One of the reasons book genres exist, is they make it easier to sell books. The understanding is that readers read genres, and can be persuaded to pick up things in their niche, and that you have to be able to tell a person what a book is ‘like’ for them to want it.
As a reader, I struggle with this, because what I want above all else is to be surprised, and the more tidily a story fits in a genre, the less likely it is to surprise me. I like to experience wonderful, imaginative, insightful things. I want to be played with, taken on a journey to an unfamiliar place, shown something I would never have thought of. That’s not even slightly a choice-of-genre issue.
As an author, it gets worse. I’ve tried writing genre fiction, for the being sellable, but of course because I don’t enjoy it as a reader, I’m not great at it as an author – I can’t stay inside the boxes, or what I write feels forced and I get miserable, and it all seems a bit pointless anyway.
I’d like to tell you about my new novel. It’s speculative. There are lots of trees in it, and a steam powered car, mad technology, some taking the piss out of New Age self help books, something a bit goddessy, a very curious sort of slow apocalypse in progress, Kafak-esque authority figures, V-esque revolutionaries, and a really arsey goat.
(It is so much easier plugging other people’s books, I never know what to say about my own).
My test readers gave such a mixed response that I still don’t know how to pitch it. My son laughed all the way through – which may just be proof that he inherited my dark and twisted sense of humour. One test reader found it ‘a bit grim’ while a third came back and said ‘how do we make this happen and when do we start?’
If you’ve ever thought that more trees and fewer people would be good, you might like this book.
If you’ve secretly cherished ideas about the one, big, tidy apocalypse that will wipe out the people who annoy you, leaving you and your friends improbably intact, then you may well like this book.
If the idea that a novel with a paradox at its heart is bound to be a bit confusing doesn’t entirely put you off, you may like this book.
And of course if you’ve read any of my other novels, and are still showing up to the blog, there’s a distinct possibility you’ll like this book.
Otherwise, consider it the ideal gift for a relative you don’t especially like!
More about said book over here – snowbooks.co.uk/