I was talking to an editor friend of mine today about what genre I read most. Right now (and for probably the last year or two) it's been historical fiction. I really enjoy the regency period and all the different rules of society that were in place then.
I was wondering to myself if my editor friend thought that since I write suspense, I should read suspense. I mean, isn't it generally accepted that the best writers are really good readers?
But as I thought more about this, I decided that nowhere does it say you have to be well-read in the genre that you write. I can glean the same information about rhythm, dialogue, setting etc., from a historical as I can from a suspense. Granted, suspense has different beats to it, but the basic structure is very similar from the writing aspect.
So, my conclusion is, I don't have to read a lot of suspense to be a good suspense writer myself. And I also realized that I might want to write a historical sometime. Even typing that scares me a little, because I have always written romantic suspense and I'm comfortable there.
But maybe I'm closer to the time where I want to shake things up. Change genres. Write a historical! *covers mouth* But not today. It's still a bit too scary.
What do you think? Can writers successfully switch genres and write something completely different?