Putting the “Normal” into Paranormal Romance
Lisa M. Airey, Author, “Touching the Moon”
Like many, I read to relax. I read as a stress-buster. I enjoy supernatural and paranormal elements in a novel especially when built into a supernatural/paranormal world because the abnormal is normal in that construct. But I take special issue with novels in which everyday folk living within an everyday reality embrace the paranormal/supernatural as if all the weirdness were mundane occurrences.
“Oh, you’re a vampire/leprechaun/faerie/werewolf. Cool!”
I’m not buying. Normalcy goes a long way into making a novel, especially a paranormal novel, believable.
Most readers of the paranormal genre have no problem suspending their disbelief. I don’t either. Patricia Briggs and Charlaine Harris are two of my favorite authors. I love the worlds that they have created. Their main characters are, above all things, “normal” even when belonging to another reality altogether. They have jobs, broken relationships and struggle to pay bills. When trouble comes, there is no Deus Ex Machina; they deal.
Likewise, when their human characters are confronted with the paranormal/supernatural aspects of the story, there is shock, denial and fear as they try to reassemble themselves within a world they didn’t know existed. As a result, the paranormal elements of the story become all the more believable.
It’s a technique that works.
In “Touching the Moon”, the protagonist, Julie is devastated to find out that her love interest is a lycanthrope. She shares her shattered reality in this scene:
Cole looked up as she walked through the office door Monday morning and did a double take. Despite the rouge and the cover-up, Julie looked shattered and haunted.
“We’ve got a few minutes. Why don’t we talk?” he said in an avuncular manner. Julie joined him wordlessly and took a seat. “What happened this weekend?” Cole asked, handing her a cup of coffee.
She looked up at him, trying desperately to keep control of her emotions. She didn’t know what to say, so she spoke the truth. “Met that tiger in the jungle,” she whispered.
“From the looks of it, the encounter didn’t go so well,” he said softly.
She brushed away a tear.
“Have you been hurt, Julie?”
She shook her head “no”.
“You look very upset.”
She looked at him with a ravaged soul. “I thought I was a tough cookie,” she said, taking a deep and shaky breath.
“You are a tough cookie” They both fell silent, and Cole waited for her to collect herself.
“You know, they teach us that the sky is blue.” She looked out the window. “All our lives we are told that the sky is blue. I see it with my own eyes. But it isn’t really blue, is it? It’s black. Space is black. Our atmosphere is just an illusion.”
“I’m not handling this new reality very well.”
“What can I do?”
She worked very hard at a smile. “Nothing, Cole, but thank you so much for asking.” She took a ragged breath. “I’ve got some things I need to work out and I’ve got to figure this one out all by myself. I think that I’m over the worst of it. I hope that I’m over the worst of it.” She wiped away another tear. “Right now I’m just trying to get myself back in the saddle, so to speak.”
“Well, young lady, anytime you need a leg-up, you just holler. I’m here to listen too, if you need an ear.”
“I appreciate that.” She expected polite respect, but what she saw was complete understanding. She was rather confused by this. Their eyes met wordlessly.
“I’m right here Julie.”
She was so fractured. “I don’t know what to do.”
He waited. “Can you give me a little more to go on?”
“I really like the tiger.”
“Ah. Well, can you like the tiger from a distance? Would that work? You don’t have to go into the jungle if you don’t want to.”
“I’m already in the jungle.”
“Can you get out?”
“I’m not sure…and I’m not sure that I want to get out.”
“What does your heart tell you, Julie?”
“It tells me to hang in there.”
“Then hang in there, okay?”
“Hey,” he said softly. “I happen to know a little bit about tigers. I’ve lived here all my life. You know, I’ve run into a few myself on occasion.”
“I’m not sure that we’re talking about the same thing,” Julie said carefully. “I’m not really talking about tigers.”
“Neither am I,” said Cole meaningfully. “If I’m on the right page, Julie, and I think that I am, I don’t think you need to be afraid of your tiger. You just need to get used to the fact that he’s a tiger. Does that help?”
What do you think? Does such a scene make the “unbelievable” element of the story more believable?
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Touching the Moon
Lisa M. Airey
Genre: Romantic Suspense with a Paranormal Twist
Publisher: Aakenbaaken & Kent, NY
Number of pages: 272
Word Count: 89K
Cover Artist: www.reese-winslow.com
A gifted healer with a genetic secret and a haunted past, Julie Hastings takes her new veterinary degree to South Dakota hoping to bury memories of a physically abusive stepfather and unprotective mother.
Although intending to lead a quiet life, she finds herself relentlessly pursued by two unwelcome suitors: the Chief of Police and a powerful member of the Sioux Indian Nation.
The man she chooses shatters her world-view.
Her stepfather taught her that not all monsters run on four legs. Now Julie must face another truth—some beasts are good.
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/-4drhhDLcSU
About the Author:
Lisa has worked in the wine industry for 20 years, the most recent eight in education with the Society of Wine Educators and the French Wine Society. In these roles, she has authored and/or edited wine study manuals and developed or expanded certification programs for the wine trade.
In her free-time, she writes fiction...naturally, with a glass of wine at the elbow.
She is a Maryland Master Gardener and puts that training into practice in her sizable vegetable garden. To assist her, she has recruited the services of a very helpful staff: two Chinese geese, two mini-Rex rabbits and 2,000 red wigglers (worms)…all of which are “master composters”. An adopted feral cat guards the perimeters and keeps the groundhogs at bay. She resides in Monkton, Maryland.