Everyone has their favorite romance genre or category. Some are dedicated Desire or Intrigue readers. Some like the fully developed subplots of a single title. Myself, I am a hardcore fan of romantic suspense and am growing a greater appreciation of paranormal and fantasy by the day. Recently on the Midnight Hour Blog, one of the authors asked the question of why everyone read paranormals. I think I responded with some vaguely coherent rambling about the unlimited realm of possibilities – the attraction of the unknown and unexpected. Hot vampires work too.
But the more I think about it, the more I think it has a lot to do with the mood or the feel of the book. The darkness, the magic, the mystery all woven into it. The world building is so important to these stories. I’ve come to this conclusion as I struggle to incorporate these elements into my own paranormal MS. My first book was a YA fantasy set in another world. It was so much easier to bring the fantastical mood when the world was whatever I made it to be. The magic could be woven into every aspect of their lives - six inch vegetarian faeries just live differently than we do. A grasshopper - almost insignificant to us - can be a mode of transportation or a wild beast to them. Its obvious. Not so much with my paranormal.
How do I take an average woman living in contemporary Seattle and wrap her up in the dark and mysterious world of the vampire without –
A. losing her qualities of being just an average person in a bad situation
B. making the vampire world so fantastical that it becomes incompatible with the daily life of mortals
C. getting too bogged down in the cheesy, hocus-pocus side of old vampire B movies.
That’s where I am. I was watching Underworld the other day – a movie that features both vampires and werewolves running around London. It had such a dark quality – something intangible, but ever present and important. I know the feel that I’m looking for, I am just having a hard time capturing it on my pages. I’ve even been listening to the soundtrack of the movie as I write, trying to get myself geared up for it. I'm up for suggestions.
What kind of mood do you like in the stories you read? Light-hearted and romantic, emotionally uplifting, funny, suspenseful…? Is that different from what you write (if you do)? What do you do to capture the right "mood" for your stories?