I'm so happy to be featuring Christy Hayes during contemporary month here on Words at Home. Tomorrow I will be reviewing and giving away a copy of Christy's novel Angle of Incidence (which is awesome by the way!). I'm so thankful to Christy for sharing some of her thoughts on contemporary fiction here today. Please be sure to leave her some love in the comments (*giveaway hint*).
Contemporary Fiction by Christy Hayes
Take a look at the list of top 100 contemporary fiction books on Amazon and you’ll see a dizzying array of books, both in style and content. From Jodi Picoult to Vince Flynn to Stephen King to Nicholas Sparks. What the heck kind of genre is this, you ask yourself with a scratch to the head?
Contemporary fiction is a catchall phrase for fiction written in modern times. There are many subgenres as you can tell by the variety of authors I’ve pulled from the list, but the one thread of unity in these novels is the timeframe in which the stories take place.
What is the appeal of contemporary fiction as both a reader and a writer? For me, a romance and contemporary fiction author, the appeal runs along the lines of “Write what you know.” There is a lot of research that goes into writing a novel, no matter what the time period an author chooses for setting. Thank the good Lord above for modern technology and the Internet (I don’t even want to imagine doing research without it) because much of the research involved can be done at home.
As a writer whose stories focus mainly on characters (with enough plot thrown in to keep the story moving forward), I like writing about the here and now. Moving the setting of a book back as little as twenty-five years changes almost everything about character and plot. Twenty-five years ago, I didn’t have a cell phone or a personal computer or Facebook to keep up with all my friends. If I got lost in my car, I had to stop and ask directions, not look up an address on my GPS. A gallon of gas cost less than a dollar, the average price of a car was under ten thousand, and I could get a soda from a machine for 25 cents. Popular movies included Top Gun and Crocodile Dundee, the radio boomed with Billy Joel and Madonna, and on television we watched Hill Street Blues and The Cosby Show. Why am I taking this walk through the past? To illustrate how different a setting in any novel would be if not set in contemporary times.
Contemporary fiction is an all-encompassing category for novels that are written in modern times but can embody many genres in one. Take my book, Angle of Incidence, for example. This book is part women’s fiction, part romance, and part men’s fiction (which isn’t technically a genre and could be another post altogether).
Contemporary fiction is so popular because many readers don’t want a one-dimensional book and many writers don’t want to limit themselves to the strict confines of a subgenre. Readers crave complex books featuring complex characters in complex situations. As an avid reader, I crave books that incorporate parts of many genres. I love romance, suspense, medical drama, a little magical realism, and the perfectly crafted sentences one might find in literary fiction. When all or part of these features are brought together under one title, a contemporary fiction novel is born. Thus, contemporary fiction is a fascinating genre all it’s own.
A little about Christy (from goodreads.com bio)
I write romantic women’s fiction from my little basement office in the South. I’ve cooked up all kinds of trouble for my flawed characters when I’m not driving my kids to one sporting event or another or walking my pesky rescue mutts through the neighborhood.
Please note that a portion of the proceeds from each book sold will be donated to charity.
This guest post is being shared as a part of the Contemporary Month event being hosted by Evie at Bookish, Bonnie at Words at Home and Asheley at Into The Hall of Books. Click the banner below for full Words at Home schedule