Guest Blogger: Jennifer Ashley
The winner of Jennifer's book is: Sarah R! Congratulations, Sarah. Send me your snail mail info and I'll pass it along to Jennifer. Thanks so much for participating!
When I was thinking about what to write for this blog, to promo my new release (Immortals: The Redeeming) I had a small panic attack.
I am the most skeptical person on earth -- what can I find to say about the paranormal outside of stories? I can find practical explanations for any seemingly strange phenomenon, including my own “sensitivity” to the vibrations of locations (I’m responding to ordinary cues without realizing it, I tell myself). When ghosts try to haunt me, I ignore them and go back to sleep (or think it’s my cats).
But if I’m such a mundane, why on earth do I loooove paranormal romance, fantasy and science fiction? I love to read it, watch it, and especially to write it. And so many other people do, too.
I grew up reading fantasy, cutting my teeth on Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. In junior high, I wrote notes to my friends in Elvin runes. Star Wars came out when I was twelve, and I was in the theatre at least 30 times that year to watch it.
Things didn’t change when I reached adulthood. I love all Joss Whedon’s offerings: Buffy, Firefly, and the zany Dr. Horrible. My favorite current shows are Dr. Who, Eureka, and Heroes. I just added HBO to my cable so I won’t miss the first episode of True Blood. My favorite “for me” reads are the urban fantasies of Charlaine Harris and Patricia Briggs and Naomi Novik’s dragon series.
If I’m such a skeptic, why do I glom this stuff?
The answer is: I have no idea. Something in the stories of faraway lands, where magic works or ships fly at incredible speeds, speaks to me, fulfills something deep within my psyche. Maybe I’m reaching out to what I don’t believe I can have, enjoying it for a while before I come back to earth and have to take out the trash.
I’ve always written fantasy as well as read it. From the moment I finished The Return of the King many years ago, I started spinning my own fantasy tales. Most of them were unreadable, scribbled in longhand in spiral notebooks. I progressed to a typewriter (manual), and typed stories single-spaced, both sides of the page. I wrote about magic, wizards, elves, magical creatures, spaceships, laser pistols, space chases, good guys, bad guys, and romance. Eventually I learned to type double-spaced on one side of the page, and I got better at plotting, characterization, and word choice. The first story I ever sold was a short to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine.
Every story I wrote had romance. No matter what else I came up with, I thought of a heroine and paired her with a hero, then I plotted for them to get together in the end.
Imagine my delight when paranormal romance started to take off. Yes, please!
To this day, I still don’t understand why I love fantasy, and maybe I don’t want to know. I don’t want to analyze and philosophize the magic away. The same reason, perhaps, I don’t like to look too closely “behind the scenes” of my favorite scifi shows. I want to believe in the story’s reality -- please don’t show me that the spaceship is really a piece of cardboard propped up with a few two-by-fours.
I know other people do have an answer to the question -- why are paranormal stories so popular? Why do you love them? I’ve heard answers, agreed with some, disagreed with others.
Readers, what do you think? Why do you -- or why do you think others -- respond so strongly to all the vampire, shapeshifter, paranormal, and urban fantasy stories that currently fill bookshelves and television screens?
Thanks for having me blog, and enjoy the magic!