Primarily the books published in English are about English speaking characters. Is there a market for stories about characters who speak another language? And would it really matter if the story is written in English (i.e. the dialogue is all translated?)
I was perusing the HarperCollins catalog and came across the entry which noted Christine Feehan’s Dark Prince was going to be re-released in hardcover with 100 additional pages. I don’t know if this is a rewrite or just extra material.
I mentioned on Twitter that I thought Christine Feehan was the mother of Paranormal Romance. Others disagreed. Michelle Hauf, for example, thought Kenyon or Maggie Shayne and Susan Sizemore pointed toward Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s St. Germain books:
I would say that Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s St. Germain books are the first paranormal romances & rest of us are Quinn’s children.
BuriedbyBooks posited that Laurell K Hamilton popularized paranormal romantic elements and Feehan moved those elements from fantasy to romance.
Kenyon’s Fantasy Lover was published in 2002. Laurell K Hamilton’s first book, Guilty Pleasures, was published in 1993. I started reading LKH with Blue Moon, published in 1998. Maggie Shayne’s vampires were introduced in 1993. I am not very familiar with Shayne’s works.
The reason I place Feehan as the mother of PNR is because so many of the elements of her Carpathian series can be found in other series. Dark Prince was first published in 1999 by Dorchester. For example, Feehan’s Carpathians were primarily male. After 200 years of existence, a Carpathian male begins to lose his sanity. He can no longer see in color, loses sexual desire and the ability to feel emotions. All of these things are aroused once they find their mate. They mate for life. The link between the male and female is both in body and in mind.
Carpathians hunted vampires, or Carpathians who had gone rogue. Vampires went rogue when they hadn’t yet found their mates. When the darkness overtakes a Carpathian male, it can be alleviated temporarily when in the act of killing another. At this point, a “good” Carpathian will kill himself by seeking the sun. A bad one turns rogue and becomes the prey of the Carpathian. There are few Carpathians because the lack of females and thus, the lack of progeny.
Carpathians can shapeshift, speak telepathically, and some have special other powers.
JR Ward and Lara Adrian are two popular authors who use variation on of the Carpathian myth. From Ward’s glossary:
transition n. Critical moment in a vampire's life when he or she transforms into an adult. Thereafter, they must drink the blood of the opposite sex to survive and are unable to withstand sunlight. Occurs generally in the mid-twenties. Some vampires do not survive their transitions, males in particular. Prior to their transitions, vampires are physically weak, sexually unaware and unresponsive, and unable to dematerialize. (my emphasis)
In Adrian’s series, the Breed vampires hunt down Rogue vampires, bloodsuckers who have given into their bloodlust. There are few Breeds. Conception for females is rare and the women breedmates, a human gifted with unique blood and DNA properties, are cherished. The Breed vampires consisted solely of males.
The Carpathian stories are almost completely stories of heroes in pursuit who have serious territorial issues much like the Adrian and Ward men. While the “alpha male tamed by the love of a good woman” existed prior to Feehan, I think she popularized it (along with Stephanie Laurens) and to some degree this trope permeates the mate filled paranormal romance series.
Of course, the myths in Ward and Adrian’s themes can be traced to other books but I see echoes of the Feehan series in many paranormal romance books published since 1999.
Who do you see as the “mother” of paranormal romance? Any one in the poll? Someone who is excluded? None of the above? A mixture (that’s too easy!).
Do you buy books as gifts? There’s something wonderful about sharing one’s love for reading with another, particularly kids. Here’s my last minute holiday book gift guide. Share yours!
Pre K to 1st grade: Nora Gaydos “Now I’m Reading” series. I like the collection of 10 books which help your child build her phonics skills. The books are to be read by the child and upon finishing the book, the child can place a sticker on the front. There are forty stickers, four for each book. The end of the book contains exercises to aid in reading comprehension such as questions about the content, rearranging sentences, and filling in the blanks.
I also love the Letter Bingo game by Gaydos. The kit contains four tab slide Bingo cards and an Alphabet spinner. It’s fun for adults to play with the kids.
Slightly Older Child: The books by Grace Lin are simply wonderful. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a take on a fantasy story where one girl goes on a journey to find the Old Man of the Moon to change her family’s fortune. The Year of the Rat and The Year of the Dog are two semi autobiographical books about a young girl named Grace and her middle school experiences being a Chinese American. The lessons that Grace learns about being confident in herself and being kind to others regardless of their appearance is one for kids of all races.
Teenage Girl: Forget the Twilight books. Not only have those girls probably already read those but there are really good stories out there that are more female positive. Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games and Chasing Fire as well as books by Justina Chen Headley or Sarah Dessen.
Adults: Last Night I Dreamed of Peace is the diary of a North Vietnamese female doctor, her encounters with enemy troops, and her dream of peace. Her diary was found by an American soldier who was charged with clean up. He read the diary and could not destroy it and instead violating military regulations, sent it to a friend. Thuy, the doctor, passionately believed in the North Vietnamese cause and has many an unkind thing to say against the American soldier, but it’s a poignant story about war and the cost that it inflicts on both sides. I’m not a big war book reader but I was captivated by this story.
If your friend likes fiction, I’ve been hearing awesome things about Stieg Larsson’s series starting with Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I have this book set aside as part of my holiday reading.
Stay safe with your family!
New Moon was released this past weekend and grossed a whopping $140.7 million. Record shattering. New Moon also debuted at No. 5 on the NYT Bestseller Children’s list and spent 11 consecutive weeks on the list.
There is obviously overlap between the readers and movie goers. So I ask you, will you see a movie of a book you’ve read and conversely, will you read a book of a movie you’ve seen. (I bought Q&A by Vikas Swarup after watching Slumdog Millionaire).
JMC posted last week about having problems with con artist protagonists. I’ve enjoyed the occasional assassin book such as Kelley Armstrong’s Nadia Stafford series or Barry Eisler’s John Rain series. Jenny Crusie seems to love the morally ambiguous protagonist with books like Welcome to Temptation, Faking It, and Agnes and the Hitman.
I voted in the poll that I sometimes like the con artist or criminal protagonist, but you know, I prefer the non criminal heroes and heroines. What about you?
I was emailing with someone yesterday about books set in Minneapolis such as Sunshine by Robin McKinley, War for the Oaks by Emma Bull, contemporaries from Susan Johnson and Connie Brockway; the super fabulous Monkeewrench mystery books by PJ Tracy (they have a new one coming out next year!). Some authors really imbue their love for their towns in their books (Beth Kery’s Ode to Chicago aka Daring Time is one of those). One of the fun things about urban fantasy is the re-envisioning of these noted urban areas like Atlanta in Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniel series.
I loved seeing the places that I know reincarnated in fiction works. But there are other areas of the country that don’t interest me as much, like um, the state I currently live in and other nearby cities.
I don’t know that I would be more interested in reading a book set in a particular area but it could turn me off. You?