These disparate books got me wondering about how an author chooses their slice of the universe, whether in form of genre or theme. Anna Quindlen's literary career has been built on novels that explore the world of home and the dramas of everyday life. She scrutinizes the mundane, often unobserved moments, and describes how sudden events can change the otherwise well-managed course of our lives. Yann Martell creates stories with a fantastic Aesop-like quality where animals step in for humans to present morality tales and explore timeless ethical conundrums.
I understand that an idea for a story may come to an author's mind and they ask themselves, 'what if?' and so begins the story. My question is, when the author then writes several novels within the same theme, are they asking themselves the same question again and again? Is it a conscious decision to stay within the parameters of that idea? Is there ever a temptation to venture out in another direction? Does an author say to themselves, "I want to write chick-lit, or sci-fi fantasy, or literary fiction, because...."?
Going deeper, I want to know if an author chooses their voice? For instance did Gabriel Garcia Marquez consciously determine that he wanted to write in lyrical style of magic realism, or was it as innate and immutable as the color of his eyes? Does an author choose a commercial voice over a literary one? Or is their writing voice not a matter of choice, but one which finds a home in a genre only after the book is done? I would love to write a cozy mystery as much as magic realism, each for different reasons, and each would be equally gratifying. Do other writers feel this way?
Yes, yes, I am grateful for the diversity of our literary world. I simply want to know the how and why of its impetus.