Tuesday, October 19, 2010

An Introduction to the Paranormal

I was always a big reader. I remember stuffing books in my backpack—except I was too cool for a backpack and walked around with books stacked in my arms; why was that cooler?—from elementary school on.

In high school, I discovered Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. I enjoyed Interview with the Vampire but when I read The Vampire Lestat, I was hooked. How could I not be? Here’s the opening:

I am the vampire Lestat. I’m immortal. More or less. The light of the sun, the sustained heat of an intense fire—these things might destroy me. But then again, they might not.

Oh, how delicious! Lestat was delicious. I almost wished I would run into him on some dark night. My friends and I read the book and the others that followed. We wanted to be vampires. We’d go to the mall on Friday night, dressed all in black with red bite marks painted on our necks.

We received some strange looks, especially when we told people we were vampires. You see, all of this was way before Twilight or any of the other books, movies, or TV shows that have made vampires so much part of our national culture. People didn’t think about vampires except at Halloween, and then they only thought about Dracula.

How the world has changed. I don’t even think paranormal was a genre in the early nineties. Now everyone reads it, and it’s huge. Not just vampires or witches, but werewolves, fairies, demons, angels, even dragons.

What started your love affair with the paranormal? Was it a book or an author or something else?


  1. I loved Interview with a Vampire. I read tons of ghost stories when I was a kid. And then when I was a teen, my mother took us to see a play at Brevard Community College--Dracula. I fell in love with him and wanted him to bite MY neck. And that was all she wrote!

  2. My first vampire love was Barnabas Collins on Dark Shadows. Haven't fallen for a vampire since. Sad, but true...

  3. My first ghost story that I can remember is The Ghost of Hollow Rock. Of course it wasn't realy a ghost story, but a mystery. It was still a good book. I do believe my first real paranormal book was Dracula. I was hooked! Vamps, werewolves, elves, you name it, I tried to read them all. Didn't do to bad either.

  4. I don't remember the first paranormal/vampire book I ever read. I do remember I liked Interview far better than Lestat and could never force myself all the way through Queen (much less subsequent books). My all-time favorite Anne Rice Book is, and always will be (I think), The Mummy: or Ramses the Damned.

    Loved the TV shows/movies when you could find decent ones (Nightlife, a USA movie, Dracula: the Series - a comedy, Dark Shadows - the remake that died quickly, tragically, and so forth).

    But I love reading the vampire stories, although that love has really blossomed since authors have taken such huge liberties over the early either "damned and evil" or "angsty annoying". Many authors now, myself included, allow the vampire to expand beyond the original limitations and I like seeing all the different permutations.

  5. I bought Interview with a Vampire because it was the first book I knew about that the author got a seven figure advance for writing. I figured anything that expensive had to be good. Liked it but never read another one. Nora Roberts' Sisters Island trilogy intrigued me much more than vampires.

  6. My love of ghost tales started so far back, I don't remember.

    I don't know if it has more ghost stories than other states, but North Carolina's number is huge. I own at least 10 collections of stories from the Outer Banks to the mountains.

    I couldn't resist adding a haunted house to SEALed Forever, but it's secondary to the main plot.

  7. Terry, I knew I wasn't crazy. I'm glad I wasn't the only kid who wanted to be bitten by a vampire.

    Cheryl, LOVED Dark Shadows!

    Jessica, I haven't read that one. I'll have to add it to my long list...

    Tory M, I agree with you about the Mummy. It's really good. But you're wrong about Lestat and Queen. Sorry, but there it is :-)

    Carolyn, I really liked NR's Sisters Island trilogy too. But I think Anne Rice did witches first...

    Mary Margret, I love that you added a haunted house to one of your books. I can never make paranormal elements work in my books. Maybe because I'm too skeptical.

  8. Good call, Shana. "Interview with the Vampire" is THE book that fired my love of the paranormal genre. It's a master class in worldbuilding, and brings with it a homoerotic edge that I hadn't previously been exposed to. ;-) Rice's "The Witching Hour" is great, too. Highly recommended.

  9. my love affair started much earlier. Casper the Friendly Ghost was my imaginary friend when I was 4. My favorite tv shows were Bewitched and I Dream of Genie. Then, of course, there were the fairy tales: Sleeping Beauty bewitched into sleeping all those years, Cinderella and her talking mice and fairy godmother... I've been hooked since probably Day One of my life. :)

  10. As a kid I remember they would air "The Legend of Sleepy Hallow" (cartoon version) around Halloween. It doesn't seem all that scary now, but as a kid it was just the right mix of funny and terrifying!

  11. I'm a big weenie. I don't like to be scared, never did. I always thought Vampires were scary, I never saw Interview with a Vampire. I do love funny paranormals. Dereks Bane is one of my favorites, Judi and Linda's books. Any that make me laugh.

  12. Shana,

    Like you Interview with a Vampire was my first paranormal and I was hooked!

    One sqicky moment was when my daughter and I walked out of the theater both fanning ourselves over Brad Pitt!

    But, really! Who could blame us?

  13. I've always been interested in things "beyond" normal. I think it started with God. I come from a religious family and grew up knowing about God and the supernatural, angels and demons; things that we don't physcially see. Although I know people (very sane people) who've actually seen angels and demons. Another story for another day. I've always loved ghost stories and at one time, I was obsessed with reports of alien sightings, even though I didn't believe in aliens. I just love a paranormal twist.

  14. Well, I agree with you 100% Tamara!

    Judi, I hadn't even thought of Casper! No wonder paranormal is so popular with our generation!

    Amanda, I think Sleepy Hollow is scary. A headless horseman? Yuck!

    I don't like to be scared either, Robin. But Rice's books didn't scare me. Not like, say, Stephen King--but that's another blog!

    Too funny, Ashlyn. You notice I made sure to put a picture of Brad Pitt in the blog...

    Anita, have you read This Present Darkness? That introduced me to the Biblical paranormal. And now Anne Rice is writing about angels. Hmm....

  15. Like Amanda, I totally remember watching The Legend of Sleepy Hollow cartoon! I also LOVED The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, etc. Pretty much anything Tim Burton.

    I don't think I wanted to be bitten by any vampires, but I always envied Kirsin Dunst's character (until that whole being exposed to the sun scene... scary!).

  16. I recently discovered Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I rented all seven seasons from Netflix and watched every episode. I want to have Spike's evil babies. (Except after that last episode... NOOOOO!) Anyway, I'm a bit late to the party. I don't read much paranormal to be honest. Not sure why. I do like fantasy. A LOT! I haven't even read Twilight. I'll probably discover that fifteen years late as well.

  17. Hi Shana! My DH actually got me started in the fantasy genre, with Michael Moorcock's fabulous worlds and characters. I just ached for more romance in the books, and that's what started my blending of genres. It's been wonderful to see the growth of fantasy in the romance genre, both as a reader and a writer!