Genres and Generalities

by Linda O. Johnston

LINDA scott-broome-BcVvVvqiCGA-unsplashI love to write.  I love to write novels that contain romance.  I love to write novels that contain mystery or suspense.

Any surprise, then, that I write in multiple genres?

I’ve mentioned some of that before while blogging here.  At the moment, as with many people who do many things, my career seems to be changing a bit, yet staying the same.

And yours?

I’m currently writing romantic suspense novels for Harlequin Romantic Suspense.  I have a couple stories I’ve turned in that are my own plotting, and I’m currently working on another of HRS’s many, multiple stories about members of the Colton family, who always seem to be finding wonderful relationships and also dealing with a lot of crimes.

LINDA adult-1850704_640My kind of story, and I follow their bible and have my characters interact with the protagonists of other Colton stories in the various mini-series that are part of the Colton series.  When I write stories that are all my own I fit a lot of dogs into them, and occasionally have been able to slip one in to a Colton story.

I’ve also written a lot of cozy mysteries over time.  My most recent cozy publisher went out of business, so I don’t have any currently in progress–although I believe, and hope, that a publisher that’s new to me is going to buy one of my ideas.

So–yes.  I write in different genres, and often read in different genres to keep my ideas flowing.  Generalities–I guess I can say I love fiction, I love suspense and mystery, I love animals… and, as I said, I love to write.  Even these days, when there’s a lot going on in the world nearby and elsewhere.  My writing has slowed as a result, but it goes forward.

It’s always fascinating to me to see that some writers stick to their primary genres as long as they write.  Others are like me and have more than one favorite genre that they also  go back and forth among–or sometimes combine them, as I do. Of course my cozies contain a romantic interest, and all my romances also contain suspense or mystery.

So how about you?
What are your favorite genres?
If you’re a writer, which genre(s) do you prefer to write in?
Or read in?
What’s your general purpose for reading?
Linda O Johnston
Linda O. Johnston, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, has written two mystery series for Midnight Ink involving dogs: the Barkery and Biscuits Mysteries, and the Superstition Mysteries.  She has also written the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime.  Currently writes for Harlequin Romantic Suspense as well as the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries about shapeshifters for Harlequin Nocturne.
This article was posted for Linda O. Johnston by Jackie Houchin (Photojaq)

Author: Jackie Houchin

First, I am a believer in Jesus Christ, so my views and opinions are filtered through what God's Word says and I believe. I'm a wife, a mom, a grandma and now a great grandma. I write articles and reviews, and I dabble in short fiction. I enjoy living near the ocean, doing gardening (for beauty and food) and traveling - in other countries, if possible. My heart is for Christian missions, and I'm compiling a collections of Missionary Kids' stories to publish. (I also like kittens and cats and reading mysteries.)

14 thoughts on “Genres and Generalities”

  1. Linda,
    As always, you exhaust me just reading about your various genres. You are so prolific it makes my head spin and I am filled with admiration for you, your ideas, your passion, and your love of dogs. How nifty to be literary enough to slot in a your own compassion for our canine friends in your different genres, and of course giving them their very own mystery series is a feat I wish they could appreciate. Good luck with finding a new publisher, Linda.


    1. Thanks, Jill! My inclusion of dogs started early on, although recently I’ve been able to include them even more. My dogs seem to appreciate it when I ask them questions and watch them for the answers!


  2. Like you, I write in multiple genres, which I find keeps my work fresh. For example, when the darkness of historical fiction gets to me I switch to something lighter, and when I’m not feeling funny, I go back to a more serious project. Making progress – any progress – is beneficial.


    1. That’s a great idea, Miko. My romantic suspense tends to be serious, but my mysteries, which are mostly cozies, are lighter, so I guess I’m doing something similar.


  3. Linda, You do a great job mixing your mysteries with romance and a few dogs added for flavor. I write basically mysteries, but have done a spy trilogy and a few Christmas books as well. One thing I am going to do is have my private detectives, who all knew each other earlier in their lives, come together for a case that will require all of them to solve. Even a character in the spy novels joins in the search, but that’s because I have created a small world where all my characters live. But like you said, I’m a writer and that’s what I do.


    1. What a great idea, having your multiple protagonists meet each other and work together. I’ll look forward to that!


  4. I write edgy cozies (traditional mystery might be a better description). My short stories are offer darker revenge tales. I read all kinds of mysteries and all I really need is a good story, which can be police procedural, PI, cozy, whatever—as long as it’s not too dark or too light. Like Goldilocks, I want my crime fiction just right! I also read general fiction.

    I think there’s romance and mystery in most genres. It’s the extent and emphasis that varies.

    Good post, Linda.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Having crime fiction just right, like Goldilocks, is a great idea, Maggie! And you’re right. A lot of genres can contain both romance and mystery, but it depends on the story what the emphasis is.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Enjoyable post, Linda, especially the crossover discussion, and of course, the dogggies!

    For me, I don’t think about genre’s any more, don’t know why, but they’ve come to seem constraining, and not relevant. Have to think about what I just said and mean some more–your post got me thinking…good thing! I mostly read/listen to mysteries, but also read nonfiction and biographies and several other “genres” my book club members like! Book clubs have been wonderful for me to “constantly” taste different writing offerings. If a well written good story is being told, I’m happy.

    Excellent post to get the mental juices flowing…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Linda – I’m so impressed how you can switch from one genre to another with ease but also speed, when you have more than one book you’re working on at a given time. I have been steeped in Hollywood’s Golden Era for so long and that’s where my Lottie Topaz series sits – but I found half-finished romances, mysteries and all sorts of stories set in current and recent times – so I am now looking forward to getting back to them. As a reader I go all over the place! As they say: Variety is the spice of (literary) life.
    Thanks for sharing this post.


    1. Thanks, Rosemary. I do have a lot of unfinished ideas, both on my computer and printed out, but keep going on to the next thing and don’t often go back to those I put aside for something else. Hollywood’s Golden Era is a wonderful setting!


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