While writing is a creative endeavor and therefore excitingly unpredictable, there are some time-honored paths that authors tend to follow when considering a new project: short story writers often write novels, romance writers can easily edge into urban fantasy, and reporters frequently write nonfiction. But there are many other ways writers illustrate their ambidexterity.
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (Knopf). Having succeeded as a reporter and a nonfiction writer, Heller now turns his hand to fiction. His debut novel is elegiac and graceful as it tracks the end of the world as we know it and the bloody, yet surprisingly hopeful, life that remains.
Sutton by J.R. Moehringer (Hyperion). Moehringer has morphed from reporter to memoirist to novelist. In this stylish and evocative take on one of the country’s most famous bank robbers, he fictionalizes the life of Willie Sutton—a man who stole millions, broke out of prison, and ended up a folk hero.
The Three Incestuous Sisters: An Illustrated Novel by Audrey Niffenegger (Abrams). The author of The Time Traveler’s Wife is also a gifted visual artist as she proves in her lyrical versions of illustrated and graphic novels. This example is a creepy and moody tale with engrossing illustrations.
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (Little, Brown). It would have been a far safer bet to write a novel about Harry’s parents, but Rowling has chosen not only to leave her beloved wizarding world and avid younger fans behind but change genres as well.
The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit by Emma Thompson (Warne). In addition to being an actor, Thompson writes screenplays that she has variously turned into a novel and an illustrated diary. She now turns her hand to the most dangerous of all writing endeavors, extending the life of someone else’s beloved creation.