Genre wasn't an issue during the writing. There was a story to tell, and that was that. But when it came time for submission to agents and publishers, genre was critical in choosing the right ones--because most agents and publishers handle a particular set of genres and don't want to see anything else.
I decided "Paranormal Fantasy" was the closest fit among industry standard categories. But it really is a hybrid. There's a strong Science Fiction element, with most of three chapters devoted to that, but the pervasive theme involves angels, demons, and supernatural apparitions. It's not a traditional Romance, but the heart beating at its core is an aching love story. And, of course, the title and the book overall concern the nature of the Afterlife. But I had to pick one genre in the hope it wouldn't be rejected out of hand, without even being read, as too unfocused to market.
I expect it will be assigned to the Sci-Fi and Fantasy shelves, and that's where it belongs. I plan to do a straight Sci-Fi book once the Beyond Trilogy is done, and I already have the premise worked out. It will be called Space Radio, and will tell the story of a lone man with a small private starship, coursing through the galaxy listening to broadcasts from the planets he passes. I'm fully aware of the plausibility hazards implicit in that description, but there's a lot more to it and I've resolved most of the problems in my head.
But enough of that; I have two more Beyond books to do before I can even think about what comes next. I hope the stunning (in my view) climax at the end of the trilogy will sell the whole set well enough to make me a fulltime writer. One can dream, right? And the best fiction writers, I feel, are the ones with their heads in the clouds. -Mark