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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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Susie Moloney is the author of four novels, Bastion Falls, A Dry Spell, The Dwelling and The Thirteen. Her new book, a collection of short fiction, Things Withered: Stories, is available everywhere. Read more about it here: www.chizinepub.com and at www.susiemoloney.com Follow me on Twitter @Susiemoloney or friend me on Facebook. Or just wave when I walk by.

Aliens and the Single Girl

by Susie Moloney

I recently released a book of short fiction, Things Withered, stories published by ChiZine Publications. After decades of writing short stories and keeping them to myself, they are now out there, naked and alone, for anyone, just anyone to read.

Note: “Naked and Alone” would be a good name for a garage band.

The one question I get asked all the time now, is how writing short fiction is different from writing novels. I really had to think about that. What I decided was that books conclude, whereas short stories seem to go on and on in my mind, the characters never really leaving me, but just going on from their end point in the story, to live on forever in my mind. The realtor from “The Windemere” for instance, has her own show now, on A & E, called “Obituary Apartments,” selling apartments in New York City, directly out of the obituary page of the New York Times. The young wife in “Wife,” is remarried, and continues her nighttime trolling for weak men. And somewhere in the woods in Ontario, a young student continues to become one with the forest floor. And she waits.

I write about a lot of deadly women. But it wasn’t always this way.
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