Author of science fiction, fantasy and suspense

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What genre are my books?

When I set out to write novels I can’t say I really think about what genre or marketing category it will fit into.  I don’t sit down to type thinking “I’m going to write a thriller, or a suspense novel.”   I began with a plot premise, a few characters in mind who will be challenged by the circumstances they will encounter.  Mostly I begin with an idea for a story that I’m interested in.  Once the novel is complete and ready to put on the market, the various sellers want it put into a specific category.  Now comes the interesting part because each marketplace has their own list of book categories.  And you must choose at least one in order for the book to reach the “for sale” list. When I put my first book on the market at the first retailer I took a hard look at the specific categories they offered and tried to decide where Shepherds best fit.  Is it science fiction subset action/adventure?  Is it a suspense novel?  A thriller?  What?  And just exactly what is the difference between a thriller and a suspense novel?  Well Shepherds had elements that were science fiction, elements that could be considered fantasy, it was a suspense novel or maybe a thriller and it had a bit of romance.  So what was it?  I had to decide in order to have the book listed in the marketplace.  After some gnashing of teeth, I selected a category and moved on to the next retailer.  Guess what, they too demanded a category to pigeonhole the novel but they didn’t have the same categories as the first marketplace.  Crap!  What was I going to do?  Again I picked a category and went on.  This happened again with my second book, War Party, though to a lesser degree only because I didn’t have so many different elements within the story intertwined.  Now I’m nearing completion of my third novel and it is going to have to find a home too.  All this has forced me to look at what I write and “brand’ myself as someone who writes a specific type of fiction.  Since all my books could fit into the suspense category no matter what other elements may be included, I’ve decided that if I must be a “something” author, I’ll be a suspense author.  Still, all of my works have various elements that make each novel different and unique.  I think much like Michael Crichton I write stories that span several different genre.  Maybe the market gurus see that as a negative.  I hope readers will see it as something refreshing, an author who gives them a fun read every time but never boring or repetitive.