historical fiction fan. I do love war and romance, so I take to the books that revolve around war in our country’s past. I do occasionally like contemporary, women’s fiction, and some fantasy.

    I am looking forward to reading Sarah’s novels. I have them on my TBR list, but want to read them when I can fully devote myself. I love WWII.

  15. I have always stuck in the realm of contemporary romances, suspense, and thrillers. But towards the end of last year I branched out and read my first historical novel EVER. Valeria’s Cross by Kathy Macias. I loved it. (I have read the classics but I’m not counting them hee hee) From there I moved on and have read several more by different authors and several different time periods. I’m so glad I branched out. I’m looking forward to reading your book! 🙂

  16. My first love is contemporary romance, but I often hop over to historical romance too. One that I just finished last night was by MaryLu Tyndall–a new author to me, but wow, what a storyteller!

  17. I love reading memoir or narrative non-fiction. I read and study children’s pictures books to help me write and for enjoyment. Oh, to tell a story in so few words (well, the illustrator tells the second part). My TBR list has grown since I got the Kindle.

  18. I stick really close to historical romances but I try to branch out when I hear good things or know the author. It’s good to be flexible, otherwise I would miss out on so many great reads!!

  19. Hi Keli! I a fan of Christian/inspiration historical romance too. I haven’t been much of a genre-hopper in the past, but with the rise of e-books, free promotionals, and blog giveaways, I’ve picked up books that I wouldn’t normally consider buying. I’ve just discovered MaryLu Tyndall, and I’m loving the adventure in “Surrender the Heart”! 🙂

  20. Oh, I’m definitely a genre-hopper. 🙂 But I’m starting to lean more toward Women’s Fiction.

  21. i LOVE that photo. i may have to steal it. not actually steal it, but use it. you know.

    anyway…i read just about everything. i write two genres–contemp. romance and romantic suspense. i really dig psych thrillers, though, but i don’t think i could be dark enough to write them. just not my personality. but yes, i suppose i genre-hop. 🙂

  22. Donna Pyle says:

    I’m a genre hopper when I know an author and also when I want to support my agency-mates. I’ve never been disappointed! Although I devour non-fiction, spiritual growth books as a first choice, I learn more and more about the art of writing and story-telling the more I jump between genres.

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