I saw an interesting question posted on a social media site: How many writers write in the same genre as they read? I took a moment to consider that – at first, my answer was “no”, I don’t normally write in the same category, but when I took a second look, I found the answer was not as simple as all that.
One my favourite genres to read is historical fiction and non-fiction – more specifically the history of Tudor England. I have a whole shelf dedicated to King Henry VII, King Henry VIII and all his wives, Mary Tudor and of course Elizabeth. I also have books on the Queens’ of England prior to the Tudor reign. I find Tudor England fascinating in all its horrific glory. There are more villains, heroes, femme fatales’ intrigue and mystery than in most fiction I have read. I love to escape to that tumultuous time during my break from writing.
I indulge in this historical world and yet, I write in the present. I blog about my life with RA, write guest posts for other sites and contribute to health articles. In writing about chronic illness, I always try to find the silver lining. My poetry bounces between shadow and light. In my fiction, I lean towards the dark and sinister side of human nature. I am attracted to characters I love to hate. I never connected my style of writing to history, but after some thought I realized that I tend to write about some of the same aspects – the survivors of Tudor England were untouchable in their exhibition of the darkness of human nature.
I suppose in answer to the question, “do I write in the same genre as I read”, I’d have to say both “yes and no”. I am influenced by some features as the things I read today, although, it doesn’t always fit into the same genre. And of course, I can’t overlook my younger years when I was drawn to the alluring stories of Stephen King – his influence lives on in some of the crime noir and supernatural thrillers I have produced. I think all writers absorb bits and pieces of the things they read and unconsciously adapt them to their own style – and that’s what makes writing a distinctive and fascinating occupation.
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.