Monday, July 13, 2015

An Author's Take on Genres

One of my favorite writers is Liz DeJesus (Website | Fb | Tw | Publisher). Why? Well, every story she's written--full of fantastical characters, situations, and themes--I have loved. Born on the tiny island of Puerto Rico, Liz is a novelist, freelance writer, writing coach, and a poet, and has been writing for as long as she was capable of holding a pen. She is the author of the novels Nina, The Jackets, First Frost, Glass Frost, Shattered Frost, and Morgan. Her stories have also appeared in anthologies, to include Night Gypsy: Journey Into Darkness and Twice Upon a Time. Currently, Liz is working on a new novel and a comic book series titled Zombie Ever After.

Author Liz DeJesus

I already know that one of Liz's favorite genres to write in is fantasy, but I wanted her take on why she chose that primary genre, what other genres she wrote in, and how difficult it is to maneuver through multiple genres... among other things, so I grabbed her up and asked a few questions.

For you, what comes first—the story idea or the genre?
Story idea. I always get a nugget of an idea, and that’s all I need to decide what genre it’s going to be.

Do you have a main genre you write in?
Definitely fantasy. That is my favorite genre to write in.

What drove you to write within this genre?
It’s the genre I always read. It’s what I normally gravitate toward, so naturally that’s what I want to write.

Are there other genres you write in?
I write horror, science fiction, comic books, children’s books, poetry, paranormal romance, short stories, magical realism, and fairy tale retellings.

Because you write in different genres, I have to ask: do you use pseudonyms for the multiple genres you write in?
I do have a pen name for my erotica, mostly because I was experimenting with a different style of writing, and I wasn't sure how it was going to be received by the general public. And I'm glad I did because it allowed me some anonymity when I wrote a less than stellar book. And when I was ready to write under my real name, then I stopped using the pen name.

How difficult is it for you to write within a genre?
Not difficult at all. My main focus is always the story and the characters. I follow the natural flow of the story. If I focus too much on genre, then I lose the purpose of why I write, which is to tell a great story.

How difficult is it for you to move between genres as you’re writing different stories?
It’s sometimes a little complicated depending on how many projects I’m working on at the moment. But I try my best to stick to one project at a time and see it through until the very end.

Why do you think it’s important to have genres?
It’s important to have genres because people are into different types of stories, some of which can only be told in a certain setting. Wanna read about aliens and spaceships, you need a sci-fi book. You wanna read about wizards and magic, fantasy is the genre for you. Zombies, ghosts, vampires and werewolves, then you need to take a dark dip in the horror section of your bookstore. We all need genres because we are all into different types of storytelling. And that’s what makes writing books so much fun--you can do anything! I think it’s great when authors have a preferred genre to write for, but I also believe it’s important for authors to try different genres and try a little bit of diversity from time to time.

Check out Liz's latest novel, First Frost, volume one in her wonderful Frost series.

Fellow writers, do you write in multiple genres? How do you maneuver through the writing terrain with multiple genres? What comes first for you: the story or the genre?

Creative Passionista Shon Bacon is an author, editor, and educator whose biggest joys are writing and helping others develop their craft. She has published both creatively and academically and interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. You can learn more about Shon's writings at her author website, and you can get information about her editorial services at CLG Entertainment.


  1. Great interview, Shon. Liz DeJesus nails the reasons why genre in important to the reader (and therefore to the writer). Validating the differences in storytelling styles and authors' interests also plays into this scenario and shows there's room for all of us if we identify our preferred genre, keep its guidelines in mind, and above all write well. This is a keeper. :-)

    1. Aw, thanks, Linda! Liz did give me a lot to think about in regards to genre importance, much like your piece did.

  2. When I get a story seed, I look over the list of central questions and decide which genre is the best fit. The seed itself usually contains the answer by providing a location, a point in time, or a specific type of character.

    1. That is really smart and makes a lot of sense, Diana!

  3. Ahhh ... Puerto Rico ... good people and good music! And, evidently, home of smart authors too ... sounds like Liz has it going on.

    1. Oh, she definitely does, Christopher! :-)

  4. You guys are all amazing. Thank you so much for your kind words. And special thanks to Shonell for coming up with such great questions. :) If you have any additional questions please feel free to ask me. I'll do my best to answer. :)

    1. Awww, thanks, Liz! I'm so glad you gave me the time for this. <3


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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