More than a place--it's a writer's muse.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Ménage à trois: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, and me.

I remember my first Urban Fantasy. The year was about 1987 or so. I had gone to the high school library because I had read all of the Betty Wren Wright novels and I was bored with the “baby” books in the elementary school. I scanned the stacks and found a title that seemed haunting. Forbidden. Dangerous. The Darkangel by Meredith Anne Pierce.

Hey, I was 9.

Anyway, I fell in love with it. It has the fantasy styling of medieval times in the future, with a slave girl taking care of her mistress, but the moon has been terraformed and the atmosphere is sustained by magic and machines.

Most wouldn't call it an Urban Fantasy, but the novel was much more than just a fantasy. It has romance. It has adventure. It is a genre slasher, definitely. Like most of the Urban Fantasies we read today.

And that leads me to the Great Debate.

Are Urban Fantasies part of Romance or Fantasy genres? Or are they Mystery or Paranormal?

The answer is all of the above.

In fact, this video from You Tube shows us a few things we can count on when searching the library or bookstore for our beloved Urban Fantasy. A bare back, tattoo, moon and weapon.



OK, I know, not all of these in the slideshow are UF, but enough that yeah, it seems familiar.

When writing Fae Nights, I wasn't sure if it was an Urban Fantasy or a Paranormal Romance. Other, more fabulous writers such as Karen Marie Moning and Sherrilyn Kenyon, have also faced this dilemma. What genre are you writing when it is too new to really have a definition? Well, here is my theory.

Urban Fantasy: Lots of world building and character driven. See books by Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison.

Paranormal Romance: Two essential main characters driven by lust and love. See books by Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter.

Well then, I am Paranormal Romance.
Karen Marie Moning's Fever series is Urban Fantasy
Sherrilyn Kenyon is Paranormal Romance (She has stated this as well in a recent interview).

A definite Genre bender is the True Blood series of books By Charlaine Harris. I'm not going to give it away if you haven't read them yet, but let's just say that it may seem to be Paranormal Romance, but based on my criteria, by book three it is very Urban Fantasy.

Or should I say the newest genre to hit the market, Southern Urban Fantasy.

I love having so many bedfellows to choose from!


2 comments:

SarannaDeWylde said...

I LOVED the Darkangel Trilogy. I have it still. It inspired me to keep writing the way I wanted to write when my mother told me no one would ever by a story without an HEA. But when she gave him her heart, oh the angst. Sigh. It's still one of my favorites.

Liane Gentry Skye said...

Love me some Urban Fantasy. The first of the Zodiac Series by Vikkie Petterson was my first. A girl never forgets her first. *sighs*.

 
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