Are you into popular culture? What I mean is do you watch shows like American Idol, Bones, Fringe, NCIS, Parenthood? Do you listen to top 40 songs? Do you read gossip rags or see all the latest movies? Some people think it is best to watch only PBS (which I happen to love); read only the classics or the latest award winning books, listen to classic film and only watch Academy Award winning movies. It is fun to be pretentious and bohemian and educated in only the finest arts, but I think if you are writing genre fiction-popular fiction-you have to immerse yourself in popular culture. It is the soup where ideas come from. It is the joy and sorrow of the masses from which the best genre fiction is born.
I consider myself a story teller, a writer of popular fiction, one of the masses. I'm proud to be that and not concerned at all that I've never read "War and Peace" and only a handful of titles from the top 100 best works of fiction in the 20th century. It gets me in trouble sometimes. But popular culture fascinates me. It is the human condition of today. I like it. Even if I can't recite it's motifs, metaphors and tropes. It is the story of the man on the street and who is more important than that?
(I'm pulling for Lee and Crystal in American Idol. ;) Can you tell?) Cheers~