J.K. Rowling began the Harry Potter revolution and provided many readers with a well composed young adult fantasy series. Did you know she also wrote outside of the fantasy and young adult genre? The Casual Vacancy is an adult fiction novel that falls into the black humor category. Unfortunately, The Casual Vacancy was not as well received by her Harry Potter fans. Was this simply because of the books being a different genre type for a different age group? Or was it just not a well written book? (Hard to believe considering Rowling’s success with HP.)
What about other authors who did a genre switch? Stephen King comes to mind, as he’s considered an author of horror, crime, and ‘gasp’ romance. Ah yes my literary friends! Stephen King, who has managed to scare me half to death, has ventured beyond horror. Here’s a list of his genre-bending books: Different Seasons which had a short story called “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.” Sound familiar? Yep, it inspired the movie The Shawshank Redemption. Different Seasons also contains the short story “The Body” on which the great film Stand by Me is based. Then there was Bag of Bones, which is more of a ghost story and romance about a man who lost his wife and his experiences with her ghost.
The question is: Can an author be successful in two different genre types? Is switching things up an insult to your fans? Or should an author just say “I’m going to write whatever comes to me.” Please visit us in The Center for the Reader for a taste of many different genres and authors who are considered “the rule” breakers.