Friday, March 02, 2012

The Roots of Paranormal Romantic Suspense

      I write paranormal romantic suspense, but several years ago, when I was preparing a talk on the horror genre, I realized that the roots of my books reach all the way back to the dawn of time.  One of the ways the shaman of an ancient tribe maintained power over his people was to protect them from the scary creatures who roamed the night.  In those ancient monsters are the ancestors of today’s literary vampires, werewolves, demons, ghosts, and all the other beasts who fill the paranormal universe.  

      Today they’ve morphed into the heroes of paranormal romance.  In my Moon series, for example, I’m writing about a family of very sexy alpha males–who happen to be werewolves.  My first werewolf was Ross Marshal in KILLING MOON, and only the right woman could help him make peace with the wolf side of his being.

       In my latest book, DARK MOON, which is also part of my Decorah Security series, Cole Marshall and another Decorah Security agent, Emma Richards, are sent to rescue a young woman who’s been kidnapped by a business rival of her father.  The man’s holding her on a cruise ship that’s been converted to a pleasure palace for the rich and kinky, and Cole has the job because his werewolf talents are going to be invaluable.  He’s got to “sniff out” where to find the kidnap victim.  At the same time, he and Emma are coping with their attraction for each other in the sexually charged atmosphere of the ship.

        In the past, shape-shifters, vampires and demons were almost always the enemy.  It was like a cowboy movie where we knew that bad guys had black hats and the good guys had white hats. But modern paranormal heroes have blurred these lines.  My werewolves may be the heroes of my books, but you never know when their savage side will emerge.  The only way Cole can save himself, on his own trying to get information is to rip out the throat of a security guard.  Then he’s got to dispose of the body, come back to Emma and pretend nothing happened.  
      Is that edge of danger and unpredictability part of the appeal of the shape-shifter?  The realization that you never know what’s going to happen.  And the knowledge that these are guys who live outside the bounds of civilization.  Often they can blend into society, but you never know when they’re going to tear off that clothing and expose the animal side of their nature.  And when they do–watch out.  Because anything can happen.

Do you read paranormal romance?  If so, what’s the attraction for you?

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