In addition I asked her the question "Why do you think the paranormal genre has become so huge in the past couple of years?" and her answer is below.
Shifters, vampires, cursed guardians, demons, witches light and dark: no matter where you look right now, paranormal romances seem to be the hot ticket. The question is, why?
Actually, the first question is, are they really that hot? According to releases tracked by the Romance Writers of America, in 2007 only 11.8 percent of all romance novels published were paranormal romances, while 16 percent were historical romances (a supposedly "out" sub-genre). Some of the discrepancy between those figures and perception may lie in the huge popularity of paranormal settings among e-romance and e-erotica, which largely go untracked. Sometimes it seems like nearly every e-book I see promoted is paranormal. But whether paranormal romance is as huge as first impressions would indicate, there is no doubt at all that its popularity has grown in the past 7 or 8 years. So we're back to, why?
My theory -- though I will hurry to point out that I'm not the first to hold it or even write about it -- is that demon lovers are, strangely enough, safe. In the real world, anyone who's been sleeping around enough to qualify as a bad boy is dangerous to your health. It's become too hard to believe that a smart modern woman would actually chose to be with such a potential virus factory. Yet we don't really want to read about plain vanilla heroes, either. Enter the demon/vamp/shifter lover: as bad a bad-boy as ever a girl would want to meet, and yet without all those pesky health issues. Shoot, most of them have been waiting all those centuries for this one perfect heroine. We'd think Mr. Regular Guy was boring if he'd waited for marriage; give him a sharp set of teeth and an unquenchable craving and his wait becomes heroic and fascinating and the stuff of legends.
Another factor I see in the popularity of paranormal romance is the very fact that it deals with unreality. Face it, the real world has been pretty hard to deal with since, oh, 2001 or so. Real people want to kill us. Real soldiers are dying in Iraq. Real evil exists. Books about Navy SEALS fighting terrorists are no longer escapism--they're the morning news. Paranormal romance carries us into an alternate world, where good and evil are clearly defined and the battle lines are drawn. They give us a way to deal with the unspeakable by making it both concrete and fantastic. And isn't it interesting how it is most often the least magical character--the human or the halfling or the reluctant outcast without power--who beats the evil back and saves the day?
All things being cyclical in publishing as in life, I would expect that paranormal romance will die back a little over the next few years (though hopefully not before I complete the nine books of The Immortal Brotherhood). What will replace it, I have no idea. Maybe its time for the all-American hero of westerns again. Maybe the world will settle down into innocence once more so we can enjoy the lighter side of love and romantic comedies will make a resurgence. Maybe it's time for doctor/nurse romances again -- with female doctors and male nurses, this time. Maybe someone will invent something entirely new. All I know for sure is that I'll be there, reading and writing with the rest of you--and loving it all.
Lisa Hendrix is the author of IMMORTAL WARRIOR, the first book in an all-new paranormal historical romance series, The Immortal Brotherhood. Please visit her website, for excerpts, contests, and more information about Lisa and her books. Lisa can also be found on MySpace, Facebook and Goodreads.