Way back in 1992, when the grunge music scene made plaid shirts and Converse high tops a daily uniform, I saw a movie called Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I remember my younger self being completely absorbed by the pull Gary Oldman had over Winona Ryder, the lure and mystery of the cursed Dracula on the innocent Mina, the role of blood, fate, good, and evil all tied up inside a sensual romance. I liked it so much I read the book, published for the first time in 1897. It became one of my favorite books of all time.
Vampires, werewolves, fallen angels, ghosts, zombies: I’ve been a fan of the paranormal for over two decades. It’s no surprise that my obsession should turn into a career writing paranormal fiction. But how much is too much? With the advent of series such as Twilight, Shiver, The Mortal Instruments, and beyond, it would be easy to think that the paranormal fad had run it’s course.
Am I doomed to a reading life without vampires? Are werewolves too cliche to cuddle up to? Have fallen angels fallen out of favor?
I say no. For over 200 years, paranormal fiction has offered an escape that leaves us questioning what it means to be human. These stories help us appreciate the beauty of life through the eyes of the characters who don't have it, the dead and undead, and experience the forbidden fruit of crossing the line between good and evil. These themes will never go out of style, even if certain portrayals of the entities behind them do.
Lucky for me and the rest of the reading public, talented authors keep coming up with new ways to make the genre fresh and the characters complex. Did someone say Trolls? Amanda Hocking’s Switched is a clever take. Mermaids? Check out Tangled Tides by Karen Amanda Hooper. Mind reading and telekinesis? Try Susan Kaye Quinn’s Open Minds or Karly Kirkpatrick's Into the Shadows. And if J.R. Ward and Charmaine Harris have taught us anything, it is that vampires and shifters are here to stay, even more than ten books into a series.
What do you think? Paranormal, dead or undead? I’d love to hear your opinion.
G.P Ching is the author of The Soulkeepers Series and a variety of short fiction. She specializes in cross-genre paranormal stories, loves old cemeteries, and enjoys a good ghost tour. She lives in central Illinois with her husband, two children, and one very demanding guinea pig.