There’s something I love about historicals that I rarely find in other romance subgenres. Perhaps it’s the result of the tight strictures on social behavior that produce more intense emotions, that create the ability to linger, even wallow in emotion, but I love the way historical authors drill deep. So why do I see so little of that in paranormals? Most paranormals are about protecting humans from evil, keeping the paranormal world and secret from humans or saving the world from the release of some horrendous evil or other. Maybe I just read the wrong paranormals(entirely possible, as I’m picky), but I have read very little paranormal romance that lingers on the character’s emotions, let alone mines them as deeply as authors like Meredith Duran or Anne Mallory, whose latest, One Night is Never Enough really made me feel, for the first time, how horribly suffocating life was when a woman’s only value lay in how well she could marry.
Paranormal worlds, by definition, share a lot of parallels with historicals. In fact, strictures author create on intra-species mating and interactions can be just as confining as whom one is allowed to marry in an historical, and the swept-away-into-another-world effect is another similarity between the two.
So why are most paranormals so lacking in the slow, lush, hot house atmosphere found in the historicals I love?
Part of the answer lies in word count, I think. In a paranormal precious word count must be devoted to explaining what can be taken for granted in a Regency or other well-trodden historical era. A paranormal writer, especially one not writing a traditional vampire or werewolf story, must make sure to include enough about the rules, shape and feel of her world to make the reader feel at home in that world. These are words that cannot be devoted to the inner struggle of heroine or hero, so the feel of the romance is different. (Nalini Singh, for example, has great passion between her leads, but there is no sense of lingering or drilling deep.)
Word count is only a partial answer, though. I suspect one reason so few paranormal romances produce that feeling of lingering in emotional details is that once you’ve created these powerful creatures, you want them to do things. And that means actions, wars and saving the world kind of plots that simply make lingering impossible. . . and me sad.
So what do you think? Am I missing some great paranormal authors that linger? Or do you simply not want paranormals that linger?