August 26 – September 1: “Besides thrillers, what other genres do you love to read/write?”

thriller-roundtable-logo5Everyone here at ITW loves thrillers, but this week we’re wondering what other genres you love to read and even write? Join ITW Members Alex Segura, Lynn Chandler Willis, Ann Simas and J. H. Bográn as they discuss stepping out side the thriller genre. Scroll down to the “comments” section to follow along. You won’t want to miss this!


Alex Segura is the author of the Pete Fernandez mystery series set in Miami, short stories that have appeared in numerous anthologies, and a number of best-selling and critically acclaimed comic books. He also co-writes the LETHAL LIT podcast.



J. H. Bográn is an international author of novels, short stories and scripts for television and film. He’s the son of a journalist, but ironically prefers to write fiction rather than facts. His genre of choice is thrillers, but he likes to throw in a twist of romance into the mix. He currently divides his time as resource development manager for Habitat for Humanity Honduras, teaching classes at a local university, and writing his next project. He lives in San Pedro Sula, Honduras with his wife, three sons and a “Lucky” dog. His motto is “I never tell lies, I only write them!”


Ann Simas lives in Oregon, but she is a Colorado girl at heart, having grown up in the Rocky Mountains. She has been an avid reader since childhood and penned her first fiction “book” in high school. She particularly likes to write mystery-thriller-suspense with a love story and paranormal or supernatural elements. She is the author of 27 novels, 1 short-story collection, and 1 novella. An award-winning watercolorist and a budding photographer, Ann enjoys needlework and gardening in her spare time. She is her family’s “genealogist” and has been blessed with the opportunity to conduct first-hand research in Italy for both her writing and her family tree. The genealogy research from decades old documents in Italian, she says, has been a supreme but gratifying challenge.


Award-winning author Lynn Chandler Willis was the first woman in a decade to win the Private Eye Writers of America’s Best 1st PI Novel with her Shamus-nominated book, Wink of an Eye. Her traditional mystery series featuring newspaper publisher and reporter Ava Logan kicked off with Tell Me No Lies. The series continues in June and July 2019 with Tell Me No Secrets and Tell Me You Love Me. Her first published novel, The Rising, won the Grace Award for Execellence in Faith-based Fiction. Her work usually features small towns with big characters. She lives in the heart of North Carolina with Finn, a rescue border collie, and hopes to one day retire to the Appalachian region she often writes about.


  1. This Roundtable question really fits me since I not only write thrillers (romantic suspense) but historical novels. I used to set those books in the Elizabethan age but in the last five years have focused on the Victorian/Edwardian ages in both England and the US. (Think Downton Abbey.) I have found that suspense is a huge part of all my historicals. There is much personal and political intrigue especially in my books set during WW I and WW II. Even the title of the next historical which will be out next year suggests intrigue: THE QUEEN’S SECRET: A NOVEL OF ENGLAND’S WW II QUEEN. As my agent says, “All good writing is suspense writing.”

    1. I wholeheartedly agree with your agent. Withholding information and leaving clues is the writer’s stock and trade. As for me, I also read historical fiction, history, literary fiction, a bit of philosophy and the classics.

  2. In addition to thrillers, I also love to write mystery and suspense, both with a love story and usually with some kind of paranormal or supernatural element. I also like to write romance. Out of the 27 books I have in print, 8 are in my Christmas Valley Romances series, with two more coming out in November.

    These days, as an indie author, it’s a plus to be able to write cross-genre books. For instance, in my latest Grace Gabbiano Mystery (released July 29), I write a mystery with science fiction overtones (UFOs, aliens, cattle mutilations, abductions) and an ongoing, underlying romantic element between the two main characters. Underlying, because Grace doesn’t date coworkers.

    Dean Koontz heavily influenced my decision to write cross-genre in my books. He bemoans being saddled as a horror writer, and I can see why. He has mystery, suspense, thrills, and romance in every book. The horror aspects are few and far between. I’m not sure why traditional publishers resist cross-genre books, because readers obviously like to read them.

    I don’t read while I’m writing, unless it’s nonfiction. I don’t want to be influenced by other writers’ words or stories. Reading nonfiction, primarily for research, is rewarding, regardless. I love learning.

  3. Frank Sinatra is one of my favorite singers. A song that’s always on my playlist is titled “That´s Life,” and this part comes to mind when thinking about this topic.

    “I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate
    A poet, a pawn and a king!”

    And that line pretty much sums up my writing as well. I have a soft spot for thrillers. It was the pen of Clive Cusler, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, and Ken Follet that made writing books so easy I might as well give it a try.

    Back in the day when I had no real access to books and had to read whatever I could get my hands into had an impact. I was exposed to romances, lots of romances, sci-fi, and even some high literature.

    I’ve continued to vary my intake, and always try to at least have one classic book in every year’s list.

    As for my writing, I’ve attempted comedy, romance, horror, and fantasy. But all of those on formats other than novels. I wrote a horror comic book, yeah, it was kind of graphic, or it will be when it’s finally released. Comedy and romance I tackled through short stories, and scripts.

    So yeah, I try a bit of everything, and I think it broadens my horizon.

  4. I love reading science fiction, graphic novels, memoirs, true crime, and biographies – and it tends to even out with crime novels. Especially when I’m writing a crime novel. I find it hard to listen to another writer’s voice while I’m trying to perfect my own, so that’s usually when I shift to other genres, so I can get out of my own head while writing.

  5. Posted on behalf of Lynn Chandler Willis:

    I love noir. I love the gritty, the darkness, the underbelly of humanity. Especially Southern noir. I’m also a sucker for literary. And combine a crime novel with literary elements––wow! I can’t turn the pages fast enough. I also read and enjoy (does that make me kinda weird?) true crime. I like authorized biographies, non-fiction adventure books (Climbing Everest was on my bucket list. Don’t laugh.) But, everything listed above is a small part of my library. By far the majority of what I read is thriller, suspense, and mystery.

    1. No shame in true crime at all – I think it’s great and entertaining, even if unfortunately true. Also great fodder for our own work. Though, I’ll quibble with the distinction between “literary” and “crime” – it’s all one big bucket for me. I don’t like pigeonholing stuff as genre vs. literary. But your mileage may vary.

      1. In “literary” I mean Cold Mountain (insert smily face). Took me three tries to get past the first page but after leaving it on my book shelf for a few years, I tried it again and it clicked. The way the words worked together was pure magic. To me anyway. I think that’s one you either love or you loathe.

  6. I started out writing romance and veered into romantic suspense. For the reasons others have mentioned I don’t read in the rom sus genre much. I tend to read a lot of crime with other books thrown in eg I recently read Fathers and Children by Turgenev because my discussion group was doing a course on Russian culture. I like to catch up on well known classic authors I haven’t read, too.

    Many many years ago I started reading my way through the local library. I started at A and took the first couple of books on the shelf. I kept this going (through two moves of library venue) until recently when they reshelved the books by genre which completely stuffed up my system. I did it to make myself read books I wouldn’t normally choose and it sure worked! After about 30 years I made it to H. 🙂

MATCH UP: In stores now!


ThrillerFest XVI: Register Today!



One of the most successful anthologies in the history of publishing!