A writer who I tangentially know recently lamented* the pigeonholing of writers into genres. Authors are expected to be innovative and create new things, while at the same time fitting into an easily identifiable market. They are often conflicting goals. Where the nameless author I mentioned before felt the only solution was a poorly considered rallying cry to break free of the shackles of genre, I think the solution is far simpler. Just write out of your genre. While it's not done that often, it's not that difficult to do. Mainstream success through writing is so elusive, I reject the argument that building your brand should be the chief concern of budding writers.
Need more encouragement? Perhaps I can recommend an author that has already built a catalog of titles that refuse to be placed in one single category. Shannon Iwanski has written dystopian science fiction, and contributed horror titles to a number of anthologies. This list doesn't even begin to cover the long list of work he has published under various pen names, which truly explore the farthest reaches of every genre possible.
Iwanski's second novel A Body to Die For, brings the authors talents to the Cozy Mystery genre, but surrenders none of the courage and biting wit that he consistently brings to his other works. Max runs a gym in a Tulsa strip mall. As he returns from a Barbados vacation, he finds that his ex has hired Skylar to work in the gym. Skylar's sketchy past would make this unwelcome news enough, but it doesn't take a huge leap in deductive reasoning to realize that Skylar is the new man in his ex's life.
Max will have to use far more deductive skills to put his life back together, keep his customers happy, and most importantly, solve the murder that happened in his place of business. When I told Shannon that I was halfway through his book, he got a stricken expression on his face and asked if I had already figured out who did it. I hadn't, and I can honestly say I hadn't figured it out, even as Max reveals the truth. A Body to Die For will keep you guessing until the very end. The characters are likeable, and the story moves along at a brisk pace. It is perfect beach reading. What's more, Iwanski deftly weaves his own experiences into the character's background stories, making Max and friends leap from the page in a pointedly real way.
A Body to Die For is available in both eBook and paperback via Amazon. I highly recommend it. In the annals of artists who regularly transcend genre, like J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, and my personal hero Nicholas Meyer, Shannon Iwanski emerges as a talent to be envied, who already has a body of work to die for. Go find his work now; you won't regret it.
*In the most moronic way possible, but I'll leave that for other people to pick apart. Let's just say the writer in question was champing at the bit for Black History Month to end before he could make his point.