|Beauty and the Beast by alicexz|
Wrong . . .
There are some genre blenders out there, and none so plastic as Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, especially in the YA category (where there's a whole lot of blurring going on). Let's look at Urban Fantasy first. Many see UF as an offshoot of Fantasy, but its origins are in Gothic Horror and Hard-boiled Crime. The Urban setting in UF is contemporary, an almost perfect match to our everyday 'reality', save for the pesky 'breach' that has occurred, just the opening 'others' in various forms - angels, demons, vampires, weres, fairies, fay - can enter, and live among us humans. In Uf the streets are tougher, the crimes uglier and the nightlife grittier, forcing our heroine, or hero, to pack a lot of kick-ass and smarts. The protagonist borrows heavily from the Crime detective, and is often anti-authoritarian, tough, shrewd and ultra street savvy, not to mention, a little more than human.
Our Paranormal Romance heroine may have many of these qualities, both internally and externally, but for her, saving the day or solving the crime comes a close second to winning her heart's desire. HEA is expected, and almost always delivered, the driving motivation being connection. And why shouldn't it be? PNR is neither an offshoot of Fantasy or Horror but of Romance. It follows the path to relationship, through the land of the heart, even if that land has its share of vampires, werewolves, shifters and witches.
Murder, suspense, sudden reversals, strong female protagonists and a contemporary setting may be present in both UF and PNR. They will also share supernatural elements and some other world-building, and usually a good fast pace, edge of the seat drama and a whole hell of a lot at stake. But if you take out the love interest from the UF, you'll still have a ripping good story, no holes in the plot. Take the love interest out of the PNR, and the story fails.
This is all fair and good, until the genres bleed too far. Readers, bloggers and even some publishers are looking at PNR and UF as if they might meld, or perhaps are one and the same. Unfortunately, this means a lot of readers will be confused when they pick up a UF that isn't pivoting on the romance or a PNR that ends without the traditional HEA. Again, genres evolve, a reflection of the readers who love them, but what of this mash up UF/PNR? Will both forms survive, or become something not quite one, or the other?
Have you ever felt misled by a genre label (or cover)? Did you mind? What direction do you see these genres going? As I'm writing a UF series now, I'm interested in your response. And perhaps our Supernatural Underground authors would like to chime in too! I know many of us write in multiple categories.
And warm holiday wishes to you all!
Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing paranormal romance, urban fantasy, YA and epic science fantasy novels.
You can find out more about Kim at kimfalconer.com or on the 11th House Blog. She posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month. Her latest release is"Blood and Water" in Supernatural Underground: Vampires Gone Wild.