Paranormal romance novels are hot as ever—more books are being made into films or televisions shows, sequels are being churned out and conventions are teeming with fanatic readers. It’s an interesting phenomenon that many experts have differing opinions about, but that writers and publishing houses across the world are capitalizing on.
With roots in Gothic fiction, paranormal romance novels experienced an upsurge due to the growth of technology, the internet and electronic publishing to become one of the fastest growing trends among books for young adults. Recent bestselling series produced record breaking profits, encouraging publishers to seek out up-and-coming authors of the genre.
A sub-genre of the romance story, paranormal romance books are born from speculative fiction that focuses on romance yet often takes place in a sci-fi setting. They typically blend elements of the supernatural and horror themes that are currently trending among young adult fantasy novels. Centered on a science fiction or fantasy plot, the romance element tends to be more of a subplot. This is a similar formula to the military romance genre, which may have lost its appeal due to the reality of conflicts in the last decade.
As we’ve seen from the myriad books for young adults that are bestsellers of the genre, the protagonists tend to have supernatural powers or may be in love with a character who has them—ghosts, shapeshifters and vampires, as well as those with psychic, magical or spell casting abilities. Often times, these characters may not like each other in the beginning or are unable to be together due to extenuating circumstances. The plot builds to a climax and usually results in these two characters falling in love, with perhaps elements of mystery, crime or suspense that leads to the time-honored theme of good prevailing over evil.
While the obsession with vampire and wizards finally dies down, readers are still flocking for the paranormal—if it’s unexplainable it can lead to escapism, and that’s why most readers pick up a book, isn’t it?