As the submission process for my novel grows more protracted and, er... eventful (though still very uncertain), I'm finding it hard to concentrate on my writing. I have two new ideas that I believe are very strong, and I've started working on them both, but they are very different to each other and I'm torn. Fortunately the other primordial preoccupation of all writers (other than sketching cast-iron dragons, that is) is still open to me.
For the first time in my life I'm reading exclusively from a single genre: Kid-lit. More specifically, MG/11+/YA fiction, mostly published in the last few years. And it's quite a ride! There have been real highs, such as Pat Walsh's bewitching Crowfield Curse, and the brilliantly moving Alone on a Wide, Wide Sea by Michael Morpurgo (all hail!), though there were lows too. One book even got chucked across the room (and not in a good way) though naturally I won't mention its title here. There's been page-flipping adventure in The Joshua Files (M.G.Harris), wonderful writing in Fleshmarket (Nicola Morgan), and gripping contemporary drama in When I was Joe (Keren David). And I haven't finished yet – next up is Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick. All in all, I think I'm managing a book a week so far this year, which is pretty fast going for me.
But I wonder if all this focus comes at a price. I know that some writers never read their own genre (or say they don't), preferring to 'bring material in from the outside'. Now that I'm not reading history or popular science or picking up books at random (from Chatwin to Chick-lit), am I confining myself to a literary ghetto?
How do you read? Do you flit from genre to genre as the fancy takes you, or are you as joyfully blinkered as I've been lately?