Monsters in My Bed: Why I Love Paranormal Romance (post by Anna)
Monsters in My Bed
Why I Love Paranormal Romance
October 16, 2015Since this is October, the month of Halloween and spooky fun, my blog posts for the rest of this month will focus on the supernatural. I write paranormal romance, but I also read the subgenre voraciously. These days, I’ve become obsessed with Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series, a world in which vampires and werewolves fall in love with witches and Valkyries. Many of the characters started out human, then transformed into something more.
In my own books, transformation plays a key role as well. In fact, when I think back on the old horror movies I loved growing up, from the famous Universal horror movies of the 1930s and ’40s to the Hammer films of the ’50s and ’60s, transformation was just as important in those stories. The Wolfman, played by Lon Cheney Jr., underwent a recurring physical change from man to wolf. Yet he also underwent a personal transformation, as he came to terms with his new reality. The Mummy, a story that’s seen multiple incarnations on screen, also has a physical change thrust on him. In both these classic films, as in many supernatural tales, the obvious transformation stems from a curse. Dealing with the fallout from it forces the characters to change emotionally too, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.
In romances, our main characters need to change for the better. How can the heroine win the hero’s heart if she goes insane or turns evil? To achieve their happily ever after, our heroes and heroines must discover their inner strength and come to terms with their transformations, both physical and internal. This is what I love about paranormal romance. Although even contemporary romances involve personal changes, it’s usually of the mental variety—learning to overcome past hurt and trust again, or finding the will to become the kind of man or woman the other person could love.
In paranormal stories, we have a broader palette with which to paint our worlds and our characters. Does the heroine have trust issues? Okay, let’s make her a psychic who’s afraid of her burgeoning, uncontrolled powers and is struggling to conceal them. And let’s make her love interest a guy who doesn’t believe in extrasensory abilities because his mother was a scam-artist soothsayer. Then we’ll add in a villain intent on capturing the heroine to harvest her powers. The paranormal aspects up the ante in a different way, injecting a type of drama and danger not found in other subgenres of romance. (Yes, fantasy romance has similar fantastical qualities, but for the sake of this discussion let ‘s consider it part of paranormal romance.)
Lately, I’ve dived into writing contemporary erotic romance. After years of writing paranormal, I needed some time to adjust to the differences and accept that, no, my hero can’t woo my heroine by conjuring jewels for her. I love writing contemporary just as much, but paranormal will remain my first love. I relish dreaming up bizarre twists for my characters. When Dawn, the resurrected mummy heroine of my Reborn series, thinks she’s gotten everything settled in her life, what happens? Fate comes a-hunting for her—and that is not a metaphor!
What do you love about paranormal romance?