Love in the Stacks: Paranormal romance is NOT dead!

"Slave to Sensation" by Nalini Singh.

One thing has weighed on my mind since the RWA national conference this summer, and it is that many publishers are not looking for paranormal romance manuscripts right now. I have always read paranormal romance, so hearing this over and over really got to me.

In turn, I heard publishers wanted New Adult, contemporary and historical. Fair enough, but why not paranormal? Is my genre not good enough anymore?

Luckily, that isn’t the case. Apparently, romance genres come and go in cycles. Paranormal was big back in the early 2000s and then went cold for a bit until Twilight came along. Now it’s so big again that publishers are looking to publish other genres. According to my sources, in a few years paranormal will roll back into popularity. We just have to give it some time.

Does this mean that the paranormal romance genre will die out for a bit? No, it just means that the amazing paranormal romance authors who have books coming out will continue to fill the marketplace. Basically, new authors might have to hold on to their manuscripts for a bit. That is, if they want to be traditionally published. This isn’t to say that all publishers are not considering new voices and fresh stories; it just means that right now we’re in a low cycle for the genre. Don’t worry! We’ll continue to receive stellar books from J.R. Ward, Kresley Cole and Larissa Ione.

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I remember reading Red Handed by Gena Showalter and realizing that romance could take place on Earth, amongst the stars, or even in a world much different from our own. In the book, Phoenix, an alien investigation agent-in-training, falls for her rough and tough instructor, the delicious Ryan Stone. The story captivated me completely, because while I was hooked by the alien invasion, which I always enjoy, I was even more mesmerized by the romance taking place. It was the best of both worlds, because my sense of fantastical adventure was being fed, as well as my heart.

I enjoy books that involve magic, starships, mythological creatures, and the like. I love it so much that I wrote my first paranormal romance novella, The Boy and His Wolf (writing as Sean Thomas), which comes out Oct. 7.

Paranormal romance, for me and maybe for you, is just different. It nourishes a sense of adventure in a way that other genres do not. I enjoy characters who can fight demons and, in some cases, are the demons themselves. Literally. Take Christine Feehan’s Dark Prince, where the hero comes from an ancient race and its only hope, and his own survival, lies within a human woman. Love within the paranormal romance genre can go outside of the lines, and I think that draws readers in.

I asked contemporary romance author Heather Lire, author of Second Chance Hearts, why she thinks the contemporary genre never seems to go out of style. She agrees that readers are looking for something very specific when they read a genre, with contemporary offering the opposite of paranormal. She says, “I honestly think it’s because the characters’ struggles are ones that the readers can be going through at that same moment. One of my favorite HQN Presents books is The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain by Lucy Monroe. It was the first time I’d ever read a heroine’s endometriosis being the issue in a couple’s relationship. This book came out a few years after I went through exactly what the heroine was going through physically.”.

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While some readers are looking for stories that mirror their own, some are looking for those that are impossible. I will never fall in love in real life with an alien on a distant planet, or with a shifter, but I certainly enjoy reading about those who do.

Whether you’re new to the genre or a longtime fan, you don’t have to worry about it going anywhere. In fact, here’s a great list that I think will get you started!

• Night Pleasures (Dark-Hunter No. 1) by Sherrilyn Kenyon.

• Dragon Bound (Elder Races No. 1) by Thea Harrison.

• Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse No. 1) by Charlaine Harris.

• Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling No. 1) by Nalini Singh.

• Stormwalker (Stormwalker No. 1) by Allyson James.

• Atlantis Rising (Warriors of Poseidon No. 1) by Alyssa Day.

Sean Gilmartin (@author_sean) has always been in a world of fantasy and superheroes. It was his fascination with good vs. Evil that kindled his love of reading. When he is not working as an award-winning librarian, Sean blogs more often than he likes to admit. Follow Sean’s blog and his work as paranormal romance author Sean Thomas at www.Seanthomasauthor.Com.