To many readers, the name Shel Silverstein (1930-1999) turns on the lights in their attics about poetry books for kids. But Silverstein had a long and varied career as a newspaper and magazine cartoonist, and as a songwriter: one of his hit songs was A Boy Named Sue.
Authors who keep to one genre of writing can certainly become specialists in their fields, although they’re also undertaking to search the same mine for new veins, in order to keep their output fresh. For some, this presents no problem: they were fortunate enough to have struck a mother lode, where their imaginations can excavate profitably for perhaps as long as a lifetime. Most end up moving mountains of slag, to produce each story.
For others, digging for more stories in the same genre feels claustrophobic: going down a dark mine shaft when they’d rather be working out in the open, traveling the territory and…
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