Paranormal romance

Paranormal romance is a subgenre of both romantic fiction and speculative fiction. Paranormal romance focuses on romantic love and includes elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, blending together themes from the speculative fiction genres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Paranormal romance may range from traditional category romances, such as those published by Harlequin Mills & Boon, with a paranormal setting to stories where the main emphasis is on a science fiction or fantasy-based plot with a romantic subplot included. Common hallmarks are romantic relationships between humans and vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, and other entities of a fantastic or otherworldly nature.

Beyond the more prevalent themes involving vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, or time travel, paranormal romances can also include books featuring characters with psychic abilities, like telekinesis or telepathy. Paranormal romance has its roots in Gothic fiction. Its most recent revival has been spurred by turn of the 21st century technology, e.g. the internet and electronic publishing. Paranormal romances are one of the fastest growing trends in the romance genre.

Examples of authors specializing in this genre include Dani Harper, Nalini Singh (author), Jessica Bird, Kresley Cole, Christine Feehan, Kelley Armstrong,[1] and Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series. According to 2013 statistics by the fantasy publisher Tor Books, among writers of urban fantasy or paranormal romance, 57% are women and 43% are men, whereas men outnumber women by about two to one in writing historical, epic or high fantasy.[2]

Definition and subgenres

Paranormal romance blends the real with the fantastic or science fictional. The fantastic elements may be woven into an alternate version of our own world in an urban fantasy involving vampires, demons, and/or werewolves, or they may be more "normal" manifestations of the paranormal—humans with psychic abilities, witches, or ghosts. Time travel, futuristic, and extraterrestrial romances also fall beneath the paranormal umbrella.[3]

These novels often blend elements of other subgenres, including suspense and mystery, with their fantastic themes. A few paranormals are set solely in the past and are structured much like any historical romance novel. Others are set in the future, sometimes on different worlds. Still others have a time-travel element with either the hero or the heroine traveling into the past or the future.[4] Between 2002 and 2004, the number of paranormal romances published in the United States doubled to 170 per year. A popular title in the genre can sell over 500,000 copies.[5]

As in the fantasy subgenre known as urban fantasy, many paranormal romances rely on the blend of contemporary life with the existence of supernatural or magically-empowered beings, human or otherwise; sometimes the larger culture is aware of the magical in its midst, sometimes it is not. Some paranormal romances focus less on the specifics of their alternative worlds than do traditional science fiction or fantasy novels, keeping the attention strongly on the underlying romance.[6] Others develop the alternate reality meticulously, combining well-planned magical systems and inhuman cultures with contemporary reality.

The first futuristic romance to be marketed by a mainstream romance publisher, Jayne Ann Krentz's Sweet Starfire, was published in 1986 and was a "classic road trip romance" which just happened to be set in a separate galaxy.[7] This genre has become much more popular since 2000. Krentz attributes the popularity of this subgenre to the fact that the novels "are, at heart, classic historical romances that just happen to be set on other worlds".[7]

Time-travel romances are a version of the classic "fish out of water" story. In most, the heroine is from the present day and travels into the past to meet the hero. In a smaller subset of these novels, the hero, who lives in the past, travels forward into his future to meet the heroine. A successful time-travel romance must have the characters react logically to their experience, and should investigate some of the differences, both physical and mental, between the world the character normally inhabits and the one in which they have landed. Some writers choose to end their novels with the protagonists trapped in different time periods and unable to be together—to the displeasure of many readers of the genre.[8]


The P.E.A.R.L. (Paranormal Excellence Award for Romantic Literature) was a reader's choice award, presented annually to the top-voted paranormal romances by the ParaNormal Romance Groups naming the "best of year" in ten categories related to paranormal romance and romantic science fiction.

Authors such as Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz, Kresley Cole, Linnea Sinclair and Christine Feehan have written under this genre and won P.E.A.R.L.s.

It has not been active since 2008.

See also


  1. ^ "Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy - Paranormal Romance: The top 10 Paranormal Romance Authors (showing 1-50 of 67)".
  2. ^ Crisp, Julie (10 July 2013). "SEXISM IN GENRE PUBLISHING: A PUBLISHER'S PERSPECTIVE". Tor Books. Retrieved 29 April 2015. (See full statistics)
  3. ^ "Romance Novels--Subgenres". Romance Writers of America. Retrieved 2017-03-23.
  4. ^ "Submission Guidelines". Dorchester Publishing. Archived from the original on 2007-04-30. Retrieved 2007-04-30.
  5. ^ Luscombe, Belinda (February 19, 2006). "Well, Hello, Suckers". Time. Time. Retrieved 2007-04-23.
  6. ^ Marble, Anne M. (2001). "The Subgenres of Romance". Writing-World.Com. Retrieved 2007-04-30.
  7. ^ a b Gelsomino, Tara (2002). "Review of Smoke in Mirrors". Romantic Times. Archived from the original on 2007-10-04. Retrieved 2007-07-26.
  8. ^ Marble, Anne M. (September 2002). "Writing Time Travel Romances". Writing-world.Com. Archived from the original on 2007-06-26. Retrieved 2007-07-30.
Annalee Blysse

Annalee Blysse is an American paranormal romance novelist. Born and raised in Alaska, she recently moved to Nevada.

She writes romances, and erotic romance, especially futuristic and paranormal.

Blameless (novel)

Blameless is a steampunk paranormal romance novel by Gail Carriger. First published on September 1, 2010 by Orbit Books, Blameless is the third book in a projected five-novel "The Parasol Protectorate" series, each featuring Alexia Tarabotti, a woman without a soul, as its lead character. The book, originally published as a "mass-market" paperback, was a New York Times Best Seller.

Changeless (novel)

Changeless is a steampunk paranormal romance novel by Gail Carriger. First published in the United States on April 1, 2010 by Orbit Books, Changeless is the second book in a projected five-novel "The Parasol Protectorate" series, each featuring Alexia Tarabotti, a woman without a soul, as its lead character. The book, originally published as a "mass-market" paperback, was a New York Times Best Seller.

Christine Feehan

Christine Feehan (b. Christine King in California) is an American romance-paranormal writer. She has published more than 40 novels, including five series, and numerous novellas since 1999.

Daayan (TV series)

Daayan (English: Witch) is an Indian paranormal romance drama series created by Ekta Kapoor under Balaji Telefilms. It premiered on 15 December 2018 on &TV and stars Pavitra Punia, Mohit Malhotra and Tina Datta as Chandrika, Aakarsh and Janhvi.

Darkest Powers

The Darkest Powers is a series of paranormal novels by Kelley Armstrong. The series revolves around The Edison Group, a team of supernatural scientists, and the subjects they have experimented on. The novels are divided into two trilogies. The Summoning, The Awakening, and The Reckoning comprise The Darkest Powers trilogy, which follows fifteen-year-old necromancer Chloe Saunders. The Gathering, The Calling, and The Rising comprise The Darkness Rising trilogy, which follows a sixteen-year-old girl named Maya Delaney.

Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger is the pen name of Tofa Borregaard, an American archaeologist and author of steampunk fiction. She was born in Bolinas, an unincorporated community in Marin County, California, and attended high school at Marin Academy. She received her undergraduate degree from Oberlin College, a masters of science in archaeological materials at England's University of Nottingham in 2000, and a master of arts in anthropology (with a focus on archaeology) at the University of California Santa Cruz in 2008.

Heartless (Carriger novel)

Heartless is a steampunk paranormal romance novel by Gail Carriger. Released on June 28, 2011, by Orbit Books, Heartless is the fourth book in the New York Times best-selling "The Parasol Protectorate" series, each featuring Alexia Tarabotti, a woman without a soul, as its lead character.

Kresley Cole

Kresley Cole is an American #1 New York Times bestselling author of paranormal romance and young adult novels. She has received three Romance Writers of America (RWA) RITA Awards and was inducted into the RWA Hall of Fame in 2009.

Linnea Sinclair

Linnea Sinclair (born 1954 in New Jersey, United States) is an American writer of Science Fiction Romance, Fantasy romance and Paranormal romance. Sinclair's Gabriel's Ghost was the winner of the 2006 RITA Award in the Best Paranormal Romance category. She has used the pseudonym Megan Sybil Baker. Formerly, she has been a news reporter and a private detective.

My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon

My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon, edited by P.N. Elrod, is the 2007 sequel to the 2006 book My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding. Honeymoon is an anthology of honeymoon stories contributed by several authors such as the author of the Otherworld series Kelley Armstrong, the author of The Morganville Vampires series Rachel Caine, and many more.

Remembrance (Cabot novel)

Remembrance is a novel written by author Meg Cabot and was published by William Morrow and Company in 2016. It is an adult sequel to her popular Mediator series.

Soulless (novel)

Soulless is a steampunk paranormal romance novel by Gail Carriger. First published in the United States on October 1, 2009 by Orbit Books, Soulless is the first book in a projected five-novel "The Parasol Protectorate" series, each featuring Alexia Tarabotti, a woman without a soul, as its lead character. A finalist for several literary awards and a recipient of the 2010 Alex Award, Soulless was declared by Publishers Weekly to be one of the "Best Books of 2009". A manga adaptation of the first 3 volumes of the novel was published by Yen Press in July 2011.

The Reckoning (Armstrong novel)

The Reckoning is the final novel in the Darkest Powers Trilogy written by Kelley Armstrong. It was released in the USA April 6, 2010. It is the last in the series. The next trilogy follows a new set of teenagers however Kelley has confirmed Chloe and the others will show up.

Twilight (Cabot novel)

Twilight is the sixth young adult novel in the Mediator series by Meg Cabot, published by Avon Books in 2004. In the UK, it was published with the title Heaven Sent. It was the final novel in the series until the publication of Remembrance in 2016.

Twilight (Meyer novel)

Twilight (stylized as twilight) is a 2005 young adult vampire-romance novel by author Stephenie Meyer. It is the first book in the Twilight series, and introduces seventeen-year-old Isabella "Bella" Swan, who moves from Phoenix, Arizona to Forks, Washington. She is endangered after falling in love with Edward Cullen, a vampire. Additional novels in the series are New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn.

Twilight received lukewarm reviews. Some praised the novel's tone and its portrayal of common teenage emotions such as alienation and rebellion. Others criticized Meyer's prose and argued the story was lacking in character development. It reached number five on the New York Times bestseller list within a month of its release and eventually reached first place. The novel was named one of Publishers Weekly's Best Children's Books of 2005.The film adaptation, released in 2008, was a commercial success, grossing more than $392 million worldwide and making an additional $157 million in North American DVD sales as of July 2009. The book was the biggest-selling of 2008; in 2009, it was the second-biggest selling, losing only to its sequel New Moon.As of 2008, Twilight has been translated into 37 different languages.In October 2015, Stephenie Meyer announced a new gender-swapped version of the novel, entitled Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, with characters Beau and Edythe, in honor of the 10th anniversary of the Twilight saga.

Urban fantasy

Urban fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy in which the narrative has magical rules or elements operating in an urban setting. Works of urban fantasy may be set in the real world and introduce aspects of fantasy, or in a fantasy world with operating rules recognizably similar to ours. Elements such as discovery of earthbound mythological creatures, coexistence or conflict between humans and paranormal beings, and the changes such characters and events bring to local life are the mainspring. Many authors, publishers, and readers distinguish them from works of paranormal romance, which use similar characters and settings, but focus on the romantic relationships between characters. A contemporary setting is not strictly necessary for a work of urban fantasy: works of the genre may also take place in futuristic and historical settings, actual or imagined, as long as the rules remain recognizably those of the present universe.

Vampire Kisses

Vampire Kisses is a series of books written by Ellen Schreiber. Vampire Kisses is about a 16-year-old girl named Raven Madison who is a goth misfit in her polo-wearing, ordinary, town. When an old abandoned mansion finally gets new residents, the rumors start to spread. Everyone in the small town, which Raven refers to as “Dullsville”, believes that the new neighbors are actually secret bloodthirsty vampires. Even Raven, who has always loved vampires since she was little, believes the rumors. But one day, she encounters the attractive yet mysterious Alexander Sterling that lives in the mansion, and feels like he is the only person that actually understands her. The two very quickly fall in love, but still the question remains; are the Sterlings really vampires?

The first book in the series, Vampire Kisses, was one of the American Library Association's young adult book picks for 2004.

Wyndham Werewolves

The Wyndham Werewolves series is a paranormal romance book series by MaryJanice Davidson. The series is about the Wyndham werewolf pack and focuses on various characters throughout the series.

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