Let’s Talk with Terry Odell

Blending Genres

by Terry Odell

As readers, most of us have favorite genres. Some like romance, some like mysteries, some like science fiction or fantasy. Of course, some like more than one. But within each genre are many sub-genres. Romances can be sweet, hot, suspenseful. Mysteries can be cozies, police procedurals, suspense. And so on. Some authors write series in several genres. But what happens when a single series moves across genres?

I never paid much attention to genres when I started writing. I thought I was writing a mystery, but my daughters told me it was a romance. My romances still dip their toes into the mystery genre. And my first “real” mystery, Deadly Secrets—at least according to the editors I sent it to—was part police procedural, part cozy. As I continued the series, things moved more into the police procedural genre.

When I wrote the novella, Deadly Places, I kept the police procedural genre but had Ed Solomon, Gordon’s second in command take center stage while Gordon was away.

Now, I’m undertaking a second Mapleton novella, filling in the blanks as to what Gordon and Angie were doing while Deadly Places was unfolding in Mapleton. I thought it would be interesting to tell the story through Angie’s eyes. She’s been in all the books, but never had her turn to shine.

What does this mean? Angie is a cook, not a cop. Instead of a police procedural, I find I’m writing a cozy. What will it mean for readers? Have they accepted that all of my Mapleton books also include what’s going on in Mapleton with glimpses of its people? Does that make them all straddle the line between police procedural and cozy?

I’ve already taken several steps into new waters with Identity Crisis. Although it’s a Blackthorne, Inc. book, it’s branching out and introducing new characters. My original thought was to bill the book as the start of a spinoff series, “New Blood at Blackthorne” but I decided to fold it into the existing series even though this book has less covert ops and more security detail.

What do you think? Would you follow a series that sidesteps into a slightly different sub-genre? Do you have examples to share? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Deadly Secrets.

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