A Fall Challenge

Today I have IC Enger on the blog talking about her series and a challenge that I think I’ll take her up on.

Here’s IC!

Last week I was sitting on my usual stool at a local Mexican restaurant for my social group’s Margarita Monday gathering. We were talking about my book, Blue Ice, which was published in July. Most of them were already pretty familiar with the storyline from hearing every week where I was in the script for an entire year, or at least what the Homeland Security Special Agents were up to as the story progressed. I mentioned having just returned from the Police Writers Conference in Las Vegas and one man, was new to the group, and asked an interesting question.

“Are they a bunch of writers?”

OK, I get that not every person is a big fan of authors, or even books, but honestly, how do you answer that? I found myself explaining that yes, they are all writers, but most of them are also from law enforcement or firefighting careers. No, not all of them. No, I don’t have any law enforcement or federal agent experience. Yes, a lot of them are published authors.

How did I get on the defensive here? Then came the crowning question, “Have any of them written anything I might have read?”

Well now, hmmm. Hard to say since I don’t know what he has read. What kind of books do you read, I asked. “True crime,” was the answer. All right then, I was able to tell him that yes, indeed, some of the writers wrote in that genre. Whew, I was glad we made the grade.

The real issue underlying his question is different though. It would presume that in the eyes of an individual, the “good” writers, the legitimate authors, write books in the genre that person prefers. That might be military history, literary sagas, romance, science fiction, westerns, or any other category of stories that exist out there. I am as guilty as any, preferring mystery stories and espionage tales to any other. I would go as far as to say that I prefer them to the exclusion of any other, and therein lies the challenge.

A fall challenge. I propose that I, and anyone out there who wants to play, read at least one book this fall selected from a different category or type. The farther away from your usual comfort level story type the better. If you normally read mysteries, choose a book from Russian literature. If you prefer romances, select a spy story. If you read spy stories, select a young adult adventure. One book. I can do this.

My favorite books deal with law enforcement agencies solving crimes, all kinds of crimes. They use experience, resources and just plain hard work to get the bad guys. I love those books, I write those stories. I don’t know what I’ll choose for my out-of-the-usual type book, maybe a non-fiction biography. I’ll probably have to visit a part of the library I don’t usually browse. At the very least, it will broaden the “kind of books I read,” and who knows? I might actually like it.

About IC Enger:

IC Enger lives and writes in the Seattle area, the best kept secret in the country. No kidding. Next time they show the national weather map, look up and to the left – the place usually showing green as in moderate temperatures. Yes, it usually shows rain too, there is that. You have to love rain and clouds to live there. On the plus side, no tornados. Seattle does have volcanos, earthquakes, flooding – but really, aside from that, it’s a perfect place.

Her first book, Blue Ice, is one of a series of three books that feature Homeland Security Special Agents, including a Native American Shadow Wolf. Homeland Security Investigations, HSI, is a part of federal law enforcement that is unique in the breadth of geographic territory they work within and in the scope of authority they have. You will learn things about HSI that you never knew before, that she promises.

Blue Ice also features Brooke Breckenridge, a Seattle out of work city planner, and Goldie Silverman, her friend and attorney. Together they spell trouble, and keep the special agents busy. The story revolves around bio-terrorism, foreign operatives, smuggling and greed. The perfect stage for a relaxing fall at the lake house.


Me again!

Thanks for blogging with me, IC. I like the idea of the challenge. I’m all about writing outside my comfort zone but I rarely read outside of my comfort zone. Now I just need to pick a book and start reading.

What about you guys? Is anyone else up for the challenge?

Until next time…


6 thoughts on “A Fall Challenge

  1. Holli Castillo

    I have tried a few books outside what I normally read over the last year or so, mostly because I read a blog post by the writer that piqued my interest. One I particularly remember was an historical romance. Although I go through phases where I’ll read a romance novel, they are not my go-to books. Historical books have never enticed me, but I am glad I read this one because I ended up really enjoying it.

    Ultimately I think if a book is well-written it will hold my interest even if not in my usual genre of choice.

  2. Amber Belldene

    This is such a great suggestion. Because it’s what I write, I get so entrenched in Romance that I forget how much I like other stuff. I am reading a great Sci Fi right now, and it gets to do all the things romance doesn’t, like spoof our technology and shine light on problems in our culture. Although, I am still waiting for the H/H to smooch!

  3. Denise Weeks (Shalanna Collins)

    I think it’s a good idea for people to occasionally read outside their comfort zones. The last time most people read a literary novel was for some sort of class in school, and typically they don’t like the sort of analysis and discussion that takes place in the classroom, so they associate literary reading with pain. It doesn’t have to be that way. There’s definitely a hierarchy (formal or informal) among genres. SF/Fantasy got a boost with Harry Potter, along with YA, which got a further boost from Twilight and the Hunger Games. Perhaps it’s time that more people branched out. Travel is broadening. So is vicarious experience. This is a really cool suggestion!

    It doesn’t hurt for someone to consider both sides of ANY issue, for that matter. I worry because so many of my Facebook contacts and others I meet in real life are so closed down to other viewpoints and voices. It’s dangerous to become one-sided. People forget that.

    You mentioned a YA adventure to counteract spy novels. Here comes the promo that my agent always nags me to do (LOL). I have a great YA fantasy/adventure, also suitable for middle grade readers (no sex and so forth, but lots of magic and intrigue). That seems to be the opposite of a spy story. APRIL, MAYBE JUNE by Shalanna Collins is available on Amazon in trade paper or on the Kindle. Or there’s my semi-literary chick lit paranormal, LITTLE RITUALS by Denise Weeks, also on Amazon and on the Kindle. Who knows? You might like them. You might not. It’d be OK, either way.

    As a fellow Oak Tree Press author, I have to admit that I write mystery/suspense as well *grin*, but talking about mysteries wasn’t the point of this post. I came here using a link from the OTP author site. Just thought you might wonder where I got the referral. I always appreciate knowing where people find my blog!

  4. Sally Carpenter

    Interesting challenge. I write mysteries and enjoy reading them, but at once point I got burned out on the genre. It’s good to mix things up. As a writer, the more and varied works we read, the more it helps our own writing skills. Thanks for the post.

  5. Marja McGraw

    Occasionally I read something from a genre other than my favorite (mystery). In most cases I haven’t been disappointed, but I still end up returning to mysteries. I do enjoy humor, and one of my favorites was Marley & Me.

  6. Cindy

    Thanks for stopping by everyone! I’m going to take IC’s advice and try something I don’t normally read.

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