Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Paranormal Side of Life: Symbolism and the Subtext

Posted by: Unknown

Why are we so in love with the paranormal? Winged creatures, shape shifters, witches, immortal demons and vampires are just a few of the creatures that we absolutely eat up like junk food before an apocalypse. Give me the genetically altered soldiers with superhuman powers and strength, give me the hybrid human/animals that are looking for freedom and vindication, and let me pretend to be a fun-loving, vicious Valkyrie for the next several hours. But why? What keeps me buying and writing these books?

Here’s why I think we love this stuff. On a subconscious level, we recognize, relate to and/or desire the experience of what these creatures and powers are actually symbolic of. Using the examples above, it seems to me that being the soldier with superhuman strength and power represents justice and/or vengeance for a wrong committed. The hybrid human/animals let us remember that our inner spirits are wild, that we all have a sense of feeling alienated and want/need acceptance, and underneath it all, we're all animals lurking beneath a thin layer of civilization. A fun-loving Valkyrie is symbolic of the beautiful feminist spirit that lives in all of us. We crave these experiences as human beings, packaged vicariously of necessity because our daily lives can’t afford to run so dramatically. It doesn't diminish the impact. Triumph is ours, particularly when we’ve gone through the scene that takes us through death, darkness and the unknown, and we still come out whole on the other side.

Symbolism runs rampant through the images we create adding layers of deeper meaning to the text, which makes the experience that much more enjoyable to the reader. As we devour a good book, the subtext created by rich symbolism decorates a reader’s mind with layers of thought, feeling, perception, and images without the reader even realizing this is happening. If you remember the movie Avatar, scenes with the native blue people were shot with bright vibrant colors with beautiful ambient lighting, and these creatures were able to directly tie into nature with their braids, which was symbolic of life and regeneration. Scenes that took place with the military were dark, gritty and enclosed in metal rooms with no natural light, symbolizing cold, grim death and destruction. These feelings and perceptions paint the walls of the reader’s/movie goer’s mind. For this reason, you get to the end of an amazing life-altering book and feel like it’s still surrounding you, like you conquered the dragon yourself, as you go about your daily life.

The sequel to QUICKSILVER DREAMS is out June 9th. Shandria Langston is the last remaining daughter of the leader of the Sunan, in DARK SUMMER DREAMS. She is able to connect with the minds of animals and communicate with them. Often a source of nuisance to her in the past, she realizes it’s actually one of her strengths, and she embraces her inner power to overcome the external as well as the internal conflicts that are presenting themselves. She's able to read minds and dreamwalk (hop into someone's dreams), symbolic of the need we have to take control of our lives. Enemies have made attempts on her life since she was a child, which is why she’s lived hidden away in isolation for most of her life, feeling as though she was somehow fragile or weak. Then she’s tasked with saving the life of said sworn enemy who then kidnaps her for his own revenge. Embracing her power lets her recognize just how strong she is, and let’s her break out of the fake mold she was forced into in order to become the powerful woman she was meant to be. And her sworn enemy turns out to be hot, too. Not that she’s paying attention to that.

Thanks so much for giving me your time today. What paranormal characters have been unforgettable to you?
Book two of Dreamwalkers

I freed him from imprisonment, only to become his pawn.

I, Shandria Langston, last remaining daughter of the leader of the Sunan, was charged with an impossible task. I had to rescue Kraggon Dragmor—sworn enemy of my people—from the death chamber. If I refused, our world as we know it would be destroyed.

Oh, but was he happy with my sacrifice? No. Instead of being properly appreciative of this selfless act, of being grateful that I tended to him through a deathly illness, the bastard’s kidnapped me. I’m “a symbol of retribution for his people.” The man has no heart.

I have only one advantage in captivity: I can read Kraggon’s thoughts. I know that he can’t afford to admit that I empathize with his people. He can’t afford to admit that I am more beautiful than any woman he’s ever seen, or allow me to fire his blood with every look…and he can’t afford to admit that he’ll do anything to save me, that I’ve become his heart.

Presale links!
Carina Press, Apple ibooks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance, Google Play, Kobo

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  1. Great post, Danube! Very thoughtful. I think there's also the element that with some paranormal creatures, happy-ever-after means EVER after, which is awfully appealing. :)

    1. That is true. Being able, on some level, to control/predict your future is comforting.


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