Liza Street invited me on her website to share with you what I love about paranormal romances. Thanks for having me here, Liza!
I love ‘what if’ questions. What if a vampire wanted to live a normal life? What if a gargoyle wanted to be human? What if gaining special powers didn’t make your life fantastic but utterly ruined it instead? Does reincarnation exist, and if so, are we doomed to repeat our past mistakes?
To me, this is the meat and drink of storytelling. Despite being a pragmatic, no-nonsense person in my day job, I have a closet weakness for romance. I want to see lovers overcome odds to end up together. I want my protagonists to battle circumstances and self-doubt to wind up in a happily-ever-after ending. I might wear sensible shoes to work, but in my daydreams, I’m sporting Cinderella’s glass slippers. I might decry overt sentimentalism in my daily life, but I long to have a romantic proposal under circumstances that hold meaning for me. I wear Victoria’s Secret lingerie under work coveralls. My fingernails must stay short and painted with only clear nail polish, but I splurge on fantastic colors with my toenails. There is a hidden element of ‘naughty’ that runs through every aspect of my daily life.
Or maybe not naughty so much as secret. Yeah, the average person on the street has no idea what’s going on inside my head on a given day, and I like that. I think that’s something else that draws me to shifter stories—stories where characters must make peace with what they truly are and stories where being yourself isn’t necessarily an easy path. I think many of us understand what it’s like to be ‘Other’ and not part of the in crowd.
I realize contemporary romance outsells every other subgenre. I’m proud of the contemporary stories I’ve written. But by far and large, I need that little ‘twist’ that makes a story different, that takes it out of the ordinary. That’s what truly makes writing fun. Paranormal romance does that for me. I have the focus on the couple, which I love, but I also get the ‘what if’ questions and the world-building that results out of it.
Ellie, my heroine in The Panther’s Lost Princess, is at first glance a very average person. Raised in foster care and on her own as a young adult, she has dreams of leaving her life as a waitress behind and making it big as a singer. Only deep down, she harbors a fear that she might be some kind of monster—that there was a reason her parents abandoned her as a baby. What if she’s not wrong? What if some terrible creature really does live inside of her? Will she be able to control it? Come to terms with it?
I love that. I love working with that kind of uncertainty, and throwing Ellie head first into a world she wasn’t aware of when she meets our hero, Jack Ferris. I thrill to the politics behind shifter clans, and whether or not people would be open about their shifter status. I like knowing that the rules I’ve created for shifters work in my universe, and that they have a sort of weird logic to them.
Having fun is important to me as a writer. Sure, I might be more popular if I churned out more formulaic stories that fell into the category with the highest demand by readers, but bottom line, the straightforward contemporary doesn’t grab me to the same degree as the ‘story with a twist’. A certain amount of conflict is necessary for good storytelling. Paranormal romances seem to give me greater scope for introducing that conflict without having it be a simple misunderstanding or a seemingly endless back-and-forth dance between the protagonists, when in reality, there is often very little reason they can’t be together. I prefer romantic suspense stories to the average ‘boy meets girl’ because I crave the kind of excitement I don’t get in my real life. As a reader, I’m always going to choose wands, magic rings, and spaceships over just about any other stories, so it only makes sense I want to play with dragons, wolves, and tigers in my own tales.
McKenna Dean has been an actress, a vet tech, a singer, a teacher, a biologist, and a dog trainer. Finally she realized all these jobs were just a preparation for what she really wanted to be: a writer.
She lives on a small farm in North Carolina with her family, dogs, cats, and various livestock.
She likes putting her characters in hot water to see how strong they are. Like tea bags, only sexier.
You can find McKenna’s book, The Panther’s Lost Princess, here on Amazon!
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/McKenna-Dean-Author-262328784224302/