Author Alma Katsu's Taker trilogy is a dark paranormal historical, and Alma has been with us before to talk about dark historicals, so today we've asked her to H&H to discuss the other element of her writing, paranormals. The third book in the Taker trilogy, Descent, will be released in 2014. Please leave a comment below to enter for a chance to win the first two books in Alma's trilogy!* Thanks for joining us, Alma!
With contemporaries on the upswing these days, some folks are asking if we’ll see a decline in readers’ interest in paranormals. Some might say that it was impossible for the genre to maintain its fever pitch; after all, whatever goes up must come down. I may be biased as I write a paranormal series with a unique immortally myth, but I think that paranormal novels have characteristics that make them particularly suited to give readers exactly what they are looking for in a story.
A Central Character That Represents “The Dark Side”:
All paranormals have a strong central character who is part of the supernatural world, whether he’s a vampire, werewolf, or, in the case of The Taker books, a man with mysterious magical powers. It’s what gives paranormal novels their Gothic flavor and provides the story’s major tension: this strong supernatural character embodies the forbidden attraction of “the dark side.” Whether he’s the love interest or the villain, he represents the primitive, emotional, sexual side of our nature. He offers us the chance to escape from the “normal” civilized world of manners and constraints. No wonder we want to give in to temptation.
Escape From The Everyday:
Let’s face it: we live in the real world. A good book gives us a means to escape from it. Paranormal novels give readers want is a chance to have a truly extraordinary experience and to live out our—well, fantasies. Paranormal fiction promises to take the reader out—far out—of the everyday world where bills aren’t waiting to be paid and you don’t have to worry about what to make for dinner: dinner just might be a pint of O positive. And who wouldn’t want to have a lover who—like your average shapeshifter—isn’t afraid to give in to his most feral, animal tendencies?
It Allows Us to Be Bad:
Paranormal fiction allows us to indulge in the need to be bad in a way that contemporary fiction does not. In many paranormal stories, a character’s undoing is out of her control: usually she was bitten by a werewolf or turned by a vampire against her will, so how could anyone blame her? And somehow it’s easier to imagine yourself in a situation that’s completely impossible—say, being a vampire hunter with a license to kill or suddenly finding yourself bound for eternity to charming monster—than, say, stepping into the shoes of a bank robber or murderer.
Belief in a Higher Power:
Humans are hard-wired to want to believe in something more powerful than ourselves. Storytelling has its origins in myth. Our ancestors told stories around the campfire in order to explain what we didn’t understand, such as why the seasons changed, or what happened to our consciousness when we died. Religion grew out of these myths, and the beliefs we were raised on run deep in our psyches. In short, humans are programmed to believe in a hidden world that is more powerful than the one we live in. Paranormal stories are darker, richer versions of our early myths.
Now it’s your turn: do you think paranormals carry a special appeal for readers, or do you find these characteristics in all stories? What do you like best about paranormal novels? Leave a comment to be entered to win both books in The Taker series.
To enter for a chance to win a copy of each of the first two books in Alma Katsu's The Taker series, The Taker and The Reckoning, make sure you’re a registered member of the site, and then simply leave a comment about the post below.*
*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 or older. To enter, fill out entry at http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/blogs/2013/01/author-alma-katsu-on-paranormal-romance beginning at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) January 23, 2013. Sweepstakes ends at 12:29 p.m. ET on January 30, 2013 (the “Promotion Period”). Void outside of the 50 US and DC and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules at http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/page/official-rules-the-alma-katsu-comment-sweepstakes. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010