We are very happy to have author J.K. Beck (aka Julie Kenner) here today. Her new novel When Blood Calls came at the end of August and next week is the official release of book 2, When Pleasure Rules. Today she is here to tell us about the line between Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy.
Be sure to check out the end of the post for your chance to win When Pleasure Rules. Please give JK a warm welcome.
THE SWINGING DOOR BETWEEN PARANORMAL ROMANCE & URBAN FANTASY
I had a booksigning for WHEN BLOOD CALLS a week ago, and afterwards, my husband reported that he overheard a woman wandering the aisles complaining to her husband: “Vampires! All these books about vampires! When are they going to stop?”
As far as I can tell, that’s a long time coming. Because not only are vampires wildly popular—in books, movies, television—but also because vampires are only one component of a surge in paranormal fiction that straddles genres in a way that no other genre comes close.
Sure, mystery or horror or romance often straddle that thriller line, but the two aren’t symbiotic. Ditto chick lit/romance, and any sort of “mainstream” fiction that has a romance in it.
Urban fantasy and paranormal, though…well, the lines seem to really be blurring.
Of course, I’m writing only about my perspective, which is a limited one considering my view of the world is pretty limited to what I can see from the chair in front of my computer, but the UF/PNR thing is hard to miss. Folks tend to lump the two together-bloggers, readers, booksellers.
That makes it an exciting time to be writing either UF or PNR, not only from a story telling aspect, but because there are cross-over readers out there.
My Shadow Keepers series is paranormal romance because the focus of each book is a romance between the two main characters. The characters—especially the paranormal ones—are dark, many deeply tortured, and they inhabit a gritty world where justice is meted out by a paranormal judicial system that is almost a character in its own right. The tone of the books, the world-building and the multiple points of view straddle that urban fantasy line (for that matter, they cross the thriller line, too).
Of course, analysis of genres is all good and well after the fact, but none of that mattered in writing the book. My goal was a dark and gritty story that readers could sink their teeth into.
Here’s a short excerpt (the hero, Luke, has confessed to murder…a confession that has irritated his attorney, Nick, since a confessed killer is a bit harder to defend):
Luke was a player, and expendable. He had always known that. But his ultimate goal was justice. And, yes, he sought penance as well. Redemption for a past that he had managed to escape. A past that crept softly up to him more often than he would like to taunt him, to urge him to sink down under.
He would not.
He had fought long and hard for the restoration of his soul, and he despised those who willingly succumbed to the daemon, who would not even pitch the battle.
He was kyne for a reason, and acknowledged or not, he would stand true.
“If it comes to that, you know I’ll protect the kyne. But I don’t expect an investigation that deep. They have my DNA, and Ryan Doyle has already filed a witness statement. The case is open and shut. There’s no reason to dig.”
“The PEC doesn’t always need a reason,” Nick retorted. “And Ryan Doyle will probably take on your trial as a personal crusade.”
That much, Luke thought, was true. “I need out of here, Nick,” he said, standing. “I have no intention of staying in this goddammed cell.”
Nick didn’t even bother to pretend shock or dismay. “I’m assuming you’re not intending to wait for my brilliant legal tap dancing to acquit you. So what are you planning, and how is my ass going to be compromised?”
“Not you. The prosecutor. She’s a human, new to the Division. Her name’s Sara Constantine.”
“I know,” Nick said. “I’ve started a file. Her legal background’s exceptional, but unremarkable for our purposes. Straight A’s. Good creds. Solid work history with the County.”
“And with Division?”
“Today’s her first day on the job, actually. Division ran all the standard tests—she’s not mentally susceptible, which is a damn shame—and they’ve tossed her into the job running. From her file, I’d say she’s up for the challenge, which leaves us no lines to tug. Not professionally, anyway.”
“There, we may have caught a break.”
He pulled out his cell phone, then slapped it down on the table, a dark image locked on the screen.
“Her father,” Nick said, as Luke looked down at the date-stamped crime scene photo of a middle aged man, his neck ripped open in a manner that was only too familiar. “Armand Constantine. And eight year old Sara saw the whole bloody business.”
“Ah, Sara,” Luke said, his heart breaking for the woman she was, and for the child she had been. He could feel the daemon raging inside him, and he welcomed it. Longed for it to surface if by revealing itself he could rip the life from the vampire who had taken so much from her. “Who did this?”
“Well, friend. This is the portion of our program wherein we wonder if the universe doesn’t have one hell of a sense of humor.”
“Who?” Luke repeated.
At the name, Luke’s head shot up, his attention shifting from the image to his friend. “What did you say?”
“You heard me.” He met Luke’s eyes, and Luke saw the calculation there. The same thoughts that had swirled through Luke’s mind. The same schemes, the same plots. “No guarantees, Luke. You might be her goddamned hero, and if you are we can get one hell of a lot of mileage off the deal. You killed her father’s murderer, and she might fall to the ground and kiss your feet. But it could just as easily turn the other way. A vampire killed daddy. A monster from the dark. And you’re a vampire, Luke. Just like Crouch. To Sara Constantine, we may all be monsters.”
I hope you check out the series. If you do, be sure to drop me a line and tell me what you think. You can read more about it at www.theshadowkeepers.com or read my blog entries at www.jkbeck.com — same site, different sections. There, you can learn about contests, read excerpts, request swag, and check out my book trailer!
And be sure to comment below to be in the running for a copy of WHEN PLEASURE RULES, the second book in the series! Not sure what to say? Let us know what you think about the PNR/UF straddle. Do you read both, or do you tend to stay on one side or the other?
Please leave us a way to contact you (Email addy in Blogger profile or twitter name is okay).