Paranormal Romance Novels – 5 Common Misconceptions

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 and is filed under Opinion

This blog post is dedicated to all the poor souls out there who have yet to take the plunge into the fabulousness that is paranormal romance. Enjoy… and get you some!

Misconception #1: Paranormal romance novels are all about sex.

Since the release of Fifty Shades of Grey, aren’t all “romances” nowadays about sex, sex, and more tie-me-up-and-spank-me sex?

While sexy times typically play a huge part of the story, the best paranormal romance novels include a well thought out beginning, middle, and end––just like the plot structures of “normal” everyday romance novels. But what sets a paranormal romance apart is exactly that weird, out-of-the-ordinary element (daemons! witches! magic!) that catapults the reader into a completely new world and new set of circumstances-–experiences they can NEVER see, feel, or do outside of the page. This is where the true magic of a paranormal romance happens.

Misconception #2: Paranormal romance novels are too hard to follow.

Okay, for the uninitiated, you may have a tiny argument here. When I first released my debut paranormal romance novel Bound By Fate (now available through Dark Hollows Press), my friends and family were eager to jump in and read what I had to offer (cue super blush here). The thing is… most of them were totally unfamiliar with the paranormal romance genre. I can only imagine the big ol’ WTF that crossed their minds when they began to read. In fact, I don’t have to imagine it at all; many of them texted me a literal WTF. I felt the exact same way when I accidentally stumbled into my first PRN, A Hunger Like No Other by the fantastically gifted Kresley Cole. I don’t even remember how I managed to buy the book because I wasn’t purposefully looking to buy a paranormal romance, but buy it I did. At page one, I was confused… At page ten I was all, What the hell is going on? By page eleven I “got it” and was a goner. Loved it. LOVED IT. Once I just went with the flow, I found myself caught up in the characters and the storyline. Which is the whole point of fiction, right? (See misconception #5)

Misconception #3: Paranormal romance novels have no plot.

Okay. So we’re not typically talking classic literature here but a good paranormal romance novel has a clear beginning, middle, and end that are chock-full of conflict and action that propel the story forward. While they can run the gamut between totally engrossing nail biters with epic world battles to simple tales of “boy (possible bear shifter) meets girl (of unknown species),” the heart of a great PRN is the romance––where the H/h must fight to reach their Happily Ever After.

Misconception #4: Paranormal romance characters are hard to relate to.

False. False. False. Look, I believe that, deep down, “people” are essentially searching for the same things in life. Every living, breathing, cognizant creature (even Spock in his own special way) has their share of flaws, wants, and needs. They suffer insecurities. They struggle to belong. They crave falling in love… or at least stumbling into considerable lust. So what if the characters in question don’t happen to be human? Who cares? The point is, the best paranormal romances present characters begging to be loved and hated and rooted for as they rush headlong towards their perfect HEA.

Misconception #5: Paranormal romance novels are not “believable.”

Seriously, what’s believable nowadays? I don’t know about you, but I don’t even want to peruse the news…

Entertainment is about ESCAPE (thank god). Grabbing a book––or firing it up on your Kindle––is about stepping outside your little box and saying, Hey, let’s do this thing! Once again, when I self-published Bound By Fate, I had tons of friends and friends-of-friends buy and pity-read (support-read? love-read?) the book. Once again, 99.9% of these people had never read a paranormal romance before, much less heard of the genre. But guess what? Once they got past the paranormal element, they all enjoyed it. And not just because they know me, dammit. I really believe they liked it.

I believe they liked it because of a key reason why people read fiction. They want to be transported to someplace different. They want to meet new characters. They want to experience something completely outside their comfort zone. Why does it matter the species? Or the locale? As long as a paranormal romance delivers the key ingredients of a great story (hard-charging––and suffering!––heroes/heroines, believable dialogue, edge-of-your-seat intrigue, everlasting love)… readers are in!

So bring on the werewolves and vampire halflings, the strong-willed witches and all those other “what-the-hell” creatures of an overactive, wine-fueled author’s imagination… get ready to believe. Jump into paranormal romance. There’s a lot to love!