I’ve had more than my fair share of ideas in my time – some great, some good, some worth forgetting (although we won’t tell my readers about those, will we, Betty Jane?). No matter what the idea, though, I’ve always tended to think outside the box and come up with a new way of considering every matter at hand.
I was listening to Surf 1700, Flagler Beach Radio on the Internet recently and the DJ kept talking about all the Trop Rock this stations plays. It took me a moment, but then I realized he meant Tropical Rock, beach music – you know, The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, Jimmy Buffet. And if this can be a category for music then why not …?
Take categorizing fiction, for instance. I have written and published one novel, Island in the Clouds, in a projected series set on the Caribbean island of Bequia, where Dennis and I own a home. The setting itself is central to the novel. The story would never have been the same had I set it back in Calgary or Toronto or any other place I’ve lived. I know there are many other books like mine that are set in tropical climes and in which that setting becomes very important in the telling of the story.
So, I thought, what if we were to coin a new name for this genre? I came up with Tropical Fiction and, since it was my idea, after all, I’m going to stretch the parameters to include any writing that is set in or near, or written by an author who lives within proximity to, a beach. That way, I can include the books of my good buddy Tim Baker who, coincidentally, writes about Flagler Beach, FL, Home of Surf 1700! (There’s even a beach on the cover of his most recent novel, Unfinished Business, so he gets bonus points!) And W.K. Blais who lives near a beach in California. After all, what’s the point of having a great idea if you can’t spread around the benefits among your friends?
Here’s the complete description of my new genre:
Tropical Fiction – Set in the Tropics or Written by a Tropics-based Author – The Ultimate “Beach” Read
I particularly like the Ultimate Beach Read part, because what better reading material is there for enjoying a beach visit (or virtual visit) than a book about or set on a beach? I ask you!
A show of hands now … How many of you remember the novel The Beach by Alex Garland, set in Thailand? (I’m not talking about the movie, but the book.) This book fits very well into my new genre, this new category I’m developing. And how about Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not and The Old Man and the Sea. Or Agatha Christie’s A Caribbean Mystery, Shani Mootoo’s Cereus Blooms at Night and the writing of Dominican-born Jean Rhys. Can you think of any others? Please add the titles below in the comments section.
And let’s start bandying about this new genre classification, okay? I’d appreciate your help with getting the word out so this becomes an accepted name for the style of books that I write , and that many others have written – in the past, currently are writing, and will publish in the future.
Thanks for reading!