Tuesday Tidbit: Sub-Genres & Giveaway

This contest is now closed. Thanks so much to everyone who visited and commented! Christine is my winner; Christine, I’ll contact you by email!

When I first started reading romance, I’d read pretty much anything. In fact, early on, I read more historical than contemporary books—tons of Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, Mary Jo Putney, Mary Balogh. But gradually, I found that I preferred books that were similar to the books I wanted to write. These days, I read mostly contemporaries, mostly on the hotter side, and generally on the more emotional/serious side—although not always; I love funny books, too.

Off the Edge coverBut I still like to read across subgenres, partly because it’s purely a nice change of pace, and partly because I believe the best inspiration to my writing comes from writing that’s the least like mine. The more different a book is from what I usually write, the more I have to learn from it, and the better it makes me as a writer. This applies to everything from how another writer uses language or how he or she creates a character, to getting ideas from the kinds of plots you can only find outside contemporary romance.

Sometimes, this means reading outside the genre—women’s fiction, science-fiction, literary fiction, mysteries and thrillers. Unbreak Me coverSometimes, it means reading within romance, but books that are not my sub-genre—paranormal, erotic, romantic suspense, new adult, mystery-romance.

This week, I read three books that weren’t straight across contemporaries, and loved them all. They were Lexy Ryan’s Unbreak Me (New Adult), Juliet Rosetti’s The Escape Diaries (a romantic thriller/caper, a la Janet Evanovich) and Carolyn Crane’s Off the Edge (romantic suspense). The three books were all very different from one another. Unbreak Me was steamy and angsty, The Escape Diaries was crisply written, hilariously funny, and sexually low-key, and Carolyn Crane’s OffThe Escape Diaries cover the Edge was gritty, raw, and just—beautiful.

Comment and tell me whether you stick to reading contemporaries or read multiple sub-genres within romance, and what other kinds of non-romance books you like to read. One randomly selected commenter will win his/her choice of one of the three books I mention above (ebook copy). You must be 18+ to enter and live somewhere I can gift a book from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Contest ends Thursday May 22, 11:59 p.m. PST.