Friday, August 7, 2015

GENRE AND GENDER IN FICTION. A male or female skew in readers of Egypt archaeology adventure thrillers?

Who reads archaeological adventure thrillers?

I write Egypt novels, but sometimes wonder – are writers the best judges of their appeal, their true readers or of their own genre?
The dictionary describes genre as a ‘category of artistic composition’ or ‘kind’.
My books have been variously described as investigative novels, archaeological adventures, adventure thrillers and action adventures. 
I am reminded of Hamlet, where Shakespeare has some fun with the idea of genres and cross-genres when the old windbag Polonious speaks of “tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, or poem unlimited…”
Yes, my lead character is a man, Anson Hunter, an unusual, alternative Egyptologist with a sardonic line of wit, an agreeable nature and appealing flexibility.
But what of the female appeal?
The experiential young Coptic Egyptologist Kalila Nawal - we first meet her in The Smiting Texts.
The beguiling She-she-shet who appears in inset tale of the Great Destroyer of Humankind (The Smiting Texts, also in a stand alone novelette Hunting Hathor).
The glamorous university chair of the Middle Eastern Department, Dr Melinda Skilling who appears throughout the series.
The sultry antiquities Egyptian-Greek thief Alexia - The Hathor Holocaust.
The androgynous head of a new age group who calls herself Lady Neith - The Hathor Holocaust
The British intelligence agent Gemma Laughton -The Hathor Holocaust.
The mysterious female Mossad agent Zara Margolin - The Ibis Apocalypse.
The young ‘space archaeologist’ Dr Katy Parkinson - The Anubis Intervention… 
Isis in 'The Egyptian Mythology Murders'...
… to name just a few.
Many women readers enjoy my novels – do they think they are reading ‘male adventures’?