Readers look to spirited romance for literary love?


“The brain may die, but my compulsion for useless trivia lives on.”

Molly Harper, Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs

Molly Harper is a librarian which is probably why I opted for this pithy quote. She’s also a lover of a genre commonly known as “spirited romance.” This is the gentle term often used to describe literary works that deal with love among the vampires, werewolves, demons, shapeshifters, ghosts, angels, changelings and their ilk.

And spirit romances are hot – in more ways than one. So hot that exhibit designer Ruthann Ovenshire is feverishly creating a display of blistering fiction titles plucked from the shelves of Minneapolis Central Library.

The exhibit includes titles from these and other prolific authors adept at weaving a tale of spirited romance just right for a long winter evening’s read: Cherry Adair, Claire Ashgrove, Michele Bardsley, Anya Bast, J.K. Beck, Cynthia Cooke, Lydia Dare, Mary Janice Davidson, Alyssa Day, Laurie London, Katie MacAlister, Sarah McCarty, Pamela Palmer, Lynsay Sands, and Nalini Singh.

Paranormal romance writer Keri Arthur defines her genre in this way:

A romance with paranormal characters and events. It follows the same rules that apply to all romances and it has the build up of the romance as the heart and main plot of the novel. The only real difference (between paranormal romance and urban fantasy is that either one or both of the main characters often aren’t human, and the story itself can dip into darker waters plot-wise than a regular romance. That said, the paranormal elements have to be a believable, intricate part of your plot.

Arthur goes on to note that paranormal romance covers the whole genre spectrum. They can be humorous, historical, futuristic, contemporary, mystery, fantasy, urban fantasy, scifi, gothic, erotica.”

Some critics suggest that the increase in interest in paranormal romance is a 21st century phenomenon of technology. The genre thrives in an environment of telepathy, robots, implants, time travel and other anomalies.

There are organizations of paranormal romance awriters and readers, blogs, journals and book groups. A popular title in the genre may sell over a half million copies.

There was once a cherished reader’s choice award. The P.E.A.R.L. (Paranormal Excellence Award for Romantic Literature) conferred annually to the top voted paranormal romances by the ParaNormal Romance Groups. The award has not been active since 2008, but then again….

Check out the exhibit, escape to the netherworld of the paranormal for an evening.