Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sharon Schulze: Paranormals, Anyone?

We've just left the season of creepy crawlies . . . ghosts and ghouls and creatures who live their lives (if they are alive :-)) beneath the cover of night. Because of Halloween there have been a slew of paranormal-themed movies and TV shows on the tube lately, nearly enough of a selection to match up with the current explosion of paranormal romances in book stores.

There are all kinds of paranormals on the shelves--contemporary, historical, futuristic. You don't like vampires? We've got a nice shape shifter in this book over here. If you enjoy paranormal romances, you're in luck. There seems to be a paranormal for any taste.

I like paranormals. Not every one, obviously, or every kind, but the fact that there are paranormal elements in a book wouldn't keep me from buying it. In fact, given my mood at the time I'm perusing the shelves, that may be a big incentive for me to buy it. In all honesty I don't care where they're set, or when. I've read some form or another of paranormals almost as long as I've been reading, starting with Gothics and moving on from there. If the story interests me, I'll give it a try. I used paranormal elements in one of my medievals--I didn't set out to do so, but the characters and story demanded it. It was fun to write, and readers seemed to enjoy it, too.

There has been some discussion lately on one of my email loops about paranormal elements in historicals. Are they historicals, or paranormals? Does it matter to you as a reader if they're both? Would the presence of paranormal elements (of any kind) in a historical keep you from reading it, if it sounded like a good story? Or if you usually read contemporary paranormal romances, would the fact that a book was a historical paranormal bother you?

I'm curious (of course I am, I'm a writer :-)). What do you think?


Wendy said...

I'm a little burnt out on paranormals at the moment - but I think if it was a historical paranormal I might be more apt to give it a shot (given that historicals are my "first love").

As for what do you label it? Well this is something librarians battle with every day. I mean, should J.D. Robb be in mystery or in romance? Is historical inspirational fiction historical? Or inspirational? It's enough to make your head hurt.

Sharon Schulze said...

I agree with you on the labels, Wendy. There are so many sub-genres, quite a number of books fall into at least 2 categories. I feel for librarians and booksellers; there's often no clear cut definition of a book's genre/sub-genre. I guess the present method of categorization in stores (romance, mystery, etc.) is about as clear as we can get!

Lynn Spencer said...

I like paranormals, but basically I also like to get a lot of variety in my reading. There are just so many paranormals out now that I'm starting to get a little burnt out on them. When I go shopping, it seems like every other book is either a paranormal or a regency historical.

I would gladly read a historical paranormal, but I would also want to be able to mix in some regular historicals on the tbr stack.