The romance genre covers a wide spectrum of topics. Those who don’t read it, as well as many in the media, seem to treat it as nothing more than fluff and pure escapism. And it can be just that. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to put your worries aside for a few hours and lose yourself in another world, one where you know things will work out in the end. Whether it’s Regency England, pirates on the high seas, futuristic space, or the small-town bakery, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
But it can also be so much more.
Romance has never shied away from dealing with complex social issues. Military romance often deals with the darker side of service—life changing injuries, PTSD, the strain it puts on the family. There are books that deal with bullying, abuse, poverty, illness, death, and divorce. Not in a preaching or disheartening way. No, romance is all about showing the resilience of people, how they deal with what life throws at them and still find the good, the love. It can uplift and inspire while shedding light on these important issues. In the world we live in, that’s so important. People can see themselves in these stories.
Romantic suspense sometimes deals with horrific crimes and death, but always with the promise of hope, of getting closure, of finding light in the darkness. It encourages us to never give up, even when things seem at their worst.
Then we come to paranormal romance, which is a personal favorite of mine, both to read and write. While there are lighthearted paranormal books that are wonderful, this genre lends itself to really delving into the dark side of human nature.
Werewolves, vampires, fallen angels, shapeshifters, demons, witches, and more—by their very nature they’re outliers, beyond the norms of everyday society. They drink blood, howl at the moon, shift into beasts that roam the woods at night, and haunt the cities we live in. They are creatures of myth, legend, and folklore that often live longer and see more than we ever will. Some of them even seem to cheat death itself. They live by their own code, their own rules, which often differ from the ones we know and understand. They are primal and powerful and frightening on many levels.
What is it that draws us to these books? Is it the lure of the forbidden? The dark sensuality? Do we dare to peer into the lives of these dark creatures and see ourselves staring back?
All of that and more.
Paranormal books allow us to suspend disbelief, to take the dark path, knowing that everything will work out in the end. The epic battle between good and evil is fought and won, but not without hardship and, sometimes, casualties.
Complex heroes, some of whom are fighting their own primal natures. Kickass heroines unafraid to fight for their life and their beliefs. Writing paranormals has allowed me to stretch my imagination, to take myth and legend and put my own spin on them to create something new and exciting. It’s a genre that is totally open.
Some of my favorite darker paranormal authors are: J.R.Ward, Dianne Duvall, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter, Carolyn Jewel, Christine Feehan, Nalini Singh, Lara Adrian, Rebecca Zanetti… The list is endless. There is something for everyone. And if you’re looking for something with a bit more humor, but plenty of heat and action, check out Shelly Laurenston.
My latest series—Forgotten Brotherhood—began when I started wondering who you’d call if a paranormal creature went on a rampage. Sure, there are vampire hunters and the like, but who would take on the really nasty creatures. That led me to the Brotherhood. They’re the misfits, the outsiders, the ones that frighten even the other paranormal creatures. They’re not the monsters under the bed. They’re the ones that kill them.
These are complex, flawed characters, who are no longer looking for redemption. All they want is to survive in peace and be left alone. But fate has something else in store for them. The hero of book one, FURY UNLEASHED, is a fallen angel who has survived both Heaven and Hell and now wants to be left alone. To say he has trust issues is a huge understatement. The heroine is a bounty hunter for Hell tasked with kill him. This is not your ordinary love story.
And that’s what makes paranormal romance so wonderful.
To celebrate the release of my new book FURY UNLEASHED, I’m giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Be sure to stop by and enter my giveaway.