Kathy Carlton Willis

Kathy Carlton Willis shines the light on God and His people through her communications firm as: writer, publicist, writer's coach, book doctor, speaker, and more. She’s built a network of industry connections and is affiliated with Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and American Christian Fiction Writers. Her columns and book reviews have appeared online and in print. She served as grammar guru for three publications and ghostwrites books and e-books. Kathy is a contributing author for The Reason We Speak, It Happened By Design: A Series of God-Incidence Stories and Groovy Chicks’ Road Trip to Peace. She has a background in newspaper journalism as copyeditor and feature writer. She is a contributor and editor of daily devotions for The Christian Pulse. Kathy and her pastor/husband minister together in Raymondville, Texas. She set up a church library and served as librarian for several years and also has facilitated church book clubs. Read her professional blog at http://kcwcomm.blogspot.com and learn more about her at http://www.kathycarltonwillis.com/.

Comfort Zone—Inside and Out

Your one-stop CFOM resource—chock-full of how-tos and helpful hints—equipping you to get more out of your reading. Designed for the individual, libraries, and book clubs.

What is inside your reading comfort zone? Do you have certain genres you prefer over others? Below is a non-inclusive list of fiction genres. Which ones do you gravitate to?

Fantasy/Science Fiction/Speculative Fiction
Contemporary Fiction
Historical Fiction
Women’s Fiction
Legal Suspense
Cozy Mystery
Young Adult

Perhaps your comfort zone means you only read certain authors—and you read every single one of their titles. It’s great to know that if you like one title by an author, you might like their other titles. Make a list of the top ten authors you love most. Do a search online or at your local library to find all their titles. Read the rest of their books. It makes sense to read Book One before you read Book Two or Three in a series, if at all possible. Then move from series to series until you have strategically read each book produced by your favorite authors. Reading all of these books by our favorite authors feeds our desire for the familiar—safe within our comfort zones.

The word comfort makes me think of comfort food, comfie clothes, and at the end of the day, crashing into my own bed. It’s fleece blankets, old T-shirts, my regular route to church, and rolls—yeast rolls dripping with butter. There’s a lot to be said for comfort. Nothing wrong with being comfortable. Or camping out in the comfort zone.

But the phrase comfort zone also reflects a sense of status quo. Safe and secure because of familiarity. There’s no risk, no cost, no change. Nothing new. Sameness.

Why not leave your reading comfort zone and try new territory? Maybe you’ll discover that even though you like contemporary fiction, you’ll learn that legal suspense feeds the closet lawyer or detective in you.

Maybe you normally enjoy literary fiction but realize that chick-lit isn’t all fluff after all. It’s time to find the good in other forms of fiction.

Or if you need to take a baby step out of the comfort zone, why not try other forms of similar genres? If you like suspense, try mysteries or cozy mysteries. If you like historical fiction, try biblical fiction. If you like women’s fiction, try chick-lit.

If authors can write in different genres successfully (and they do), we readers can read in different genres and live to tell about it (and we will)!

Let’s all set a goal to read titles and authors outside of our comfort zones in 2010.

Reading Assignment:
1. Read a new book title from one of your favorite authors. (In Comfort Zone)
2. Find a new title to read in one of your favorite genres. (In Comfort Zone)
3. Read a new author in your favorite genre. (Leaving Your Comfort Zone)
4. Try a new genre on for size—you might like it! (Outside Your Comfort Zone)

Extra Credit:
Check out this link to find new books and authors to fit your likes. It’s a great comparison list. (“If you like this author, you might also like these authors.”) http://acfw.com/readers/authorcomparison.shtml


Kathy CArlton Willis