When an author writes in multiple genres, or writes cross-genre books, some clarification can be in order now and then. So I’ll explain a bit about a few of the genres I write.
Historical fiction is one of my all-time favorite genres, so it makes sense that I’d want to write books with a historical feel. Because the historical stories I write are fictional history in completely fictional worlds, they aren’t solely historical fiction. They’re historical fantasy fiction.
Yes, “fantasy” does have certain connotations. There’s usually an expectation of magic, mythical creatures, and the like, but my stories don’t have those fantastical elements. Their “fantasy” label simply signifies that the history, geography, characters, languages, etc. in the books are all imagined, not factual. (Of course, in my role as the English-speaking translator for my characters, I do translate most of their dialogue into English. 😉 )
These stories will likely appeal to you if you’re a historical fiction fan who can enjoy a story with history that’s purely from an author’s imagination. If you’re a fantasy fiction fan who enjoys fictional worlds and some world building, my historical fantasy fiction may appeal to you as well.
Coming of Age
A character’s age alone does not determine the genre or age-appropriateness of a book.* For instance, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is told from the perspective of a little girl, but that doesn’t mean it’s a children’s book.
Although, thus far, the main characters in my books have tended to be, say, in their thirties or younger, I didn’t write the books specifically or only for readers of corresponding ages. On a related note, where the whole kit and caboodle of my books are concerned, you’ll find a range of ages in the stories, from characters in their childhood years to characters in their twilight years.
When I label one of my books as “coming of age,” it signifies that the main characters are young but that they’ll reach a major turning or maturing point in life, or that the stories follow the characters from childhood or their teenage years to adulthood. This includes my coming of age romances. After all, adulthood isn’t where life begins, and for a lot of people, adulthood isn’t where love begins, either.
You don’t have to be a young adult or a twenty- or thirty-something reader to enjoy my coming of age stories—or any of my stories, for that matter. You just have to be interested in human beings and what humans experience, no matter their ages.
Romances vs. Love Stories
Even though a book may have a romantic storyline, or a romance within the storyline, it doesn’t necessarily make the book a romance, genre wise. In a romance book, romance must be the central aspect of the plot. Also, the plot in a romance book follows a specified progression (formula), and that includes a “Happily Ever After” ending where the romantic couple ends up together.
A love story, on the other hand, may be just as romantic, but it doesn’t necessarily follow the romance genre formula. For instance, if the romantic aspect of a plot doesn’t show up until fairly late in a book because the hero and heroine don’t meet each other until then, it’s not a romance. It’s a love story. If at the end of a book, the romantic hero and heroine are going their separate ways for a time, and the status of their relationship is left open-ended, it’s not a romance. It’s a love story.
When I label one of my books as a “love story,” it signifies that romantic love is a significant theme in the book, but the book isn’t of the romance genre. If you’re like me and believe that romantic love is a vital and universal part of life, and you enjoy seeing that kind of love portrayed in fiction, then my romances and love stories may appeal to you.
I hope that all makes sense!
*Note: as for the content, I’d say my books fall within the “PG” to “PG-13ish” range. No profanity or explicit sex. When there’s violence, it isn’t gratuitous, and any substance use is mild or brief. I don’t set out to write squeaky-clean or unrealistically sanitized fiction, since real life can get messy, but I don’t include “mess” for the sake of it, either.