In this series, I ask various publishing professionals (including authors, bloggers, editors, agents etc.) to recommend 2-3 authors or books they feel haven’t received the recognition they deserve.

Today’s recommendations are by Jamie Schultz. Jamie Schultz has worked as a rocket test engineer, an environmental consultant, a technical writer, and a construction worker, among other things. He lives in Dallas, Texas. His first novel, Premonitions, received a starred review from Library Journal, who called it “a sterling urban fantasy debut with a great cast of characters.”
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MIND MELD: Blurring the Lines in Genre Fiction

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

I love novels that can walk the lines of multiple genres, so, in that spirit, I asked our panelists these questions:

Q: As a writer, why do you think it’s important to step outside of your comfort zones when writing, perhaps to explore other genres? What books have you read that blur the lines between genres and do it effectively?

Here’s what they had to say…

Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several Young Adult novels, including the critically acclaimed Winger and The Marbury Lens. He is a native-born Californian who spent most of his formative years traveling the world. His university studies focused on Political Science, Journalism, and Literature. He has published numerous short stories and articles. Grasshopper Jungle is his seventh novel, followed by 100 Sideways Miles, his eighth, coming in September 2014. He lives in Southern California.

I honestly do not think of “genres” at all when I write. I also don’t envision a targeted audience. I know that this goes against the philosophy of the majority, but it’s how I write. I write the story that pleases me, and I write it entirely for myself. I’m not a big fan of “comfort zones” when writing, either, because being comfortable sounds too much like sticking to the same old formula. I like to experiment with plot, narrative style, content, and structure every time I start something new. This is frequently challenging, but it keeps things interesting, too. I don’t like feeling bored or boxed in by a particular brand. So it’s always been the most difficult thing for me to precisely categorize any novel of mine in terms of genre and what it might be comparable to.

I think a lot of Vonnegut’s work scatters across the constraints of genre. I also admire Robbins’ Jitterbug Perfume and Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. In terms of YA literature, I’m a big fan of A.S. King’s work.

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David Nickle is an author and journalist living in Toronto, Canada. His most recent novel, The ‘Geisters, is available from ChiZine Publications through this link.

Rosemary’s Daughters

by David Nickle

One evening many years ago, author and playwright Ira Levin paid a visit to his friend Rosemary Clooney. It was during her pregnancy, in the apartment she shared with her husband Jose Ferrer in the Dakota Building in New York City. As legend would have it, Ferrer was a lousy husband, and Levin worried about Rosemary both in the marriage and in that gloomy old building. He went away and set to work on a new novel, about a woman also called Rosemary married to a down-on-his-luck actor in a building very much like the Dakota.

The novel departs from Clooney’s depressingly mundane reality, as Rosemary Woodhouse’s husband Guy sells her uterus to a pack of Satanists living upstairs. And as they wait for their little Dark Lord to gestate, the course of a difficult pregnancy turns into the nightmarish horror show of Rosemary’s Baby — arguably one of the most influential and powerful horror novels of the 20th century.

Reportedly, Levin was dismayed by the most obvious influence of the book, in creating a genre of horror fiction that preyed on what he regarded the superstitious impulses of the reading public. But he ought to have been more pleased with the other big influence: the introduction of feminist themes into horror fiction. In particular, into horror fiction written by men.
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Small Press Spotlight: ChiZine Publications

I’ve taken to frequenting brick and mortar book stores more often since beginning this column. I find myself needing to peruse the stacks, to see what catches my eye and what’s being stocked. It should come as no surprise that few of the presses I’ll be covering find themselves en masse on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, but some do. ChiZine Publications is one of them.

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