What’s hot in fiction? Do overseas trends affect what publishers buy here?
The winds of change in fiction blow quite slowly. Thrillers, romance, crime, women's saga, chick lit - they're all still popular here and overseas, and they'll remain popular as long as there are authors who do them well - and that's what truly determines what's hot and what's not.
Overseas trends do affect Australian publishers, which is why there are so many US and UK authors sitting atop our bestselling fiction lists (and as soon as more Australian writers start producing good commercial fiction, I'm convinced they'll be shoving the northern hemispherians to the bottom rungs). There's the odd little trend that doesn't translate - vampire fiction is big in the US but, despite all my post-Buffy yearnings, it's never really taken off here. And romance writing isn't really out of the closet here - it's given its own section in Borders but it's still looked down on, despite the fact that it sells much better than most other genres.
We still largely take our cues from overseas, and the emerging Australian writers who actually think about having a career - and what they need to do in order to have one - are starting to realise they need to write what people want to read, which means looking at the bestseller lists each week and checking out which genre has the bigger section in their local bookshop.