Another back-to-back feature on the Scribbler last week and this one. We are fortunate to have Author Chuck Bowie from Fredericton, New Brunswick, who joined us last week with an essay on the topic of his writing. (if you scroll down to the end of this post, you'll find it there) He's back this week for an interview with a different format than the regular 4Q you are familiar with.
The Scribbler is ever grateful to have Chuck as a frequent guest. His stories are entertaining, witty and a treat to read. You will find his links below.
Today, we’ll put Chuck on the hot seat, asking him a few questions about his favourite writing: Genre Fiction.
Genre Fiction (Or, As I Like To Call It, Fiction)
Question: Do all writers of fiction novels write genre fiction?
Answer: Certainly, there are a number of kinds of fiction writers, some being literary fiction writers, some genre writers. Literary Fiction is anything that does not fit into a genre. If you’ve written The Great Canadian Novel, in which man’s inhumanity to man is explored, it can be amazing writing, but somewhat more challenging to classify. Oftentimes, this type of novel would not be classified as genre writing.
Today, though, I’d like to chat about genre fiction. As a species, we humans like our lists, our boxes…our shelves. If, for example, you write a thriller and classify it as such, it is lumped in with millions of others. If you refine this identification—as I do by identifying my series as an international suspense-thriller series—it’s far easier, in this way, for the reader to anticipate that they’ve found the kind of thriller they were seeking.
Q: So, what is genre writing?
A: Fiction can be classified by content and theme. Here is where we find our common genres: adventure stories, science fiction/fantasy, mystery, horror, romance, realistic fiction, and historical fiction. One thing to keep in mind while reading different texts: genre categories aren’t always clear-cut. You can have a crime/mystery story set in the future (science fiction) or in the past (historical fiction). Some readers quite enjoy ‘mashing up’ genres to suit their reading desires. SteamPunk, for example, is an entertaining mashup of history and science fiction.
Q: And you prefer to write genre fiction?
A: Absolutely. Regardless of the genre (or sub-genre), this kind of storytelling encourages the writer to create a world according to their design, populate it with the characters they feel are necessary to tell a specific story, and begin that story exactly where the author tells them to! That, I feel, gives my imagination free rein to manage all of the components of the story. I like that.
Q: Tell me more about the specific genre of writing you engage in.
A: As I mentioned, I am writing an international suspense-thriller series called Donovan: Thief For Hire, and I’ve just finished Book 4, entitled The Body On The Underwater Road. Thrillers usually begin—in the first few pages—with a dramatic act. Tension rises, and remains quite taut throughout the entire novel. The climax is very near the end of the book. As a thief for hire, my man Donovan travels all over the world, taking things that don’t belong to him in exchange for large sums of money. One of the pleasures of writing thrillers is I have the opportunity to experience, vicariously, what it is like to do things I would never consider doing in real life. One of the perquisites of the job!
Q: You’re beginning another novel now. Is it a continuation of the thriller series, or have you embarked on a new project?
A: Ah. It’s a new series, and I’m switching genres. It will still be a mystery series, but not a thriller. The genre for this one is a cozy mystery, set in a fictional town in New Brunswick, in fact.
Q: What’s a cozy mystery?
A: This genre is a very popular form of the murder mystery (although there doesn’t always have to be a murder, there usually is). Specific constraints include restrictions on graphic sex, violence and language. Charm, warmth and wit are considered attributes of the cozy. In my novel, the small town itself will in a sense become one of the central characters the reader will love. We’ll see.
Q: Can you give us a summary of the plot?
A: I’m sorry; no. For many writers, it’s bad luck to say too much about their story while it’s still being written. Suffice it to say, there will be a murder or two, the town will be charming, and we’ll all be rooting for the protagonist.
Q: I wish you good luck on this foray into a new genre. Will you come back to talk with us when your fourth Donovan novel is published?
A: I’d love to! In the meantime, here’s something to ponder:
Stephen King once posed the theory, based on the notion that all stories are love stories of one form or another, that there are essentially three kinds of stories. There is finding love (sometimes known as power), losing love, and losing and then finding love. The advantage of this sort of generalization is it’s easy to sort this type of categorization. I would argue this applies to genre and literary fiction (as well as flash fiction!) Perhaps we need to ask ourselves: ‘Why the compunction to classify at all?’ But perhaps a blog on Chaos Theory is for another day.
Thank you Chuck for being our guest again this week. Always a pleasure having you on board!
Chuck’s novels can be found on Amazon
Barnes and Noble, his publisher’s site: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/our-authors/51-our-authors/authors-b/189-chuck-bowie
and at Chapters-Indigo.
You can read more about Chuck and his works at his website: http://www.chuckbowie.ca