I was asked to contribute to Amazon's Kindle Blog, and I see they've put it up. As usual, I wish I could edit it, but it's too late now.
But I would also like to direct readers to a post by Justin Cartwright below it, where he talks about being a realist, and thus unable and unwilling to write in a genre such as fantasy. He doesn't decry the genre, but merely states that his writing needs a tangible starting point - a place he knows, people he understands, language he is familiar with - and is therefore ill-suited to the genre.
As a fantasist myself, I find this extremely interesting, not least because I feel exactly the same way about my writing as Justin Cartwright does about his. I couldn't write fantasy without those very same tangible starting points. However, writing fantasy - at least in my opinion - involves taking real world experiences and then putting them through a process which is akin to dreaming. You end up with a story that has hoovered up the everyday world and produced a series of metaphors that you, as the writer, recognise because they are personal to you. All you've done is added some colour. It's a process that, for reasons I can't explain, greatly appeals to me (as it must do to other writers in my genre).
So it's got me thinking again about why writers are drawn to certain genres, and what really lies behind the choices we make. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to one day sit down with a realist (in the literary sense) and discuss this.