A Paranormal Virgin

No, that's not the title of a new erotic romance from Mia Varano!

To celebrate Paranormal week here at Fierce Romance, I’m going to post a bunch of questions for you Paranormal fans from a newcomer to the genre. I have to admit, I haven’t read many Paranormals. When I made my way back to Romance after several years’ absence, I was surprised it was a Romance genre at all, and of course, it’s exploded in popularity over the past few years.

First, how did this genre get started? Did it begin with Time Travel stories? I did read Jack Finney’s Time and Again, which I loved. It’s sort of a mystery and romance, but mostly a recreation of New York City in the 1880’s. But that book was published many years ago. I’m aware of a few time travel romance movies, such as Kate and Leopold, which came out in 2001. Did this occur at the beginning of the phenomenon in Romance or simply dovetail onto it?

I gather vampires are very popular in Paranormals and may have even reached the point of saturation, which seems odd since I’ve never read one! Did all this fascination with vampires start with Anne Rice’s books? I read her entire series of vampire books, starting with Interview With a Vampire, and loved them. I also read The Witching Hour but then couldn’t get into Lasher. Again, I wouldn’t characterize these books as Romances. Did Rice inspire the vampire trend, or was it Buffy the Vampire Slayer? I never saw that show, although I do know it starred the actress who played Kendall Hart on All My Children (Tess will be so proud of me!)

And how about werewolves? Where did the idea come from that men who transformed into wolves were sexy? The werewolf story with which I’m most familiar is An American Werewolf in London. Great movie but hardly a Romance!

Now there are ghosts, witches, and shapeshifters populating Paranormals. The story ideas must be endless, and I imagine that’s part of the attraction for both writers and readers of Paranormals.

I hear a lot about “world building” in relation to Paranormals. I’m guessing that applies not only to stories that are set in another galaxy, but stories that have to have a frame or background for its “creatures.” How they come about, what special powers they have, what can bring them down. Do most Paranormal writers build their worlds from scratch, or do they borrow elements from other writers? Do vampires still fear garlic and are werewolves wary of the silver bullet in Paranormals?

It’s kind of fun to think that there’s a whole genre out there waiting to be discovered…by me! So tell me your Paranormal secrets, preferences, favorite authors, and what you think will be the next big thing in Paranormals.

And if you like werewolf stories, check out Cynthia Eden’s Caged Wolf in Secrets Volume 21 (cover above because I can't seem to figure out how to put a picture anywhere else!)


Liane Gentry Skye said...

I think the appeal of paranormal, for me, is that there are no rules. And there is no greater thrill than building my own world with its own set of rules to heighten the tension in my stories. As much as I love reading about them, I don't write about vamps and weres...as much as I love them.

I'm captivated by underwater worlds, so mermaids, selkies, water sprites, sea nymphs....these are the beings that haunt my tales. And because they're notoroiously seductive in myth and legend, they lend themselves naturally to passionate encounters.

Great topic. Welcome to the dark side. :)

Mia Varano said...

Hi Liane,

Ooh, I didn't even think of mermaids and sea nymphs! A mermaid could pose some...uh...interesting challenges when writing a love scene.

When's your Red Sage release due, and is it an underwater story?

Cynthia Eden said...

Mia--I think that would be a great title!! :-)

I'm not real sure when the paranormal tide turned so big, but I am very grateful for that turn! I first got hooked on Jayne Ann Krentz's (or maybe she published these as Jayne Castle) Gift of Fire and Gift of Gold books--great psychic paranormal stories. Then, my addiction with vampires really latched on when I found Christine Feehan's "Dark" books.

The next big thing? Hmmm...good question. I've heard some folks say demons and since I'm writing a demon story now, well, I really, REALLY hope that's the case!

(And thank you for mentioning my wolf story!!)

Tess Mallory said...

Great blog, Mia, and some interesting questions! I think Time Travel started the whole paranormal genre, along with Ghost romances, both starting in the early nineties. Then once publishers saw the interest in the avant-garde romances, and with the popularly of Anne Rice and Buffy, the next step was vampires! Linda Lael Miller was one of the first vampire romance authors. I think at the time romance had reached a point of needed to be 'revamped' if you'll pardon the pun. ha. Lucky for all of us that publishers were willing to take a chance! :) As far as werewolves--I fell in love with Oliver Reed when I saw him in "Curse of the Werewolf" when I was 14 or 15. Sigh. There was never any doubt in my mind that werewolves were sexy, much more so to me than vampires! :) All that animal magnetism. ha! Sorry, I can't help myself!

Nicole North said...

Wonderful post, Mia! You poor paranormal virgin, you. :-) I don't know what spawned the huge growth in paranormal romance. Probably a combination of several things. Paranormal movies are also extremely popular these days. Vampire, werewolf and other supernatural creatures have been the subject of legend for millennia.

What's so wonderful about creating paranormal characters and their worlds is like Liane said, there are no rules. No limits to where your imagination can take you. If I want my hero to have the ability to appear invisible, he can do that. Forget the laws of physics. If I want him to turn into a bird and fly, he can do that. But it all still must be believable.

Some authors follow legends closer than others. For example, having their vampires avoid sunlight, garlic and crosses. Others don't. In the vampire series Moonlight, the hero can be in the sun but he burns more easily. In the other vampire series Blood Ties, Henry actually likes crosses.

Time travel romance probably got a big boost from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander time-travel series starting in the early 90s.

The best authors of paranormal generally create their own rules, their own version of this character and their world. Tomorrow I'll talk about kelpies and the paranormal world of my Red Sage novellas. :-)

Mia Varano said...

Cynthia, of course I read Caged Wolf (mmm, La Mort) since it's in the same Secrets volume as Virgin of the Amazon, which is definitely NOT a paranormal. Good luck with your demon!

Tess, are you impressed that I know that Sarah Michelle Gellar played the first Kendall Hart on AMC? Vampires are sexy in the abstract, but all that cold, white skin - ewww.

Nicole, I'll definitely have to check out your blog tomorrow. What the heck is a kelpie?

Jill James said...

Mia, glad you are finding paranormal. I'm seeing alot of stories recently with fairies, brownies, and pixies, and other wood nymphs.

Mia Varano said...

Jill, have to say I was fascinated when I read the first chapter of your wip with the shape shifters. Yours could shift from woman to man - wow - the possibilities!

Holly Greenfield said...

Hi Nicole! I posted this earlier, but it doesn't seemed to have shown up. If it duplicates, I apologize.

This is a great post. I think Torr's story is the one I read, some of (way back)in Celtic Critters. I remember, not only because it was a great story, but I love the hero's name. :-)(then I was left hanging :-)
Congratulations on the sale! I have to get these stories!