Here’s an unusual request for help from our masterful collective mental library of awesome: Andrew, who has been lurking for awhile, sold a book. Yay, Andrew! Funny thing is, he’s a novelist who’s publisehd 17 novels, mostly Fantasy and Science Fiction. Trouble is, this time he’s being told by the purchaser of his manuscript that he’s written a… paranormal romance.
“Really?!” says Andrew.
“Oh, yes,” sayeth his publisher. “You’ve written a ‘dark historical paranormal fantasy romance.’” AND, hot diggity for Andrew, it’s a series.
But Andrew, he is befuddled, and he is no dummy. Instead of being all, “Eeeeyew I don’t write romance!” he turns to the Bitchery for help. He needs a reading list:
Thing is, since I’ve been a SF/Fantasy writer for the past fifteen years, and not a romance author, my knowledge of the genre is only a few pages deep.
What I’d like is a good crash course in (preferably in-print and/or readily available) books you all think a neophyte (paranormal) romance author should read. Not only archetypal examples I’d need to be familiar with, but if you’re inclined, a few examples of “Oh God, please don’t do this!”
I asked Andrew for more specific details about his book, because the term “paranormal romance” encompasses as many diverse varieties as the word “food,” and he wrote:
In the first book (finished pending editorial revisions) we are talking werewolves in 13th-Century Prussia at a time when there was a northern crusade against the last European Pagan holdouts. The heroine is a wolfbreed (a more anthropomorphic werewolf with the silver weakness, but w/o the whole lunar cycle thing) who, as the book begins, commits a violent bloody escape from [a] castle.
Werewolves in history: well, one of the best werewolf romances I’ve read was a contemporary, and I love that book so much I might need to go be alone with it: Bitten by Kelley Armstrong does things to the cockles of my soul that I won’t be telling you about.
And while it’s not a werewolf romance per se, the historical setting and the nuanced layers of storytelling are outstanding in Castle of the Wolf by Sandra Schwab.
So – werewolf-ish romance with innovative historical detail? Paranormal romance in uncommon historical settings? Wolfy romance that made you howl at the moon, it was so bad? Bring it – Andrew needs an education, stat!