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Paranormal Romance is Here to Stay

By On Dec 22 2006, 4:00 am

A lot of people think paranormal romance is a “fad”, something that will go the way of the Dodo in a year or two. Or three. Or four. :) But I believe it’s here to stay. Paranormal romance authors are currently enjoying enormous success and critical acclaim for writing about vampires, shifters, ghosties, immortals, gods, goddesses, and all sorts of things that go bump in the night.

Why is this genre so hot?

Well, there’s the obvious draw of the “bad boy”, of the forbidden fruit of loving something evil or shunned by society. Perhaps it’s the fact that we want love to find us, no matter what hell we live through. Perhaps it’s the idea that love is eternal, no matter how long we live. Whatever “it” is, paranormal romance draws readers like flies.

I began my journey as a paranormal romance author quite by accident. I was found complaining a few years ago on a forum I frequented that there were no good ghost love stories on the market. I remembered one book I’d read when I was a kid, and I wanted that spooky, yet seductive, feeling again. That’s when someone challenged me to write my own ghost love story. HEARTS ETERNAL was born. But I didn’t just stop at a ghost. I also added a vampire for a twist. And I made them brothers. Twin brothers, to be exact. Twin CURSED brothers. :)

But that’s one thing I love about writing paranormals, is doing something that no one else is doing. It makes you stand out; find your own voice. Do you want to write a vampire? Then make up your own mythology. Sure, everyone is familiar with garlic, crucifixes, coffins, etc… But you are a writer. Free to create any world you see fit.

I’ve been toying with a vampire story myself, however, it isn’t much beyond the notes phase at this point. But it’s about a man, who is “normal” during daylight hours, but at night, transforms into a vamp, kind of like a werewolf, but not tied to the cycles of the moon. And when he’s a vamp, he can’t remember the things he’s done. I love that idea, because it’s so different than the “tortured hero” vamp who’s been around for 700 years without finding his one true love. I dunno about y’all, but I’m kinda tired of vamps (and their prey) “O-ing” at the moment of the bite… You know what I mean. wink wink It’s sexy the first, second, & third times, but when book after book is same ol’, you gotta wonder how much one plot device is “overused”.

I want to merge paranormals with my favorite genre: the western. I know a few authors who are writing books about shifters in the Wild West. Heck yeah! I want vamps in Regency England! I want a ghost in the Scottish Highlands! We gotta mix it up, folks. If we want paranormal romance to stay, we authors have to keep people interested. We’ve got to ask ourselves questions that will rock the boat a bit with regards to paranormal romance.

Great. You have a shifter. WHY can he only shift into a lion? A panther? An eagle? What if he could shift into anything? Why aren’t more vamps shifters? I’m not sure if Bram Stoker actually made Dracula a shifter, but I’ve seen many vamp movies where he turns into a wolf, a bat, a fine mist, etc… Let’s keep that in mind when penning our fine fanged fiends.

I must say, I’m happy with the fair amount of ghost romances I’ve seen hit the shelves these past few years. There needs to be more of them in my opinion. And let’s not forget our bad guys! Why should the heroes get all the fun? Throw in a vamp villain, a shifter baddie, a ghost with a vengeance…

Keep our readers guessing. Break out of the box and keep paranormal romance fresh. If we authors do that, then our beloved vamps, shifters, and ghosties will be around for many, many years to come.

~~Becka

Comments

19 Responses to “Paranormal Romance is Here to Stay”

  1. Great post, Becka! You’ve already sparked a couple ideas :-) I have a quote on my bulletin board that says “Think Outside the Box.” You gave some great examples of that.

    Natasha

  2. kate r says:

    I’ve been reading paranormal for decades—RA MacAvoy (her shape-shifter horse), Tanith Lee, Mercedes Lackey—there have been lots of fantastic books out there. It’s wonderful that the genre’s gaining popularity and expanding so there will be more books and they’ll be on lots of different shelves in the bookstores.

    Kate [whose Summer Devon book features a shapeshifter who’s temporarily a small furry animal. Hey it’s* temporary*]

  3. Natasha, wonderful! If you write something that is different than the “norm”, fans are sure to eat it for breakfast! LOL Imagine if the Regency rake were a vampire? Could Johanna Lindsey’s Mallory series have a facelift? :P (Not that I’d ever touch that series because I think it’s perfect anyway… hehe but you get the idea!)

    Kate, isn’t it awesome? I look around in the romance section now and it’s a good chunk of paranormal romance. And the covers are so awesome. I particularly love Cheyenne McCray’s covers. So purdy.

    ~~Becka

  4. Great article, Becka. I never was one for paranormal stories myself. But as I’ve seen the genre grow, I’ve begun reading them, and I find that I enjoy them. I think the great thing about them and any type of sci-fi/fantasy is that you are in control and can create whatever kind of world you want.

  5. Laurie says:

    I’m not sure I believe that an entire, incredibly popular genre can just be going out of style… I think a good story is a good story, no matter what it’s about. I think what’s going to keep the genre going, or really any genre, is a new twist on a theme. Not rehashing the same thing over and over again, but a new angle, or a new idea…

    I mean, how cool would it have been if right after James Mallory told George he knew she was a she (one of my favourite books btw…), if she’d said, yeah, but bet you didn’t know I’m also a vampire…grin

  6. Amanda Young says:

    Great thoughts on the paranormal genre Becka. I agree with you 100%. I think it’s here to stay. We just need to mix it up a bit.

  7. Ciar Cullen says:

    You know I lubs ya Becks, and I love Hearts Eternal, and I write paranormals. I loved your article, but I’m not sooooo confident as you are. I wish I were. I think they’ll stick around, but I have the feeling something else is about to break out. Maybe it’s the genre mixing you discussed. Everything comes in cycles. I was glancing at the Amazon bestseller romance list, and there’s not a bit of doubt paranormal still rules. Hmnn, well, I keep my betting to twenty bucks in a slot machine. I hope you’re right. On the other hand, I hope my steampunk has a home when I finish it, and at least a few folks interested in something else. May we all still be writing whatever it is that hits! :o )

  8. Ciar, first of all, ((hugs)) for the kudos! slips Ciar a $20

    Second of all, I think your steampunk is part of what I was talking about. It’s different, new, something we haven’t seen that much of. But you are the queen of shaking things up. :P I love your books because they are so different, from a Mayan curse, to hottie elven sorcerers, to a magical world with an Asian flavor… And that’s awesome! Keeps readers on their toes! :D

    When I was first contracted in the fall of ’04, paranormals were around and gaining steam. Since then, I’ve only seen the genre grow and grow until it seems every author you talk to has written one.

    And I love Laurie’s scenario for James Mallory’s story! That would have ruled. :P

    While it’s true there is an ebb and flow of different book genres, I have yet to see an ebb in the paranormal front.

    ~~Becka

  9. Donica Covey says:

    Hey Gal!

    GREAT article! You know how I feel about paranormal,(looks over at a vampire I’ve got in the works) I love that paranormals are such a hit, makes finding one of my favorite genres alot easier to find!

    Take care and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

    Huggles,
    Donica

  10. Imogen says:

    Like Becka, I’m confident in the future of paranormals.
    When I was growing up, the only genres of this type were fantasy, sf and horror. At least, if there were others I didn’t hear about them!
    Fashions changed and literary snobs came and went, and different labels – ‘speculative fiction’, ‘dark fantasy’, ‘supernatural’ appeared. And then came the rise of the paranormals, steampunk, urban fantasy. Lots of different names, but aren’t they all evolving forms of the same basic genre?
    It never goes away. It just gets called different things.

  11. ciaragold says:

    Great thoughts, Becka and I’m with you on this. But even if it does cycle away, I have confidence that paranormals will come back. Everything cycles, but I love the idea of mixing it up. I think mixing genres will keep paranormals alive a lot longer. I’m working on a whole series of fantasies that take place in different time periods. The first takes place in Victorian England. Too fun.

  12. Jenna says:

    I don’t think that the genre will ever go completely away because there’s too many directions it CAN go and has gone in the past decade. It all began with horror, at least I think so. Then, writers began to write what others perceived as the bad guy (the were, vamp etc) as the GOOD guy and we (us, you, me, you know, the readers) all went NUTSO over it. Will this change in the next few years? Maybe, it already has in a way. Five years ago, they didn’t have vamps that could be in the sun, or different flavors of weres or fey etc.
    Paranormal is so popular because it has so many paths to take, vamp, were witch, ghost or a combination of them all. I love to read it because of that and I love to write it because of that reason as well. You just never know what’s coming up on the next page.. what’s gonna happen when you pick up that book with the wolf howling at that moon.. just what moon is it, on what planet? Hmm.. Paranormal is wonderful, I for one think it’s here to stay.

  13. Liz Denler says:

    Wonderful Article Becka
    And I think its here to stay.
    If it was a fad how come I’ve been reading these over 20 years

  14. cathy says:

    I am a huge paranormal fan, have been it seems like forever. Always my first choice when I am hunting for a new story. Have discovered so many new authors of the genre, and really hope that there will always be more to chose from. With a wild imagination, there will always be something new to write about.

  15. Olivia Lorenz says:

    I think it’ll stick around as a genre, but move more towards crossovers, as you discussed. Recent trends in all types of publishing do seem to be going for multi-genre books, which is great – although it does make it hard for traditional publishers to categorise them, which is not so much of an issue for e-publishers.

    I read a lot of paranormals and yet I never considered myself a paranormal author… even though my first book with Samhain is a vampire novel! I guess it’s because I see it as m/m, historical and then paranormal… almost like the ‘paranormal’ bit is ‘normal’. Perhaps that’s because my vamp is part of a folklore that’s still very much believed in today by Greek islanders, so it feels a lot more real than if I were to write a contemporary vamp story.

    Hmm, now that’s an interesting train of thought! Or maybe it’s too early in the morning and I need coffee…

  16. annalisa says:

    I have always been a big paranormal fan – as long as authors will write them – I’ll read them. It’s great that there are so many more different types of paranormal books written now than when I was a teenager (I’m 54 so that is a long time ago, LOL!) since this is my favorite genre. I think paranormal romance is here to stay! :)

  17. Liz Denler says:

    Congrats to Samhain for the 19 CAPA nominations
    Way to Go Authors

  18. Nonny says:

    I’ve been a fantasy genre reader since I was eleven. I didn’t really start reading romances until paranormal became more common. (The paranormal romances I saw throughout the 90s seemed… very campy, in comparison to what I was reading out of fantasy.)

    I hope that paranormals are here to stay. I think the subgenre will continue to expand beyond the vampires and werewolves we’ve been seeing so much of lately. But if the romance genre goes back to being 99% contemporaries and Regencies (yes, I know I’m exaggerating), then I’ll probably be going back to fantasy.

    That being said, I doubt very much this djinn is going back in the bottle. ;)

  19. Barbara says:

    Rebecca:

    Great post! When I first started writing my Xavier tales (The short stories are with PA, hoping to tinker with the others until they are perfect). Still haven’t finished the first book though (based on a dream based on true events—long story—can only write that one between March and June so I will work on it again this Spring)

    BUT—There really was a point, I swear—I do have an unusual mythology surrounding my vampires. When I was in high school, I read every vampire folklore I could get my hands on (Not just Stoker, Rice and King—I am talking actual folklore). I put that together and created an entire race (more or less) that relfects all the variations (only a few show up in each story otherwise it would be overwhelming for the reader)

    The newest book (Still waiting for the rejection letter…optimisism/gotta love it) goes all the way back to Adam and Eve to explain how vampires came into existance (long story….part of me thinks the thesis will be enough to keep it from being published)

    OK, here’s the question though: do you think the idea of creating your own mythology only applies to vampires and lynconthropes or does it apply to all supernatural/folkloric beings? If a person writes a furturistic novel, can people be totally different than they are? (Never mind, X-Men and Heros are perfect examples of that)

    I need to go to the library and get a couple of text books to last until my order comes in. Then if there is time, i need to write. My goal is to finish my two WIP’s ad polish up my first book before Summer (And of course there is the other WIP I mentioned that has the time constraint) If anyone wants to know about my personal demons, e-mail me and I will answer your questions. :)

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