Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Special guests answer: “Why I love paranormal”

Posted by: Angela Campbell

When writing my post for Paranormal Week, I thought long and hard about all of the topics I could explore. I knew my fellow contributors here were already posting some discussion-worthy reads. After a lot of thought, my journalism background kicked in and I decided to simply reach out and explore why people love this genre so much and…well, invite others to help me pay tribute to all things paranormal. I’m thrilled by the responses I got from the authors, editors, agents and book bloggers who all responded to my request to know, “Why do you love the paranormal genre?” Seriously, I'm still fangirling over some of them (I mean, Maggie Shayne, Nalini Singh AND Christine Feehan!!!).

But, eh hmm, since this is my post, I’ll start.

Why do I love the paranormal genre so much? On “The X-Files,” Fox Mulder always had a poster in his office that said “I want to believe.” I loved that poster. I actually have a replica of that poster somewhere in storage. Like Mulder, I want to believe because I love the possibilities of the unknown. The unknown can be mysterious, sexy, awe-inspiring, and sometimes, romantic. Paranormal books and movies take me out of the known and into the unknown, allowing me to believe, even for only a short while. And that's a magical thing.

I could go on and on about my love for this genre, but that’s it, in a nutshell. Besides, I love the responses I got so much, I don’t want to take any more time away from them!

Many thanks to those who contributed! I also have give a special hug and thank you to fellow HBM contributor Eleri Stone, who helped me gather a couple of these. Without further ado, here they are:


Gina Bernal, freelance editor for Carina Press

"What I love most about paranormal romance—especially editing it—is how limitless the genre feels. For every ‘oh, another same-old fill-in-a-supernatural-creature story’ submission there's also the ‘wow, this new world is amazing’ manuscript. I am always impressed by paranormal writers' imaginations."


Kerri Buckley, full-time editor for Carina Press:

"For me as a reader, summer is the season for paranormal. I’ve traced this back and decided it stems from school breaks spent lounging lakeside with my summer sisters, tearing through Diana Gabaldon paperbacks and munching on potato chips as we moved from sun to shade and back again. The afternoons are much shorter now (and there are babies everywhere, meaning we stick to the shade), but we still do this, calling out must-read titles and smudging screens as we pass around digi sample chapters. And though it’s never been laid down as law, our choices still tend toward the fantastic—it’s how I was introduced to Karen Marie Moning, Nalini Singh, Gena Showalter. It’s the most organic, most delicious book club I’ve ever been a part of.

As an editor, the genre as a whole continues to surprise and impress me. It’s the ultimate in writerly acrobatics! I’m constantly in awe of authors who begin not just from the zero of a blank page but from what’s essentially negative fifty, mentally hammering out millions of tiny world-building details before they can even begin. Any guesses which titles I’ll be recommending this summer? :P"

“I love everything about the paranormal world. I love the amazing imaginations of all the various writers and screenwriters. I love to immerse myself in those worlds and I always find myself marveling at what the human mind can come up with. I think, for me, reading is going on a fantastic adventure. I grew up reading fantasy and sci-fi and loved them. I love the action-thriller books and movies as well. Paranormal encompasses all of those things. If you add in a romance, even a small one, I'm very happy and satisfied.

There is so much scope in paranormal. You don't have to worry about being politically correct, you can simply allow your imagination to soar. You can take on any subject and make it work within the realms you've created. I always read with an open mind, willing to go on the adventure the author has for me. I want to be in their world and wrap myself in it. I want to be scared and happy and see new things. For me, paranormal will always be my first love!”

"Paranormal fiction (written and on-screen) can swing from the goriest of horror, to the the subtlest insinuation of a ghostly presence. It taps into legends and myths that have kept us quivering in fear of the unknown for hundreds of years, many times putting a deliciously modern twist on these stories. At its core, though, paranormal fiction is a tremendously human genre. Which sounds absurd, seeing as it's chock full of demons, vampires, ghosts, and let's not forget, hunters (hello, Winchesters!). However, if written correctly, the monster isn't the beating heart of the story - it's the otherworldly manifestation (symbolic or literal), or trigger of the fears and desires of a hero that somehow bears a close emotional resemblance to some part of ourselves. So much so, that we can't help but be forced to face that monster along with him. (Or her, as is the case.) Sometimes this is an uncomfortable journey to take. Most times, though, it can be both enlightening, and invigorating.

I know, I know - plenty of other genres can take you through the same mental and emotional shakedown without the blood and rock salt. What I love about paranormal, though, is that it takes me outside of 'reality' just enough that I suspend belief far faster than when I read/watch other genres, allowing my emotional walls drop just a little more than they usually do, which in turn kick starts my creative juices. And did I mention the Winchesters? It's a win-win, any way you look at it."


Laurie from the book blog Bitten by Paranormal Romance

“Paranormal Romance is one of the fastest growing romance sub-genres out there for a reason. These stories take you out of your real-life problems and suck you into a story that is not only hot but a story with fantastic world-built plots.With thousands of authors publishing in this sub-genre since the 1990’s, I don’t see it slowing down one bit in the near future.

I have always loved vampires and things that go bump in the night. So, you know I was happy with the arrival of PNR during the 1990’s. When I founded my blog in 2009 I couldn't think of a better tribute than to name it Bitten by Paranormal Romance.”


Lori from the book blog Romancing the Dark Side

"I’m addicted to paranormal romances, so much that I rarely venture out of this genre (but I do enjoy a good Urban Fantasy in between my PNR!). Coming up with just five reasons for my love of PNR was tough but I think I covered the important stuff! So, without further ado, here they are, in no particular order:
  • Alpha Heroes: From vampire to demon, the PNR hero is a strong and brooding swoon-worthy male.
  • HEAs: A happy ending is usually in store for the main couple, even if it takes a couple of books!
  • Sexual Tension: Always makes for an interesting romance between the couple(s).
  • Forbidden Romances: Vampire and Werewolf, Demon and Angel…I love when two paranormals fall for their “enemy.”
  • The World: Anything goes in a supernatural world, creating tons of action and twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat while reading!"

Literary Agent Sara Megibow

 "Paranormal romance, to me, is like a sexy hot pink and black lace dress. Or like chocolate ice cream laced with peanut butter, dark fudge and pretzels. Or, like a rainbow shining out of a tornado. To me it's monsters and romance. I love monsters and I love romance, so the more you mix 'em, the more I'll read 'em."


Author Sheryl Nantus

“I love the paranormal because it makes everything in the mundane world possess the possibility of being magical and wonderful. From the stranger sitting beside you on the bus to the dark tunnel you travel through every day to work to the odd neighbor who insists you keep dropping in for a cuppa tea - these could all lead to the paranormal in the blink of an eye! That stranger could be a shape shifter looking for a mate, the tunnel a secret opening to a hidden world under your sleepy town and that neighbor - what if she's the guardian of a secret artifact, too powerful to be left unguarded and she's looking for a replacement? That's why I love the paranormal. The ability to make everything just that bit more strange..”


Best-selling author Maggie Shayne: 

“I’ve loved stories of supernatural things since I was a tiny little thing. I remember back in the good old days of my early childhood, when step-dad would bring home boxes of comic books he’d bought somewhere. My two sisters and brother and I would go through them, staking our claims. I always chose the horror comics. Creature from the Black Lagoon. Dracula. Everything “paranormal” went into my pile. The younger kids could have all the Archie and Super-Hero comics they wanted. But the monsters belonged to me.

Later I would relish Monster Movie Matinee on our local TV station every Sunday afternoon. They’d show a campy old classic from days gone by, and I devoured every one of them. The show had the best intro, creepy music and fog shrouding a miniature replica haunted house, then it would cut to a creepy vampire and his sidekick, introducing the movie. I found a clip of that intro on youtube. You have to love this!

In all the horror flicks I adored from age 2 until today, I had one big issue. The monster never got the girl. Dracula lost his Mina to wimpy Jonathon Harker. What woman in her right mind would have traded the dark, mysterious, cloaked vampire for an ordinary mortal? And the mummy, came back from the dead for his love, only to have her torn from his arms in the end. The wolfman was cursed to destroy his own love. And on and on. King Kong was a love story. So was The Gill Monster.

All my life I longed to right those wrongs. To re-write those stories and end them the way they should be ended: I wanted the monster to get the girl.

That’s what I do in paranormal romance. That’s why I read the genre, why I write it, and why I love it, and always will."

Maggie wants to give 2 lucky commenters a free copy of book one of The Portal Series, MARK OF THE WITCH, in print or ebook form. Leave a comment below to enter to win!


Best-selling author Nalini Singh:  

"As a writer, I love the paranormal genre because it gives me such a broad canvas to play on. As long as I stay true to the rules of my world(s), I can go wherever my imagination takes me - whether that's a New York where angels fly above the streets, or a world where telepaths are real. There is such wild freedom in it.

As a reader, I love the paranormal genre for the same reason - it takes me to incredible, wonderful worlds and places, each new book an adventure."


Stephanie from the book blog Paranormal Haven

"Paranormal is my genre of choice for a couple reasons. First, it allows me to escape my normal, everyday life. I understand the appeal of contemporary books but I need some fur, fang, and 'wholly crap, is that a weredolphin pirate?!?' with my romance. Second, I'm never quite sure what I'm going to get. Yea, the it might be another vampire or shapeshifter book but each author puts their own twist on things and unless I've read that author before, I don't know what that twist is going to be. The possibilities are endless and I'm doing my best to discover as many as possible :-) "


Author Regan Summers

“By nature, readers are an inquisitive bunch. An author presents a “what if” scenario and the reader grabs on and settles in for the ride. Authors are what-iffers too, but we have the added benefit and challenge of creating the scenarios. I’ve always been a lover of speculative fiction. Humans in space. Creatures that used to be human or sometimes are. Characters who want to alter the future of humankind or fight to keep it on course.

Paranormal fiction – whether romance or not – challenges me on all sorts of levels, as a writer. But the marriage of the familiar with the new and unknown is always delightful. My Night Runner series started after reading hundreds of contemporary fantasy stories. Why would vampires not spend the majority of their time near the poles in winter where they’d have more security from the sun and freedom of movement? And, being in Alaska, I wondered why the stories that were set here rarely felt like it. What if, I wondered…”

Thank you again to everyone who offered a comment! So, tell us in the comments below—why do YOU love paranormal? Plus, Maggie Shayne will give 2 lucky commenters a free copy of book one of her The Portal Series, MARK OF THE WITCH, in print or ebook form. Leave a comment below to enter to win!


  1. All of the reasons above! I love delving into the worlds that the authors create. Such wonderful escapism.

  2. Ooh, I never thought of movie monsters that way. Makes sense.

    Half my reading is romance and half is fantasy, so paranormal romance is perfect for me. It hits all my buttons.


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