Always having been an avid reader, I never thought the journey would lead me here. Romance. It began as a joke. Someone at work was reading one and I picked it up to tease her. She said, "Take it home." And I did. I finished it that night. It wasn't the best, but it was the first. We passed it around the office, skipping pages and reading out loud the steamy stuff. When the co-worker was moving, I went to the local library bookstore to get some for her as a joke for her going away gift. I read them first to see if it was the kind of sub-genre she would like.
And I was hooked.
I started out safely, for a lack of a better term. Historical. After I cleaned out all the authors that I liked, I went carefully wading into the contemporary genre. When I ran out of things to read, I found Lora Leigh and her Breeds series. But even though I knew the paranormal and subsequently, the vampire sub-genre was a growing trend, I vowed to stay away. Vampires were not for me. Paranormal was not for me. They just weren't my thing.
But then I ran out of books to read and I was itching for something.
On Amazon, I came across J.R. Ward and I saw that practically every review was high. Three hundred some reviewers and all of her books still rated 4.5 stars out of 5. That's remarkable. But I still resisted. Vampires were not my bag. Blood, ick.
So I searched for something else to read. And came up empty handed. When I was at the library bookstore, Jacob was on the shelf. I picked it up, turned it around and read the back. Sounded interesting enough and for fifty cents, what did I have to loose? Besides, the pile of books I was buying that day was at least six and this paranormal one could be read last.
But it wasn't. It was read first.
Then the next day when I stopped by Borders, J.R. Ward's first book of her Brotherhood series was rereleased and I saw that it was only $4.99. I took the plunge. Besides, I swore I would never read Romance, and now I was already two hundred plus novels in the historicals and contemporaries under my belt. How could I rip into the paranormal sub-genre without reading it first?
I bought it, took it home, finished it in under four hours. I was hooked.
There's something very different about the paranormal genre. No, not the magic, the vampires, and the super long life spans. It was the characters. Specifically, the males. The heroes.
There's much more room for paranormal heroes to be larger than life. More arrogant. More assured. More everything. Especially with the growing trend of writing the element of 'mates.' While a lot of authors are jumping into the boat of giving their characters a sense of lifelong mates, only a few have done so with a deft hand. The concept of mates have unleashed a new category in my opinion, and it really defines an important facet of paranormal writing.
It allows for the characters to know without a shadow of a doubt that they belong together. Most of the time they know before they fall in love. It frees up the readers to accept the harder qualities of the males. Perhaps the males are more possessive, protective, etc. Everything that you can't write into a contemporary non-paranormal male character because it makes them into jerks, you can write into your paranormal hero and get away with it.
I came across a J.R. Ward interview where she was asked why she believed that the paranormal sub-genre was growing like it is. She replied that the genre allowed the male characters to be super alphas. Beyond the norm. It was okay and that it appealed to the female psyche.
I agree. There's something freer about reading the paranormal sub-genre. You can get away with more in terms of characters. Your males can be that much harder and the readers will allow it because of the setting. But the plot is equally important. Like any other book, the two must go hand in hand. Characters and plot.
While I can't say that I enjoy all paranormal, I can't say that I don't see the appeal either. I see it. And there's no going back.