A Touch of Magic
By Lisabet Sarai
In the last year or so, I've started to experiment with paranormal romance. I've written two novels (Serpent's Kiss and Necessary Madness) that featured supernatural beings or magical powers, as well as a BDSM ghost story (Rendezvous) and a couple of vampire tales. Naturally, in order to guide me in this new genre, I've also been reading paranormal books.
I've found that there's a big difference between my work and that of most of my paranormal colleagues. My paranormal stories are very firmly grounded in the real world. I don't invent underground societies or rival magical races. I haven't, so far, created any fantasy kingdoms populated by beings who with super powers. All my characters are normal humans who just happen to be afflicted with paranormal capabilities.
Serpent's Kiss is set in rural Guatemala. The heroine is a physician running basic clinic in a remote, poverty-stricken village more or less ignored by the central government. The hero is a handsome peasant who discovers that he is the shape-shifting reincarnation of a Mayan god. Scenes of magic and wonder alternate with the routine of Elena's work and the trials of the villagers.
Necessary Madness has an urban setting, complete with tenements and homeless shelters. Kyle is a young man driven nearly insane by his true visions of the future. His lover Rob is a gruff, honest city cop, closeted and lonely, with psychic abilities he's not even aware of. The action of the story plays out in neighborhood diners, highway rest areas and the locked ward of the state psychiatric hospital―not in the jeweled castles of dark emperors or the barren plains of mythical kingdoms.
Sometimes I ask myself whether my tendency to firmly root my paranormals in everyday reality is a weakness. Is this a sign that I lack the imagination to create a parallel universe? I don't think so. The fact is, I prefer to read stories in which the element s of magic are constrained. The problem with magical worlds is that, too frequently, there are no laws. The powers wielded by the characters are so great that they can twist the plot in all sorts of implausible directions. Mortal wounds can heal. The dead can be resurrected. Space and time melt away. It's all too easy.
I'd rather have a fairly simple premise involving a limited set of powers. Then I enjoy seeing how these powers interact with the forces of nature and man. I have the same preferences in the science fiction that I read. One of my favorite scifi authors is Kate Wilhem. She begins with a single, simple idea―an immortality serum, or an encounter with a cloud of space dust that alters the properties of water―and then goes on to explore the societal and individual implications.
I do worry sometimes that readers won't share my preferences. I can see the appeal of an escapist romance that includes Big Magic―apocalyptic struggles between good and evil, cliff-hanging climaxes resolved by the invocation of irresistible power. These stories are like big budget movies, full of amazing special effects. My books are more like indie films, where less is more.
Maybe my stories won't appeal to the average paranormal romance reader (if such a person exists). I guess I'm seeking readers who are looking for something different―a realistic story with believable, sympathetic characters―and just a touch of magic.
BIO: Lisabet Sarai has published six erotic novels, including the BDSM romance classic Raw Silk, two short story collections and dozens of individual tales. She also edits the single-author charity series "Coming Together Presents" and reviews erotica for Erotica Readers and Writers Association and Erotica Revealed. Visit Lisabet online at Lisabet's Fantasy Factory (http://www.lisabetsarai.com) and Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com).
Buy Link for Necessary Madness: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?P_ID=655