by Jane Godman
The title of this post is a serious question. Why do we need paranormal romance? Aren’t there enough romance subgenres already without adding in one that none of us will ever truly be able to relate to? I don’t know about you, but I’ve never wrestled a werewolf and I don’t imagine I ever will (if I do, I’ll come back and do another post to let you know how it went).
I think it’s precisely because paranormal takes us away to a fantasy world that it appeals to us so deeply. In the same way that fairy tales capture us as children (and as adults). Wouldn’t the world be a boring place if we only ever read about, or watched films and plays about, those things we have already experienced, or know will come our way?
When we pick up a paranormal romance, we know we will encounter superpowers, other worlds, magic and danger… all things we don’t see in our everyday lives. The characters are big, bold, bright and passionate. Everything is super-charged, including the romance. Emotions run high and so does the heat. The phwoar-factor in a paranormal romance tends to be off the scale. Larger than life extends into the bedroom (or the cave, crypt, enchanted forest… you get the picture).
Paranormal romance is a mini-vacation from reality. But paranormal romance is so much more than vampires and wolves, and that’s where we, the writers, come in.
Paranormal romance is one of the most popular genres to write, but it’s also one of the hardest to do well. I think that’s because of the world-building aspect. With great freedom comes great responsibility.
If you write historical romance, you are constrained by the facts. You have to stick to what actually happened and tell your story within those boundaries. With paranormal romance, as with science fiction and fantasy, you can let your imagination run wild! But it’s important to do it in a way that works. We owe it to the readers to write characters who are—not believable (because that’s not the point of paranormal)—but who work within the genre.
Take vampires (but do it carefully, carry a stake and be sure to wear your crucifix). Since Bram Stoker first introduced us to his iconic character Count Dracula back in 1897, there have been as many different vampire stories as there are authors. From my personal favorite (Anne Rice’s Lestat) to Stephanie Meyer’s Edward Cullen, they all have subtle, or maybe not so subtle, differences. So the author needs to make the character work within the world he or she has created and not cheat the reader by making the vampire behave in an un-vampire-like way. I don’t know... maybe un-vampire-like behaviour would include being able to stroll into a church unhindered or eat a dish containing garlic? You see what I mean. As long as the vampire acts like a vampire, then the paranormal aspect of the story will do its job. Whether it does it well is down to the storytelling skill of the author.
So, I hope I’ve established that, not only do we definitely need paranormal romance, we also need good paranormal romance (and plenty of it, please)!
Jane lives in England and loves to travel to European cities, which are steeped in history and romance—Venice, Dubrovnik and Vienna are among her favorites. Jane is married to a lovely man and is mom to two grown-up children.
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Jane's Newest Release: Otherworld Renegade
Desperate to flee a horrific arranged marriage, Princess Tanzi turned to the only man who could help. Lorcan Malone, infamous necromancer, had vowed to come to her aid whenever she needed him. And even as they traveled from the mortal world into the fantastical Otherworld, Tanzi knew her true need ran deeper than just a rescue.
She was his enemy's daughter. A renegade like Lorcan had no business craving a Fae princess, one intended for a greater calling. Yet he was powerless to resist the pull to do more than protect Tanzi…
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