Allo my darlings!
I am SUPER excited to kick-start the Paranormal Summer Fest with a Fabulous author, Becca Fitzpatrick (!!!), I approached her months ago with a rather ballsy request and she jumped right in on my crazy wagon lol, she’s been so great! So without further babbling, I’m leaving you to Becca’s hands!
I’m excited to be here on Tynga’s Reviews today, chatting a little about *drumroll* my favorite ingredients in paranormal romantic suspense! What is it about paranormal romantic suspense that makes me a big fan of the genre? Well to begin with, it satisfies me on so many different levels. I’m an avid reader of romances, mysteries, horror and fantasy, but there’s only one genre that blurs the lines by bringing all of these elements together in one story. Paranormal romantic suspense has:
The broiling sexual tension of a romance novel
The complex riddle of a mystery
The psychological and physiological terror of horror
The supernatural of fantasy
Just like with any recipe, it takes a careful medley of ingredients before you can say, voilà! Today I want to share with you my favorite five ingredients, as a reader, for heart-pounding, hair-raising paranormal romantic suspense. Without further ado…
Almost every paranormal romantic suspense novel takes place over a few days—a few weeks at most—because the stakes are high and lives are in danger. A girl is being stalked. A child has been kidnapped. One of the teachers in the local high school is murdering students. This level of danger and tension can’t be dragged out over the space of several years. The danger is happening right now, and our heroine and hero need to figure out a way to stop it soon, or all will be lost. In real life, most people don’t fall in love in, say, ten days. But readers of paranormal romantic suspense expect the hero and heroine to fall in love. It’s one of the key reasons why I pick up the book. And for the author who doesn’t deliver…beware ;).
So how does an author go about taking two people, throwing them into the frying pan, and making sure they fall in love stat? Answer: Chemistry. Instant, electric, scintillating chemistry. The first time the hero and heroine see each other, the earth should shift. Sparks should fly. Time may even stop. The protagonists should have a strong, immediate reaction to each other…even if it’s hate.
That’s right. Hate can make for great chemistry. Think of how many books you’ve read, or even movies you’ve seen, where the hero and heroine clash big time during that first meet-up. A few weeks ago I watched Far and Away with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. There was everything from resentment to full-on disgust flying between them at first sight, and yet their chemistry was on fire. Their reaction to each other was momentous, and therefore their chemistry was so hot, I found myself clapping and squealing in spite of myself.
The Right Villain (Who’s so Twisted it’s Wrong)
I don’t know about you, but one of the reasons I read paranormal romantic suspense is for the villain. In great romantic suspense the villain is often more clever, more seductive and more experienced than the heroine and hero. He’s ruthless and charming, and he knows what he wants. He sounds a bit like a hero in his own right, doesn’t he?
So what makes him the bad guy?
This: The very thing he wants is in direct conflict with what the heroine and hero want. If the villain wants to cover up a crime to protect his mother, the heroine and hero need to be hotly pursuing the case. If the villain robs a bank to pay off his gambling debt, and takes someone hostage in the process, the heroine should be the hostage negotiator. If the villain needs a certain a treasure map to become gloriously wealthy, the heroine needs the treasure map to ransom her sister. The villain isn’t necessary evil to the core; he’s just someone whose deepest desires pit him against the protagonists—and put them in increasing danger. And while I know the villain will ultimately fail, I want a villain so strong and determined, that I begin to doubt the protagonists’ success. I want to begin to wonder if this might be the time when the villain actually does come out triumphant.
One final word on villains. In paranormal romantic suspense with a strong mystery thread, I enjoy trying to figure out who the villain is, and why he acts the way he does. Is he motivated by fear? Revenge? Ambition? Jealousy? Was he hired to kill? Is he trying to cover another crime? And just who the heck is he? The butcher? The baker? The candlestick maker?
Paranormal romantic suspense wouldn’t be around today if it weren’t for Gothic fiction, the setting of which was often crumbling and decaying castles, or mansions with convoluted corridors, towers and secret passageways. These settings instantly create a mysterious and even terrifying atmosphere and today’s paranormal romantic suspense novels have adopted these same hair-raising settings to instill psychological and physiological anxiety. An abandoned cabin in the middle of a snowstorm. A dreary, rainy town whose residents keep to themselves and don’t welcome newcomers. A drafty farmhouse with a ghost rumored to haunt the attic. A church with an ancient curse. A graveyard. You get the picture.
I love that paranormal romantic suspense squeezes every last ounce of possibility from its settings. Ever notice how the romantic suspense climax rarely takes place on a sunshiny afternoon in the park, where children are sailing boats on the pond and birds are chirping? Why? Because a sunshiny afternoon in the park isn’t dangerous. It’s not terrifying. It doesn’t make me as a reader grip the book in my hands, torn between the need to turn the page…and the fear of what I’ll find if I do. Romantic suspense stories come to a climax in just about the worst possible places you can imagine—abandoned docks, deep dark caves in the middle of Yellowstone, and even mausoleums…riddled with open caskets.
Something Wicked This Way Comes
It wouldn’t be paranormal romantic suspense without, well, something paranormal. Vampires, witches, fallen angels and ghosts, yes. But also time-travel, extrasensory perception, telepathy, X-ray vision, flying humans, arm-regeneration…oh the fun I could have with this list!
Suffice it to say, when I crack open a paranormal romantic suspense, I want to know something out of this world is in fact happening in this world.
Happily Ever After
Finally, when I pick up a paranormal romantic suspense, I don’t care how many twists and turns I’m taken on, when all is said and done, I want the heroine and hero to be together. I want them committed to each other. I want to feel that all is right in the world, and good does triumph over evil.
Speaking of evil, I want the villain to pay for his crimes. Other types of fiction can get away with the zinger ending (I’m thinking of Silence of the Lambs) where the villain lives at large, waiting to strike again. As a romantic suspense reader, I won’t tolerate it. Furthermore, if the villain’s crimes are especially heinous, I won’t be satisfied with anything short of his heart stopping beating. Cue music: Kill the beast! Kill the beast! Working together, I want to see the hero and heroine do in the villain.
There you have it. My favorite ingredients in keep-you-up-all-night paranormal romantic suspense. What about you? What do you love about paranormal romantic suspense?
And what are some favorite paranormal romantic suspense titles you’ve read lately?
Thank you very much Becca for your participation! It’s greatly appreciated ^^ And I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Crescendo!
Don’t forget to leave a comment to answer Becca’s questions!
Also! You might or might not know that The prologue and First Chapter of Crescendo are already available!!
That’s right! The Fallen Archangel had the huge honor to exclusively bring them to the fans!
So make sure you go on and Read Crescendo’s First Excerpt!
And now some contest details!
I’m sure you’ve seen this kind of contest before over at Princess Bookie, and I totally love those, so I decided to run one of my own!
That’s right, we are gonna do a Re-Create Cover Contest!
but not just any cover, no no no!
You will have to do your very own Crescendo Cover!
(pretty much a Fan Art for Crescendo)
What is there to win?
Well first of all, Becca and S&S are offering an ARC of Crescendo (which is open to US&CAN and will be mailed when they are available)
and because I’m crazy for this upcoming release and because I love my International friends out there, I will offer a pre-order of a finished copy of Crescendo (open everywhere Book Depository ships!)
How will we choose the winners?
Well first this contest will be opened for entries until June 14th, 2010.
On June 16th **EDIT June 17th** , I will put up a post with all entries and will open a vote. 1 of the winners will be chosen by popular votes.
The second winner will be Becca’s favorite cover!
Now remember the shipping restrictions above? Well unfortunately there can’t be two international winners, so if it does happen, we’ll find a solution =)
Now go ahead, get in creative mode and show us your talent!
When you are done, please fill the form below!
You don’t need to have a blog, just need to host your cover somewhere.
ENTRIES are now CLOSED, you can VOTE for final round HERE.
Please be respectful of copyrights because neither S&S, Becca Fitzpatrick nor myself support copyrights infringements.