Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I'm not familiar with Colson Whitehead's work, and I have zero interest in zombie stories.  But this quote from an Atlantic interview on his new zombie novel Zone Out resonated with me.

What do "literary" fiction and "genre" fiction mean to you? Are these terms helpful to you as a writer, or are they just methods of bookstore organization? 

They don't mean anything to me. They're useful for bookstores, obviously. They're useful for fans. You can figure out what's coming out in the same style of other books you like. But as a writer they have no use for me in my day-to-day work experience. I was inspired to become a writer by horror movies and science fiction. The fantastic effects of magic realism, Garcia Marquez, the crazy, absurd landscapes of Beckett--to me, they're just variations on the fantasy books I grew up on.

I concur.  I have to tell people that The Continuing Case of Manny Tippitoes is a "middle grade" book.  But I didn't write it with that category in mind.  I wrote for the fun of it and with smart, slightly precocious kids in mind.  

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