Monday, November 28, 2011

Welcome S.J. Clarke

About This Rumour that Paranormal Fiction is on the Downward Slide
I'm here to confess a great sin. I write paranormal fiction.
I can here the gasps from here.

Why would you paint yourself with that particular brush? What will you do when interest in the paranormal fizzles? Don't you know some artist will come along and create a new, hot trend?

Sure I do. She's already here, blurring the edges, creating something new from something past its prime.  

Demystifying the Paranormal
Should I be worried? Will my chosen genre abandon me as I'm creating my platform as a paranormal writer? I don't have the answers. No one does. But I can narrow down the parameters a bit.

When people hear the word paranormal their minds fill with images of a familiar world, altered from current reality by the existence of vamps, shifters and demons. Quite often these elements describe a sub-genre of paranormal that fall into the category of Urban Fantasy. Urban Fantasy has plenty of monsters, as well as kick-butt heroines intent on taking them out. (Until our heroine comes across a monster that stirs her sympathy along with her hormones and she's attracted to the very aberration she hunts.)

Fighting for humanity's survival takes a toll on a body. It can't endure the fight forever. It's a subtle change at first. Creatures recede into the shadows and tormented souls wreaking vengeance for humanity, instead seek therapy. Can a world without the paranormal be far behind?

Of course not. They're great stories, and I read a lot of Urban Fantasy. But I also read a host of other paranormal tales. Paranormal encompasses so much more than nightmares given life on the page. There's the psychic component as well, and this is the element I use in my stories.

The list of psychic abilities is long, often obscure and difficult to pronounce. Most of us are familiar with common psychic gifts like visions, telepathy and telekinesis, but there's a world of other psychic abilities to explore. Some lesser known skills include clairaudience, bilocation, psychometry, retrocognition, transvection and remote viewing. I'm having a lot of fun right now with the power of remote viewing in my current work in progress.

But is having fun enough to keep your readers reading? Aren't you afraid they'll abandon you for the next go-to genre?

Hidden Dangers in Genre Writing
By writing in a genre category, one risks slapping a label on their work and forever linking their writer's identity with that genre. Can a writer survive with so labelled? Visit any writer's or reader's forum and you'll find both sides of the argument well represented.

Fans derive their name from the word fanatic. They possess an intense interest in the subject matter, yes, but also in the way the story is told. But even a great story premise falls flat with lacklustre writing. Readers crave entertainment while they escape the harsh reality of their lives for the brief time they immerse themselves in a story.  If those needs aren't met, the reader will go elsewhere for their fix. But is it poor craftsmanship, or the promise of a new, hot genre that lures a reader away? Everyone strays to investigate the new and interesting, but fans come back to those who deliver with consistency.

But how will you get away with sticking with a dying genre?

Paint my own picture
Will I write to the masses and change genres to follow  up and coming trends? No. I might include aspects of new trends in my writing, but at their core, my stories will remain paranormal in nature. My first story, written at the age of eight, was a paranormal time-shift. I'm drawn to the genre. It's what I read. It's what I write. It's in my pores.

I'll continue to weave paranormal elements amongst romance, mystery and suspense, mainstream genres that endure the test of time.

I'll paint my word pictures on my canvas. Those readers who share my interest and find my stories entertaining will stick around to see what my brush strokes create next. New trends may feather over the image, altering it slightly, but I will always deliver on my original promise to my readers by providing entertaining escapism with a touch of the paranormal.

My new release, Mind Over Matter, is a paranormal romantic suspense.Rebecca McKenney grieved the loss of her daughter for three years. Now, a vision showing Sabrina three years older, suggests her baby is still alive, and the FBI agent who gave up the search is the only one who can help find her.

Special Agent Dan Cooper is haunted by a tragic mistake made early in the investigation of Sabrina's disappearance. Now to ease his conscience he agrees to help Rebecca search.

Together they fight inner demons, all to real bad guys, and an attraction neither wants to admit to. Each step closer to finding Sabrina is a step deeper into deception and evil.

Can Rebecca and Dan save Sabrina before it's too late?

Here's a short excerpt from Mind Over Matter:

Rebecca swallowed her shame, remembering what happened the last time they were in this room together, the day Dan left. No excuse justified their behavior. Not the two bottles of wine they shared, not the news that the rest of Dan's team were already packed up and gone, and certainly not her grief. Closing her eyes couldn't block the memory of the anger in that first kiss, or the desperation in what followed. Her lack of inhibition in those moments still tormented her, pushing her toward another drink every day since then.
Dan shook his head. He kept his expression neutral, but the clenched jaw gave him away.
“What are you doing here, Rebecca?” He kept his voice low and controlled.
Rebecca squared her shoulders and met his accusing stare. “Whatever it takes to get through each day without my daughter.” She walked over and grabbed the glass from his hand. “This has nothing to do with anything. You're here to help me find Bree, not to judge me.”
He looked at her and the pity on his face pushed her back to the wall.

I love to hear from readers, so please continue the conversation in the comments section, and stay in touch through the links listed below.

Check out my website at:
Friend me on Facebook:
Follow me on Twitter:
Join me on LinkedIn:
Mind Over Matter Facebook Page:

S.J. Clarke

Mind Over Matter buy links:

You can purchase an ebook at my publishers bookstore here:
You can purchase a print or ebook at here:
You can purchase a print or ebook at here:
You can purchase an ebook online:


Admin said...

I think the reason the "experts" say Paranormal is on the way out is because there are so many weakly written ones. Written by writers that don't love the genre but write it because it's the hot new thing. These authors will move on to the next hot trend. Their only interest is in selling books. Paranormal authors who write the genre because - to quote your post - "it is in their pores" will always sell. Readers can tell the difference and they respond to the way the writer writes - not the genre they write.

Just my 2 cents - your mileage may vary.

Unknown said...

Well darn. Ginger is not only hosting so many of my favorite people, the posts are very engaging.

Personally dear Sandra, I think you should ignore those types of comments. You write what you love because writing anything else is doomed for failure. No one can box in a writer's talent by trying to speak for the world(impossible to speak for your own family let alone the world).

Your gifts are amazing and your readers won't be reading those types of articles because they will be too busy reading your book,

I read romantic suspense...I just dare someone to tell me that's not popular. What am I going to do, stop reading it? *snort* As if...

Love you sweet friend.

Jim Hartley said...

I have trouble figuring out what "paranormal" is and where it came from. I tend to label what I write as "Fantasy" because that's what it would have been called when I was younger ... in magazines like the late lamented "Unknown Worlds" or "Weird Tales." Perhaps "Urban Fantasy" but I think "Contemporary Fantasy" would be more appropriate. And then there's the genre that I invented for my book Magic Is Faster Than Light, "Science-Fiction Flavored Fantasy." Well, what else are you going to do with a spaceship full of witches?

Maybe the term "paranormal" is going away, the fad is over, but if it does, just go back to calling your stories "Fantasy," that will never go away!

Unknown said...

Great writers write what is in their soul. They don't choose their stories - the stories choose them. Fantasy, paranormal, urban fantasy...just labels. Stories - good well written stories - are what sell. That will never change.

Great post,
Author of Concilium, available July 2012
Concilium: The Departure, November 2012

Unknown said...

Whoot! Whoot! I agree with Michelle. *smile* As a newbie that's where I struggled. Labels and boxes. Mostly because I don't write just one or two genres into a storyline. I believe like you all, as long as it's well written it's gonna catch a readers' eye. I've read enough of the weak ones to know which are being written because of the writers' soul or the writers' wallet. *smile* Not bashing anyone, just adding my thoughts.

I fell away from reading becasue of that reason right there. The books were written to follow a hot trend and not from the heart. Recently I've found many new authors that have caught my eye and attention. So if paranormal is no longer 'the fad' that's okay, as long as I can find those that are written from the soul I'll be reading them. *smirk*

Trends and fads have never been my thing. *smile*

Awesome post!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone, for your comments. I should clarify, this topic is only one I've read about on agent and some publisher blogs. I've never had anyone tell me to my face the fad is fading. Time, never mind money is often scarce, and I wanted to encourage both writers and readers to indulge in what you love.

Great conversation!!
Sandra (SJ)

Diane said...

With the popularity of Twilight, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, etc. etc., I don't see Paranormal fading at all. Of course, they may give it a new name, but seriously, there is too much waiting to be written that hasn't been covered.

This is why I thoroughly love this genre - it is never ending, there are so many story lines and plots and creatures and sexier creatures and did I say, faeries and dragons - gulp, sigh - yeah.

Another avenue of Paranormal or Urban Fantasy as I call it, is I've seen this genre get so many people back to reading. They hear the hype or they've secretly have loved dragons - or what have you - for a long time - and are thrilled to read about a dragon who has a confusing sex life or must fight a demon (this scenario is endless too).

So, if I haven't confused you already, I'll say no "Paranormal" isn't fading - I think it's getting stronger by writers who live, breathe, dream, and write this genre. You wouldn't be able to tell that I am one of these!

Excellent post discussion


J.Q. Rose said...

What an interesting topic...I even took notes on it. So many avenues for paranormal to take. It is unlimited with possibilities and potential storytelling. I am impressed with your knowledge about the subject and your faithfulness to your chosen genre.

Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews