Genre is a technique for shelving books

Revealed in Mist is entered in the contest for New Zealand’s prestigious Ngaio Marsh Award. Ngaio Marsh, for those who don’t read mystery, was a New Zealand crime writer and theatre director, and a favourite author of mine, so I’m delighted to be in the mix, and greatly enjoyed the panel discussion on Saturday. Three of us sat in the Greytown Library, answered questions, and talked about characterisation, plotting, and murder.

Some of the discussion set me thinking about genre. Crime fiction, according to a definition I found, is the literary genre that fictionalises crimes, their detection, criminals, and their motives. By that definition, Revealed in Mist fits, though I generally call it historical suspense. The other panelists were Paul Thomas, author of the Ihaka crime novels (starring a detective in Auckland), and Cat Connor, whose The_byte series are FBI thrillers.

My Redepenning novels also have strong suspense elements, with one or more mysteries to solve and real danger threatening my hero and heroine.

So am I a romance writer, a crime writer, an historical writer, or a suspense writer?

And does it matter?

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