Squawk Radio

Monday, June 13, 2005

Elizabeth Goes Woo Woo

Originally uploaded by EliBev.
I've just come off a paranormal glom. I understand this is the fastest growing subgenre of romance right now, which I find very interesting. I remember one of my college professors saying that the turn of the century--regardless of which century was turning--has always heralded a sudden interest in spirituality, supernatural phenomena and--ta da!--the paranormal. So the turning of a millennium must multiply that interest tenfold.

BLUE MOON by Lori Handeland, which is about a pack of werewolves descending on a small Wisconsin town, was easily the best of the bunch I read, and I was delighted to discover it's the first of a series. I have since bought the second book, HUNTER'S MOON and am looking forward to it, as soon as I finish with galleys for my October book and a couple of manuscript critiques I promised to do.

What I loved most about the book is that the heroine is real kickass without being obnoxious, and she's funny as hell. There is suitable mystery and intrigue shrouding the hero, truly un-cliched secondary characters, especially a police dispatcher, and, to put it mildly, extreme heat.

If memory serves, Handeland started off writing historicals, but you'd never know it from her wholly contemporary voice. And it's a strong, unique voice, the heroine's first-person point of view. Normally, I'm not too crazy about first person POV in romance (though I like it very much in mystery), because I always want to know what the hero is thinking. Somehow, though, not knowing what this hero was thinking just made him that much more attractive.

Anyway, why is it, do you all think, that paranormal is growing so much lately? When I first started writing romance, there was virtually none of this stuff being published, and what little there was tended to be easily dismissed by, oh...everybody. Then they gave us OUTLANDER at the RWA National conference one year, and boom. Suddenly everyone was loving this stuff.

Even at that, though, it took a LONG time for paranormal to really catch on. As recently as a few years ago, editors just weren't interested at most houses. Now they can't seem to buy it fast enough. Paranormal is where new authors are breaking out, where veterans are breaking through the glass ceiling, and where readers are finding new books and authors to read.

Me, I see it being a viable subgenre from here on out, though I think, like everything, it's going to peak soon and then fall off. This always happens with the latest hot trend. Publishers put out a plethora of it, good books as well as bad, and eventually readers get tired of being burned by the bad books and become more careful about their purchases. When the sales start dropping off, so will many of the books. The big names, and the writers with real talent will be set for life. But like everything else in this business, the chaff will ultimately go to seed.

Still, it's very exciting when new things come along in romance. And I love seeing so many new author names on the shelves just waiting to be discovered. For now, I'm going to be plucking the grain and the chaff both. Because you never know when you'll find a rose among the thorns.

And now I better get back to work, before I start ODing on harvest metaphors. Especially since I'm almost certainly using them incorrectly. (Hey, just 'cause I love corn on the cob doesn't mean I know where it comes from. Besides the produce section of my local grocery store, I mean.)
Elizabeth Bevarly, 1:22 PM