August 14 – 20: “If you could write in another genre, which one would that be?”

thriller-roundtable-logo5If you could write in another genre, which one would that be? This week we’re joined by ITW Members J. L. Delozier, Charlie Flowers, J. D. Trafford, Maynard Sims, Bill Schweigart, Ritter Ames, Danny López, Barry Ozeroff and Carole Lawrence as they discuss what other genres they’d like to write in. Scroll down to the “comments” section to follow this riveting discussion!


Danny López is a pen name. The author was raised in Mexico, Texas, and Florida. He worked numerous menial jobs before becoming a photojournalist, which allowed him to travel around the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean and meet many of the characters that populate his stories. THE LAST GIRL is his first Dexter Vega novel.


Dr. Jennifer Delozier submitted her first story, handwritten in pencil on lined school paper, to Isaac Asimov’s magazine while still in junior high school. Several years later, she took a creative writing elective at Penn State University and was hooked. She received her BS and MD degrees in six years, which was followed by the blur of internship, residency, and the launch of her medical career. But she never forgot her first love. Dr. Delozier spent the early part of her career as a rural family doctor and then later as a government physician, caring for America’s veterans. She continues to practice medicine and lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and four rescue cats.


Charlie Flowers was born in Eastern Europe sometime in the late sixties and arrived with his family in Britain in 1975. After training as a journalist in London, he had a varied career as reporter, roadie, truck driver and record label boss. In the late nineties he formed two cult bands, and is currently an adviser on terrorism and extremism to certain departments and think tanks. Charlie Flowers is published by Endeavour Press, and is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association and International Thriller Writers.


Award-winning author J.D. Trafford, described as “a writer of merit” by Mystery Scene magazine, has topped numerous Amazon bestseller lists, including reaching #1 on the Legal Thrillers list. IndieReader selected his debut novel, No Time to Run, as a bestselling pick. Trafford graduated with honors from a top-twenty law school, and he has worked as a civil and criminal prosecutor, as an associate at a large national law firm, and as a nonprofit attorney. He’s handled issues of housing, education, and poverty in communities of color. Prior to law school, he worked in Washington, DC, and lived in Saint Louis, Missouri. He now lives with his wife and children in the Midwest, and he bikes whenever possible.


Len Maynard & Mick Sims are the authors of seventeen novels with more scheduled, in the genres of supernatural horror, the Department 18 series, crime, mystery, thrillers and erotic romance. They have written award winning screenplays, numerous stories and novellas, essays, reviews and their tenth story collection has just been published. They occasionally work as editors, and previously as small press publishers. They have been friends for 50 years, live 25 miles apart, and when not writing they enjoy their families, gardening, reading and box sets.


Bill Schweigart revives a bit of forgotten lore from the shadow of Washington, D.C. for his chilling thriller, The Beast of Barcroft, which finds a devilish creature stalking the residents of Arlington. Publishers Weekly says “Readers who appreciate a B-movie sensibility, affable characters, and a sense of fun along with their scares will find much to enjoy.” Its sequel, Nothwoods, follows Ben McKelvie and Lindsay Clark as they travel to the northwoods of Wisconsin to investigate sightings of a new and terrifying cryptozoological threat. THE DEVIL’S COLONY, the final novel in the trilogy, will be available July 11, 2017. Bill is a former Coast Guard officer who drew from his experiences at sea to write the taut nautical thriller, Slipping the Cable. Bill currently lives in Arlington, VA with his wife and daughter, who, along with their monstrous Newfoundland and mischievous kitten, provide him with all the adventure he can handle.


Ritter Ames is the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Bodies of Art Mysteries and the Organized Mysteries series. She lives atop a scenic green hill with her husband and Labrador Retriever and spends each day globetrotting the art world from her laptop. Much like her Bodies of Art Mysteries, Ritter’s favorite vacations start in London and then spiral out in every direction. She’s been known to plan trips after researching new books and keeps a list of “can’t miss” foods to taste along the way.


Barry W. Ozeroff retired in 2014 after a 28-year career as a police officer, both in La Mesa, CA and Gresham, OR. During his police career, Barry spent 4 years as a school resource officer, 6 years as a traffic motorcycle officer and member of the Vehicular Crimes Team, 5 years as a SWAT sniper, and 12 years as a hostage negotiator. Barry, who was also a field training officer and public information officer, is the recipient of numerous citizen and supervisor commendations, the Oregon Peace Officer’s Lifesaving Award, and the Gresham Police Department Medal of Valor. Bad Apple is Barry’s 4th novel, following Sniper Shot, Return Fire, and The Dying of Mortimer Post. The sequel to Bad Apple, Relative Justice, is under contract and will be released sometime in 2018. Barry has 5 children and 4 grandchildren, and lives with his wife in the Pacific Northwest.


Carole Lawrence (Carole Buggé) is a New York-based suspense writer, performer, composer and prize-winning playwright and poet whose previous books have been praised as “lively. . .” (Publishers Weekly); “constantly absorbing. . .” (starred Kirkus Review); and “superbly crafted prose” (Boston Herald).  Titan Press recently reissued her two Sherlock Holmes novels, The Star of India and The Haunting of Torre Abbey.  Edinburgh Twilight, the first in her historical thriller series starring Detective Inspector Ian Hamilton, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.


  1. Definitely fantasy. I’ve written some fantasy short stories and really enjoyed it, but I’m not sure I have the drive for a full length fantasy book. I also think that’s where the most rabid fan base is.

  2. Children’s fiction, which I intend to, and romance, which I am going to. My debut co-authored romance novel “The Jackrabbit Express”, will be out before the years’ end. Also, I intend my Riz Sabir thrillers series to take a wild left fork into science-fiction and horror in a few years, so hold on for a bumpy ride!

  3. We are fortunate in that we do write in different genres. We began our long career back in the 1970’s with ghost stories. Several collections of these (together with strange stories and weird tales) make up some of our back catalogue. From there it was a natural progression into supernatural novels and novellas and we have had several standalones published over the years. An interest in crime and thrillers inevitably led us into a supernatural / thriller crossover and the Department 18 series of novels was born.

    With our thrillers and crime books we try different genres as well. The Bahamas series are high action thrillers. The Jack Callum series are period crime dramas. The standalones are modern crime thrillers. We have even gone for a completely different genre, under a pseudonym, with erotic romance novels and novellas.

    Mixing it up works for us so far as the creative process is concerned. It keeps it fresh and interesting for us and as there are two of us it also means we can satisfy every genre we attempt.

  4. I would love to write a dystopian fantasy (is that a genre?) that happens shortly after climate change displaces millions and our food supply/economy is disrupted. It would be premised on actual scientific predictions, but also have some subtle elements of magic/mysticism. If you are a publisher and want to pay me a $1 million advance for this story, feel free to contact me for further details (that’s a joke, yo, unless you really have the money…in that case, I’m as serious as a heart attack).

    Otherwise, I will continue to write mysteries involving lawyers and drop-outs…so in a way that’s dystopian reality.

  5. Science fiction, all the way. I grew up reading the classics of early sci fi including Jules Verne. As a teen, I devoured the annual “Year’s Best Science Fiction” anthology and anything by the masters: Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov. My favorite non-fiction writer was Carl Sagan, and I proudly declared at age five that I wanted to be an Astro-Gnomer when I wanted to grow up.
    I got away from the genre in the 80’s when it became less about the science and more about fantasy and world building. Now, happily, both coexist on the shelves.

  6. I already write in different genres, YA and general fiction. But it’s funny because in a way those books are also mysteries of sorts—just not traditional in the sense of how publishers categorize books. One genre I’m interested in is the big theme thriller, where the stakes are high and world domination or annihilation is at stake. I tend to write mystery/thrillers closer to more traditional (real) crime.

    But maybe one day…

  7. Before I became a writer, thrillers were all I ever read. Then I became a police officer and later, a SWAT sniper, so, it just seemed natural that when I began writing, I was destined to write thrillers. After getting four police thrillers published, though, I find myself reading very little in the genre any more.

    Lately, the majority of what I read are works of mainstream fiction; books that would be more at home on an Oprah list than in the pages of The Big Thrill. A few examples are A Man called Ove, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, and The Art of Racing in the Rain. If I could write in another genre, I’d write books like those. Classifying genres has always been terribly difficult for me, but I would classify them as mainstream.

    What I like about these books is their ability to wholly engage the reader on every emotional level, and draw him in with comparatively mundane conflicts. They can have great hidden emotional depth, like Ove, or may be more abstract, as are other two, but they convey their stories with greater characterization and insight than a thriller does. Their stories are more concerned with how the protagonist deals with conflict and arrives at the resolution than with the page-turning, edge-of-your-seat, I-gotta-see-what-happens-next urgency of a thriller. I, however, am a “plotist,” and the thrill ride thing is what I do best, so I doubt I’ll ever make the jump.

    But if I could, I would.

  8. I’ve always loved anything history related, so if I switched to another genre it would likely be some kind of historical genre, or maybe steampunk or time travel. I love looking at threads of relatively non-major parts of history and seeing how they truly impact the larger events. I’d love to take a real–relatively unexplored–historical event and use my own characters to develop a complementary plot and story. However, I doubt I could stay away mystery completely even then, as I’ve found most of the stories in history that draw my attention tend to have some kind of crime involved.

  9. J.D.,
    Dystopian fantasy is definitely a genre – Handmaiden’s Tale, 1984, to name just a couple. Dystopian futuristic fantasy is my nephew’s favorite genre, though it’s my least favorite (except Cloud Atlas, which I love, for some reason.) But there is an audience out there for it for sure! However, I imagine most of them aren’t millionaires, but are like my nephew – i.e., nerdy college students. ( ;

  10. Perhaps critical and sales success might persuade a writer to stick to the genre that is working for them? We have never (sadly) been constricted by the need to write to satisfy high sales which has helped (in part) to our trying different genres. Mind you J K Rowling succeeded in branching into crime and those books have done pretty well.

    Maybe we write what we like to read?

    1. Mick,

      I think we definitely write what we like to read. Labels are hard but necessary for marketing and book-shelving purposes. I SAY I write thrillers, but my books have a touch of horror, a sprinkle of sci fi and even (in the case of Type & Cross) a bit of paranormal. I’m at the stage where I can write whatever I want since I don’t have a rabid following or a multi-book contract. However once an author has attained the, say, Lee Child stage, he or she is a bit pigeon-holed. When a reader picks up a Lee Child book, they have certain expectations, and even if the book is brilliant in its own way, if those expectations aren’t met, the reader isn’t going to like it.

  11. Any and all. The first time I realized I was a horror writer was when my agent urged her Twitter followers to welcome “horror writer @billschweigart to the team.” Until that moment, I honestly hadn’t realized I “belonged” to any single genre. The Beast of Barcroft was my second novel—my first was a thriller about the Coast Guard—so at that point, only half of my output was horror. Now, with The Devil’s Colony completing my horror trilogy, I’m hoping to stretch my designation to “science fiction and horror writer.” My current work in progress is an espionage thriller with a sci-fi twist. And after that, I’m going to write—gasp—a romance.

  12. Mick and J.L.,
    I agree totally – hard to imagine writing a genre we don’t like. I don’t think I could write romance or futuristic dystopia with a gun to my head . . . well, maybe if it was a really BIG gun, or better yet, a really BIG advance.

    Great point, J.L., about becoming “type cast” – it happens to actors, and it sure as heck happens to writers. I also think the idea of writing over 10 books in a series is terrifying. No matter how talented you are, there’s such a danger of repetition or getting stale.

  13. I completely agree with the “we write what we want to read” philosophy. I think having the love for the type of books we read/write translates into more interest into our projects, and makes a story more interesting to readers. But I also believe the wider my reading habits are, the I can see ways to develop my own mysteries in different ways. I love reading books that sort of blend genres, and I think that’s one of the benefits of publishing today over publishing a generation ago.

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