Welcome to a Tasting Table filled with guests of a different kind… vampires, werewolves, ghosts, shapeshifters, or perhaps a witch or demon.
The range of this sub-genre is wide, able to be set in any era and either within the known or unknown universe. I devoured Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series as a young adult and adore Anne Rice’s vampire books. Most of my childhood and teen reading was science fiction and fantasy and I’m sure most of us have our favourites.
Today we are joined by three fabulous Paranormal Romance authors: Athena Daniels, Georgia Carter Mathers, and Keri Arthur. Please join me in welcoming them to The Tasting Table.
Q1. What is your definition of Paranormal Romance and what are some of its variables?
ATHENA: I’ve found that Paranormal Romance can mean vampires, angels and shifters to many readers, but the genre is actually very broad combining all sorts of mythical and out of this world creatures with rock solid romance. The Oxford Dictionary defines paranormal as ‘beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding.’ I write about ghosts and other entities that coexist with us in some capacity unseen… With a healthy dash of sizzling romance!
GEORGIA: Very simply, paranormal romance includes a romance between one or more paranormal characters. These novels often, but not always, include urban settings and a mystery or quest of some kind. The romance and mystery plots may occupy equal page time, although this can vary from book to book. The romance can include all heat levels according to the intended audience. One could argue that the variables that exist in paranormal romances are identified through its sub-genres such as bear shifter romances, vampire romances or gods and angels. Paranormal romance is distinct from urban fantasy. You’ll find that paranormal romances are constantly evolving. Many paranormal characters have multiple powers to shift or to use magic or as a seer for example. So, this represents an exploration of characters and an effort to push at the boundaries of the sub-genre.
KERI: To me, the only true difference between a paranormal romance & a ‘regular’ romance is the addition of (believable) paranormal elements. The developing romance between the hero & heroine is still the main arc.
Q2. Tell us about challenges you encounter when writing this genre.
ATHENA: For me, there are very few. A challenge if I had to think of one, would be marketing and making sure my covers reflect both the paranormal (ghosts) and romance (steamy) elements equally, as my books are very strong in both.
GEORGIA: Writing paranormal romances can be a challenge for me because my brain moves through the story too fast. Even though I plot a story when I write, I can still hear the characters in my head and they are clambering to get out, so part of the challenge for me in writing is to slow the story down enough to get everything on the page. However, once this has happened, I have to think about whether this story is worth telling. That can be a major challenge.
KERI: Believability. Integrating the paranormal elements seamlessly if it’s set in the ‘real’ world, and world building effectively if it isn’t
Q3. Is there an author/s or book/s (apart from your own), you particularly love in the genre and believe exemplifies Paranormal Romance?
ATHENA: The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward! I love sexy vampire stories. I also love the Sookie Stackhouse series, Experiment in Terror series, by Karina Halle, the Renegade Angels series by Sylvia Day, Heather Graham, Karen Marie Moning…. There are so many!
GEORGIA: If you take Dannika Dark’s Crossbreed series, you can see how the mystery and paranormal romances work together. Keystone could also be described as an urban fantasy, because Christian and Raven don’t actually end up together until later in the series.
KERI: I tend to read a mix of paranormal, urban fantasy, and futuristic/sci-fi romance; names that come immediately to mind are Bec McMaster, Alison Goodman, C J Archer, M J Scott, Jess Anastasi…the list goes on
Q4. Please share some advice to those interested in writing this genre.
ATHENA: There is a wonderful freedom when writing in this genre, you can take the reader out of their comfort zone and be as creative as you like. Don’t be scared to push the limits and write outside the box.
GEORGIA: I would say read widely in the sub-genre as well as outside of it, and find an editor who cares about your work.
KERI: First and foremost, write what you love. Sounds simple, but if you’re following a trend rather than writing a genre you love, readers will be able to tell. Second, the market is in a constant state of flux, so while it’s good to keep an eye on what is being purchased (by readers & publishers), in the end, nothing really matters except telling a damn good story.
Q5. What inspires you to write Paranormal Romance?
ATHENA: My love of the paranormal stems right back to very early childhood. I grew up in a house that was over a hundred years old. As a child, I often heard footsteps walking down the hall late at night (which inspired the beginning scenes of The Seer’s Daughter) and various other unexplained and spooky events.
Our family did not talk about ghosts, and although I don’t remember asking specifically about the things I’d experienced at the time, I believe that if I had, they would have been quickly dismissed. As I entered my teens, I was drawn to books and real-life accounts of the paranormal, and later in life a study of metaphysics.
GEORGIA: I write paranormal romance because the characters are more fun to write. I like the action and the suspense that comes with it too. I also write it because the characters could be described as monsters in some way. They are a mixture of things that both frighten and protect us. At the same time, these characters are very vulnerable and lonely. And I identify with that. I’ve always felt inherently different. This feeling describes a trope that is particularly strong in this sub-genre.
KERI: I’ve always loved both romance-laced fantasy novels (Anne McCaffrey & Mercedes Lackey) and murder mystery novels, so for me, paranormal romances and urban fantasy offer the perfect combination.
Athena Daniels is the #1 International bestselling author of the award-winning Beyond the Grave paranormal romance series and the romantic thriller Desperate.
The Beyond the Grave series has won several awards including Silver Medal in the 2017 Readers’ Favorite® International Book Awards for Girl Unseen. When Darkness Follows and Girl Unseen are both Silver Medal winners in the Literary Titan Book Awards, and The Seer’s Daughter a finalist in the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards (NIEA) in Suspense.
Athena has a natural curiosity about the “more” there is in life and holds several qualifications in metaphysics and natural therapies. She is a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practitioner, life coach, and Feng Shui specialist.
Georgia writes paranormal romance to chase the happy ever after. If you need a break from the bills and the emotional upheaval that we all experience, her stories will give you some respite from the stresses of everyday life. Her stories are written about those who conquer it all through finding love. Georgia has a new standalone coming out in November, so stay tuned for that one.
Keri Arthur, author of the New York Times bestselling Riley Jenson Guardian series, has now written more than forty-one novels. She’s received several nominations in the Best Contemporary Paranormal category of the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Awards and has won RT’s Career Achievement Award for urban fantasy. She’s also something of a would-be photographer, so when she’s not at her computer writing, she can be found wandering about the countryside taking photos.
Phillipa Nefri Clark
Phillipa grew up along lonely Australian beaches with wild seas and misty cliffs. From a young age she wrote stories and dreamed of being a writer.
These days she spends half her week running part of the family business and the other writing. Currently she is working on the third in her River’s End series.
Living in regional Australia on a small acreage close to a mountain range, Phillipa’s great loves – apart from writing – are her family of two young adult sons and husband, their Labrador, music, fine wine, and friends.