Monday, December 22, 2008

Examining Paranormal Romance

Being a person who loves to over-analyze any given situation, I thought it would be fun to pick apart the paranormal romance genre as a whole. So excuse me while I give into the left side of my brain (which, by the way, battles tirelessly with the right side of my brain on a daily basis).

To begin with, the paranormal romance genre is so broad it could be split up into an infinite number of new genres. Why do I think this? Because the word “paranormal” has such a broad meaning.

According to, paranormal means:


of or pertaining to the claimed occurrence of an event or perception without scientific explanation, as psychokinesis, extrasensory perception, or other purportedly supernatural phenomena.

That’s a pretty general definition. To get a better idea, all I have to do is look at the list of authors who contribute to this blog. Each brings their own imagination to the paranormal romance genre to create stories about:

-Time travel
-Shape shifters
-Psychic abilities
-Futuristic space travel
-Witches, Sorcerers, and Warlocks
-I’m sure I’m missing several so go ahead and shout it out if you think of more. The left side of my brain welcomes it.

Of these, there are immeasurable possibilities to create even more types of supernatural phenomena. Why? Because paranormal fiction has no guidelines, no boundaries, and absolutely no limit to the worlds an author can create.

Charlaine Harris, one of my favorite authors, gives a perfect example with her Southern Vampire Series. She’s built a vivid parallel universe where vampires exist alongside humans. To add to that, she went on to bring in shapeshifters, werewolves, fairies, and witches. Her books are rich with mystery and the unknown, and it keeps me turning the pages and wanting more.

I suppose these are the reasons I love to both read and write paranormal romance and fantasy. There’s no end to what my imagination can come up with… which gives the left side of my brain a reason to relax and allow the right side of my brain to run away with the ghosts, angels, demons, or whatever else I want to write about that day.

So what is your favorite genre inside the paranormal romance genre?


BEWITCHING YOU – Coming soon from the Wild Rose Press
FINDING FATE - Free short story available from the Wild Rose Press
ANGEL VINDICATED – Coming soon from Cerridwen Press


Helen Hardt said...

Hi Viola -- I have to admit, I'm not too original. My favorite subgenres in paranormal romance are the two standbys: vampires and werewolves. Their dark sensuality gets me every time!


Patrice L. said...

Great post, Vi!! I am totally into demons these days but also love witches and psychic stuff!!


Susan Macatee said...

I don't know if I can pick just one. In my stories, I've used time travel, vampires, ghosts, psychic powers and futuristic space travel. I just love them all!

Terry Spear/Terry Lee Wilde said...

I'm with Helen, vampires and werewolves! Though I also love any kind of immortal. :) And psychic stuff? Destiny of the Wolf has a psychic in it too. :) And oh, yes!! Like Susan, I love ghost stories. Like vampires, I've loved them from the beginning. And time travels! I buy them every chance I can get. Throw a hero or heroine into another time period and I can't wait to see what happens! :)
I got so excited, I forgot to mention, super post, Viola!

Paty Jager said...

Probably witches, sorcerers, warlocks,and shape shifters. And I guess angels. I read very little paranormal. And have only written one though it is the first of a trilogy.

Clover Autrey said...

I'm more of a typical fantasy type of gal. Give me faeries, elves, empaths, and any never thought of before new species. Like Hobbits. Before Tolkien, what was a Hobbit?

Beth Caudill said...

That brings up what I've been fielding lately - What's the difference between paranormal and fantasy?

Is a dragon shapeshifter a paranormal or a fantasy story? Both, know it when you read it. *sigh* why do we have to label and categorize everything. :)

My favorite subgenre is werewolf/shifter. Covers wolves and dragons my two particular favorites. Although I like magic and witches as well. They just seem less popular these days.

Viola Estrella said...

Thanks, everyone, for the great responses! You've given me more to think about. I can't decide what my favorite paranormal subgenre is. (I know, I'm taking the easy way out:-) I love any story that can pull me in to their made-up world and make it seem real.

Beth, good question about the difference between paranormal and fantasy. That's a tough one. I do know the difference between paranormal romance and, say, urban fantasy is that UF is a bit grittier and it doesn't necessarily focus on the romance. I'd love to hear what others have to say about this.

Linda LaRoque said...

Interesting post, Viloa,
Time travel and ghosts are my favorite at the moment, but I enjoy reading all the other areas too.


Christina Phillips said...

I've written about witches, vampires, psychics and time travel but my current faves are demons and angels!