Why are paranormal romances so popular these days?
The release of the movie, Underworld, starring Kate Beckinsale, about a romance between a vampire and a werewolf has publishers scrambling for manuscripts dealing with paranormal romances. Unlike historical romances or classic romances, this genre is a lot more imaginative. Typically, there would be fantasy elements in the story. Either the setting is futuristic, or in some fantasy world or the hero, the heroine or both are not normal people.
Take underworld for instance. You have a Romeo and Juliet love story. This time, the setting is paranormal. Romeo comes from the werewolf clan while Juliet is from the vampire clan. Unlike a helpless Juliet, you have one who kicks butt, shoots down the enemy and saves the hero.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first Underworld movie and had to see the sequel, Underworld Evolution [http://www.birthdayjoy.com/Underworld-Evolution.htm]. There, the story of the vampire and werewolf lovers continue.
Though paranormal romance seems like a recently hot subgenre, this genre has been around for ages. Take Buffy the Vampire slayer and Spike, her vampire boyfriend. Or go back even further in time to Dracula, the king of all vampire stories. In the original, Dracula had seduced three women and bit them, turning them into vampires. More horror than romance, it could also be considered the grand daddy of this subgenre.
While the classic romances might cast the heroine as the damsel in distress, waiting to be rescued by her knight in shining armor, modern day paranormal romances (and a number of other modern day romance tales) feature stronger heroines.
In Warrior Girl [http://www.sfxfantasy.com/Warrior-Girl.htm], the first book in the sfxfantasy series, the heroine, though captured by the enemy escapes on her own. Instead of sweeping her off her feet to safety, the hero, just hovers around invisibly, watching her escape with the intention of testing her mettle. His intention is not to seduce her but to recruit her as a warrior.
From there, as the feelings between the pair develop, you'll have a paranormal romance set in a fantasy world that breaks many of the rules in traditional romance novels.
Romances, paranormal or not appeal to the human heart. The happy ever after ending, like the fairy tales we grew up on, though may not come true in real life, happens in the world of romance novels. Paranormal romance stories extend on that, with the thrill of a fantasy world, a futuristic setting or with people with superhuman abilities, creating a story that thrill the heart and imagination of the reader.