Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Totally (Para)normal

Originally posted as a guest post on Books All things paranormal and romance 

Totally (Para)normal

I write paranormal romance, verging on urban fantasy. It is unabashedly the genre which I feel most at home in, both as a reader and as a writer. I think the biggest reason for this is that I am a big lover of fantasy at heart. I can't define exactly what it is about it that draws me in, but I think it's the same thing that led me to drama as a child. The idea of something bigger and better, waiting out there, just beyond the rainbow or out of reach. It's a world where the biggest problems aren't what the bully in class might do today, whether you'll be late for work, or where the next mortgage payment is going to come from. The sort of place where dragons can roam, people are more than just people, and fae abound. A place of heros and heroines, who take turns to rescue one another both physically and emotionally. It's somewhere where the drudgery of a regular, normal, day to day life disappears between the cracks in the pavement as danger and intrigue take hold. This is the sort of world I like to imagine, and is the setting which bleeds through into my stories. 

The world the characters live in is this world, our world, but different. Better in some ways, worse in others. It's not an epic Lord of the Rings scale fantasy (not that there is anything wrong with that), the setting is more urban. It is now. One thing I always strive for is an undercurrent of realism, that these creatures *could* be roaming in your backyard; if only you knew where to look and exactly what you were looking for. That the flash you saw in the corner of your eye wasn't just your imagination but something watching you . . . following you. Maybe something is lurking there to protect you, or maybe its intent is somewhat more nefarious. There's no way of knowing until the story is explored in greater depth.  

I believe keeping the underlying question of "what if these creatures were real" in my head with every turn is a big part of what helps infuse realism into my stories. It's thinking through the logic of exactly how, for example, the fae world might interact with our own. Does it operate on it's own plane of existence, and if so, how can we access it when we need to? It's looking at the many stories and folktales that exist about a particular paranormal creature and trying to extract the "real" elements of that. I don't want some giant, three-headed beast in a story unless that three-headed beast is able to exist, at least hypothetically, within the laws of our world. It still allows for a wide scope of what might be. Sometimes it just requires putting on your thinking cap to work out how. And that's the fun part. 

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