My love affair with paranormal romance began like most people’s—with Twilight. It was my first introduction to the world of vampires and werewolves, and while I may have grown beyond young adult, I haven’t grown beyond my love for paranormal. And I want to share my love for the genre with everyone, so I’ve created this list of reasons to help you sink your fangs into the world of paranormal romance.
1. Nothing is off limits. We’ve all heard tales of vampires and werewolves, but paranormal romance doesn’t end with those magical creatures. In fact, they’re only the beginning. When you’re writing in a world of magic and wonder, any “monster,” creature, and lore is on the table. For an unexpected paranormal romance, check out Tiger Eye, by Marjorie M. Liu. It features a tiger-shifter named Hari, who’s trapped inside a riddle box and becomes bound to the “master” who opens it. Or, check out Danielle Monsch’s Stone Guardian, which follows human Larissa as she’s saved by a gargoyle named Terak. It also features basically all the magical creatures, including wizards, dragons, and necromancers. And if you’re interested in a YA romance featuring gargoyles, check out White Hot Kiss, by Jennifer L. Armentrout.
2. No damsels in distress here. Paranormal romance has a reputation for being all about strong men who control women. Not to say that there aren’t any books like that—there are. But paranormal romance also has some of the most kick-butt women to ever encounter the page, fighting creatures of the night and dealing with all sorts of paranormal problems. One of my favorite heroines is Kate Daniels from Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series. The first story (Magic Bites) introduces us to the titular character, a mercenary who makes her living cleaning up magical messes. When her guardian is murdered, she goes on a quest for justice, landing her in all sorts of trouble. Luckily, she can handle it. For another amazing heroine, check out Kim Harrison’s Hollows series, starting with Dead Witch Walking.
3. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. Now I’m not saying there aren’t big stakes in paranormal romance. Often, the heroes and heroines are in life-threatening situations. And sometimes, there’s little lightheartedness going around. But, for whatever reason, some of the funniest heroines I’ve encountered have been in paranormal romance. There’s Charley Davidson, a part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper, from Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series (start with First Grave on the Right). There’s Angel Crawford, a high-school dropout turned zombie, from Diana Rowland’s White Trash Zombie series. And finally, there’s Betsy Taylor from MaryJanice Davidson’s Betsy Taylor series—accurately described as a cross between Sex and the City and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
4. Monsters are people too. One thing I love about fantasy and paranormal is that it grants you another lens through which to examine the real world. Fantasy offers us an escape from reality, while still allowing us to explore emotions and situations we face every day. After all, romance heroes and heroines are still people who love, get hurt, and face pain—even if they also shapeshift. Or suck blood. For a heroine who’s just trying to live her life without magical interference, check out Moon Called, by Patricia Briggs. It follows Mercy Thompson, a Volkswagon mechanic and magical being, who struggles to find her place in the world. Another book that shows a heroine battling real-world emotions (such as pressure and fear of failure) is Angels’ Blood, by Nalini Singh. It follows vampire hunter Elena, as she’s given the impossible task of hunting down an archangel gone bad.
What do you love about paranormal romance?