Carolyn Jewel Asks "Immortal Means Forever, Right?"
Paranormal author Carolyn Jewel's detailed supernatural worlds and sizzling romances have made her a fan favorite. This month she is thrilling readers with My Dangerous Pleasure, the latest installment that follows the war between Magekind and the Fiends in her My Immortals series. Today the author stops by to tell us what she loves about paranormal romance.
In the My Immortals series I write for Grand Central's Forever line, I’ve built a world with more than one type of immortal and paranormal creature. Some of them are fiends, a species of demon whose very nature is magical. They are not human and, unless someone happens to know or discover a vulnerability, they don’t die.
Humans, on the other hand, can be “vanilla” (unable to use magic) or one of the magekind. A mage is a human who can do magic. Some of them have even learned how to prolong their lives through the ritual murder of a fiend. It’s not quite immortality, but it’s as close as they can get to it.
I chose this framework because it gave me a world where enemies would naturally distrust and fear each other, but where neither side is entirely right or wrong. That’s a lot like the real world. Anything else, I felt, risked making events in the stories seem shallow or trite. A bad guy is far scarier and much more interesting if he’s more than just evil. His actions should make sense.
In fiction, immortal beings are rarely just un-dying. (Sing Happy Birthday to Grandpa, he's 10,981 today! Louder, kids, he can't hear you!) These beings also tend to possess extraordinary abilities. And, typically, they are immortal at peak physical condition, too. They don't look like your grandmother might at 11,000. In paranormal romance, the male creatures tend to look like Adrian Paul in “The Highlander”.
To me, stories are most exciting when they take us away from our present lives and show us another way to see our world. But paranormals go one step further and offer us a way to comment on Good and Evil without directly talking about real world tragedies.
What can be more seemingly impossible for a mortal to overcome than an immortal being (oh, say, an insane mage)? And yet, the protagonist is a human woman who must find a way to survive in a world where she cannot take control of another person's psyche. For me, it’s a way of commenting in an oblique way on the struggles women have faced over the centuries and still face in our lives. Women have been cast as the weaker, less able gender when, in fact, there has always been ample evidence to the contrary.
But even more than that, I love Paranormal Romance because it offers us more than a mortal hero fighting impossible odds. We actually see a much trickier negotiation; a relationship that forges an alliance between opposites. When a human woman meets a fiend who has the ability to control her and he does not, we see that power isn't always about physical strength. When an enemy becomes a lover, and then beloved, the couple ends up experiencing a different world together. The hate falls away.
And if it can for them, then can’t it for others, too? That transformation is one of the things I like best about telling a love story.
- Carolyn Jewel
Want more from Carolyn Jewel? You can pick up your own copy of My Dangerous Pleasure in stores now!