Today as part of the Whirlwind Blog Tour hosted by Missie at The Unread Reader I have author Robin DeJarnett stopping by to provide us with a comparison between contemporary and paranormal romance. She's also generously offered up a copy of Whirlwind for one lucky commenter, so be sure and check the bottom of the post for details on the giveaway. There are giveaways at every stop of the tour, so just follow the above link to see the list of participating blogs and enter to win as many times as possible!
CONTEMPORARY VS. PARANORMAL:
ONE ROMANCE WRITER'S THOUGHTS
ONE ROMANCE WRITER'S THOUGHTS
As an author of contemporary romantic suspense and a reader of paranormal romance, I enjoy both the realism of contemporary stories and the fantasy of a good undead or shape-shifting hero. I’d never really thought about comparing the two genres until recently – until I wrote a paranormal romance short story. What surprised me were the similarities between the two types of writing. What challenged me were the differences.
Really it’s Superman vs. Batman vs. James Bond
You may think that the biggest difference between contemporary and paranormal romance would be the hero. In many paranormal romances, it’s the hero who’s of some other species, while the heroine is human. No, this isn’t always the case, but judging by the number of covers that contain bare-chested, tattooed men, I think it’s a good place to start our discussion. CAUTION: I’ll be generalizing a lot here, so bear with me. What I found was the heroes in the two genres aren’t necessarily that different. The hero, no matter what species, may be a leather-wearing alpha male or a refined gentleman. The ghosts in his past may be real or a figment of his imagination, but his heroine is always able to accept his flaws. And whether he’s a supernatural bad-boy with the ability to incinerate you where you stand (Superman), an ex-Navy Seal who can kill with his little finger (Batman), or suave, smart, and looks great in a tux (Bond), his girl (and his readers) swoon for him.
Rewriting History…or Creating Mythology
For me, the hardest part of writing paranormal is creating the mythos surrounding the paranormal aspects of the story. The setting isn’t so hard – so many paranormals are set in contemporary times that I expect to see a werewolf running around my neighborhood one of these days. But coming up with the hows and whys is easier said than done. Here’s where you get a little sneak peek into my upcoming story**. It’s a vampire story, so I had to decide which features I wanted my vampires to have. Do they bleed? Do they read minds? Do they sparkle? And since my story is short – just over 10,000 words, how much of the mythos do I need to reveal? What made sense in this case? My story, Concessions, takes place in Las Vegas. You’d think the issue of sunlight wouldn’t be that big a deal in Sin City – half the population is nocturnal. But my story takes place in the summer, during the day, so I had to decide how my vampires would react to the sunlight. Having them catch fire would make my short story a little tooshort, so I had to think of something else (and sparkles were right out). Here’s what I came up with when one of my vampires got caught in the sun:
[The vampire] turned to face me just as a car drove by. Sunlight bounced off the windows, lighting up his scowl with a flash. Instead of bursting into flames, his face shimmered and vanished, leaving an empty hood staring at me for a split second. What the hell? I rubbed my eyes. … It was a trick of the light—it had to be.
The Conflict’s the Thing
While inventing the mythology for my paranormal world was hard, the obstacles the hero and heroine had to overcome were easier to come up with. When writing (or reading) a contemporary story, the barriers the lovers must overcome have to feel real – but not too real. One of criticisms of contemporary romance in general is it's too close to reality. Reading should be an escape, but reading about a divorcee who’s concerned her lover will walk away when he finds out she has a child may be too close to home for some. It may be simplistic, but an interspecies relationship has that barrier built in. One or both of the lovers has to sacrifice some part of themselves, be it their immortality or their soul or something else, in order for the couple to be together. It’s compelling, don’t get me wrong. But creating an obstacle for a contemporary couple to face that isn’t too real can be a challenge. That’s probably why I enjoy adding the element of suspense. Having a serial killer stalking the heroine definitely gives the couple something to overcome that most people don't face everyday. And, as you can see from this little excerpt from my romantic suspense, Whirlwind, it can also bring them together:
“I know what [he] took out of my purse. … He is coming after me.” Paranoid, I checked my mirrors, as if [the killer] could be right behind us. Jason leaned over and put his arm around me. “He won’t get near you, Melissa. I promise. He doesn’t know where you are, and you said yourself there’s no way he can find you. It’ll be okay.” His voice was low and calm. Only a hint of fear lurked around the corners of his eyes. “Let’s get something to eat, and then why don’t you let me drive for a while? You can call Detective Clark and tell him what you remembered.” He cradled my cheek in his hand and kissed me very softly. “It’ll be fine, trust me.” I let my head fall onto his shoulder and closed my eyes, trying to muster my common sense. Jason was right, of course. How could [the killer] find me? I took a deep breath. “Thanks,” I said, wishing there was a better way to tell him how grateful I was he’d stayed. Somehow I’d make it through this mess, with Jason’s help. I tried not to think about what would happen when he left on Friday. What would I do then?
In the End, it’s about Love
The truth is, both contemporary and paranormal romances are just that: romances. The lovers do manage to overcome their obstacles, be they manmade or supernatural, and find their happily ever after. And whether they live forever or grow old and gray, the key is that they are together.
Thanks so much for stopping by Robin! For more information on Robin, Whirlwind, and her other works, you can find her here:
Watch the Trailer
Concessions will be released this July as part of Omnific Publishing's Summer Lovin’ Anthology: Heat Wave. All profits of this limited release will benefit Save the ta-tas, an organization fighting to stop cancer.
Lindsey Colton leads a lonely life running the concession stand at a Las Vegas movie theater. When a dark, mysterious man ducks in one afternoon, Lindsey is introduced to a new world: one of vampires, princes, and fiery sex. Her seductive lover, Devon, has grand plans to steal her away, but only if she is willing to give up her humanity and he is willing to give up his future as king. Lindsey is more than eager to start anew with her immortal love…but the concessions Devon has to make could cost Lindsey her life.
Whirlwind is also available from Omnific Publishing in print and e-book formats, and is can be purchased directly through the Kindle and Nook stores.
Love at first sight is a myth to aspiring journalist Melissa Williams, but when she meets Jason McAlister at a friend’s wedding, a Cinderella-like fantasy turns her no-nonsense world upside down. She sees in his penetrating blue eyes not just an evening, but a lifetime together that includes much more than a glass slipper and a kiss.
Realizing she shared a few salacious emails with Jason months ago, a humiliated Melissa loses herself in the crowd, thankful he doesn’t know who she is. But he does know—and with a gentle touch and a steamy kiss, he soon picks up their flirtation right where it left off.
As midnight strikes, Melissa succumbs to Jason’s sexy pull, unaware that a woman’s body has been discovered in the wake of the party. When evidence points to Melissa as the killer’s next target, the lines between fantasy and reality blur. She goes into hiding, charmed by one mysterious man and hunted by another.
Cinderella lost a shoe—Melissa could lose both her handsome prince and her life.
I have one paperback copy of Whirlwind to give away today! To enter, please just leave a comment on the post and include a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to US residents only and will run through midnight EST on Friday, June 24th after which time a winner will be chosen and announced on the blog. Good luck everyone!