by Olivia Knight
With the beautiful new Black Lace covers came three new lines: paranormals, contemporaries, and historicals. Over the next three Wednesdays, we’ll be rounding up their pretty pictures and offering a bluffer’s guide to each line.
Black Lace line: paranormals
Committed Lusties, past and present: Janine Ashbless, Portia Da Costa, Mathilde Madden, Olivia Knight, Kristina Lloyd, Madelynne Ellis
In a nutshell
‘Paranormal’ means fantasy, fairytale, magic, myth, mysterious beasties, and things that go bump! in the night. Some just bump! and some bumpitty-bumpitty-bump.
Behind the scenes
This is the line of books which made our editor decree “If they’re going to sleep with it, it has to have a human head!” Now you can imagine the story proposals that didn’t get the official stamp of approval. Rejected non-human-head lovers included dragons, trees, and minotaurs. Giant scorpions with human heads snuck in the back door.
Even the most thigh-slappingly normal bloke will have his secret identity. He may appear to be an environmental activist, a university student, a tourist, a local musician, or an arctic explorer, but he’ll turn out to be a magician, a ghost, a member of an ancient race, a god, or a vampire. He probably faces a daily struggle not to accidentally kill you, but the chances are good your love was foredestined in a previous lifetime / by a prophecy / by an inescapable supernatural tie.
Alpha-females to a woman: there’s no time for simpering flowers when you’re locked in a battle against forces what man was not meant to wot of. These chicks are tough: they’ll gut ex-lovers, eat snakes to survive, lead armies, face down the devil, catch werewolves, exorcise demons, endure bitter physical hardship, and wield insane amounts of power. They’re queens, time-travellers, priestesses, sorceresses, reincarnated witches, and goddesses, although at first glance they may seem to be a landscape gardener, a barmaid, or a student. Won't say: "No, don't... we shouldn't..." Will say: "CHARGE!"
The best bit about writing paranormals
• You can let your imagination out its cage and have an iron-clad reason for keeping your hero in a cage
• Sleeping is reclassified as research: after all, you have to know what it’s like to fly
• All your delusions of grandeur find their home
The best bit about reading paranormals
• Destiny! Contemporary couples just have this feeling they’re meant for each other – in paranormals, the elves said so. Or the stars, or an ancient scroll, or a forgotten prophecy, but you get the picture.
• Mystery! Magic and mystery are hand-in-glove: unpeeling the layers to the final truth makes gripping reading.
• Sex! In other lines, it’s emotionally and physically important – in paranormals, it can literally move the world.
Top tip: internal logic
Unlike historicals and contemporaries, you can make up your own rules and create your own world, but beware: within your world, the logic has to be absolute and consistent. We’ll happily accept chickens building airplanes, but they still need fuel to fly.
What to say
• "Is it cheating to sleep with someone from another dimension?"
• "Fantasy and myth are a powerful way to explore subconscious desires."
What not to say
• "Yeah, but that couldn’t really happen, could it? I mean, [insert-supernatural-beings] don’t exist, do they?"
Over to you:
• What’s your favourite ‘paranormal’ fantasy?
• What mythical-magical hero type do you fancy most?