Today, the Dead Beautiful Blog Tour is stopping by my blog, and I have a great guest post from the author Yvonne Woon talking about the challenges of writing a paranormal romance.
I never planned on writing in the paranormal genre. While writing Dead Beautiful, I was actually getting my graduate degree, after which I was planning on writing “serious adult literary fiction,” a phrase which I now realize has very little meaning. In the meantime, I decided to write Dead Beautiful for fun.
When I started planning it, I knew it was part of a tradition. That’s partially why I wanted to write it. I always loved reading genre books—especially science fiction and fantasy—because I liked seeing familiar themes and tones echoed from one book to another. It was fun to me to read a book about space, for example, or a book about vampires, because they took something I already found interesting, and made it new. So that was my initial goal for Dead Beautiful—to write about a group of monsters who were normally scary, and make them human. The paranormal genre seemed perfect for this.
The problem then was that readers already know the basic plot structure of a paranormal romance: Girl goes to strange place. Falls for strange, brooding guy who somehow seems different. They fall in love, but she soon discovers his dark secret, and realizes that they are doomed to be apart for eternity. The most challenging part for me was to take that general formula, and make it new. The plot twists had to be exciting and unexpected; the characters had to be unique and real; the “creatures” had to have a surprising lore that the reader had never seen before, and through all of that, the story had to carve out its own niche in already crowded genre of great books. I had to take the paranormal world and flip it upside down, so it was recognizable, but also seemed like strange new territory. The way I knew how to do that was to stir up the world of Dead Beautiful with Latin, ancient history, and classical philosophy. That was the hardest part, but also the most fun.
To my surprise, selling it was actually quite easy, as editors know there is a large audience for paranormal romances right now. While editing it and designing the cover, we still grappled with trying to make the novel stand out amongst its peers while still staying true to its genre. And I hope it worked! So I’ll by this: that I hope, if nothing else, Dead Beautiful shocks you, and brings you to a place you didn’t think you would end up in.
Thanks, Yvonne, for such a fantastic post. Dead Beautiful as released in the UK on 1st May 2011, and you can buy it on Amazon UK and Amazon US. Be sure to check out Yvonne's website.