Paranormal romance often has an unusual setting to the novel’s story. It might have a lot of similarities with the traditional romances from Harlequin Mills & Boon. However, paranormal romance also includes stories that emphasize on a plot based on fantasy or science fiction. Paranormal romance is a sub-genre of speculative fiction and romantic fiction.
The major characteristics are romantic relationships between humans and ghosts, vampires, shapeshifters, or similar otherworldly beings. Although the major focus is on romantic love, you’ll also encounter elements with no scientific explanation. You might also see a blend of themes from fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres of speculative fiction.
Some paranormal romances might also include time travel or characters with certain psychic abilities. Some of these abilities are telepathy and telekinesis. This sub-genre of romantic fiction has its roots in gothic fiction.
Paranormal romance has gone through a revival phase recently owing to the technological advancements of the 21st century. The internet and electronic publishing process have given a boost to paranormal romances. As a result, it has become a trending sub-genre of romantic fiction today. Some of the examples of authors who specialize in this genre include Jessica Bird, Nalini Singh, and Jackie Ivie.
Tor Books, the fantasy publisher, revealed the statistics in 2013. According to the data, 57% of the writers of paranormal romance or urban fantasy were women. The genre that has men outnumbering women by almost two to one is historical, epic, or high fantasy.
The elements of fantasy in paranormal romances may be woven into a different version of our own world. For example, an urban fantasy may involve demons, vampires, or werewolves. You might also find more normal forms of the paranormal, such as humans with supernatural abilities. Ghosts or witches may also be involved. You can also place time travel, extraterrestrial, and futuristic romances under this genre.
So, paranormal romances can be described as a blend of the real with fantasy or science fiction. They might also blend elements of certain other sub-genres. Fantasy themes may include mystery and suspense. You’ll also find some paranormal romances with their setting entirely in the past. They’re structured more like historical romance novels.
Many others have their setting in the future and sometimes in different worlds. Some might have a time-travel element. Either the hero or the heroine would travel into the future or the past. The number of paranormal romances published in the United States per year had doubled between 2002 and 2004. In this genre, a popular title carries the potential to sell more than 500,000 copies.
In the urban fantasy sub-genre, many of the paranormal romances blend the supernatural with contemporary life. The authors do this by creating certain characters with magical powers. At times, the larger culture has the awareness of the presence of these magical beings amid people. Some stories don’t delve too much into the specifics of their alternative worlds.
Thus, the attention is more on the underlying romance in these novels. In some paranormal romances, the development of the alternate worlds happen rather meticulously. They combine contemporary reality with non-human cultures and well-planned magical systems.