Why Do We Love Monsters?
Updated: May 20
The first book to ever romanticize a monster was The Ivory Key by Rita Clay Estrada. This book was published by Harlequin Temptation in 1987.
And, of course, it was a vampire.
What is it about these creatures, and others like them, that draw us?
The Appeal of Paranormal Creatures
1. They bring danger to your life.
Paranormal creatures exist in a dangerous world. It takes courage to step into that world. To trust something or someone who should be dangerous to you. Think about it. A vampire should want to rip out your throat, not rip off your clothes. A werewolf should want to eat your heart out rather than your… You get the idea.
2. They are not intimidated by your character.
Paranormal creatures have enhanced strength, speed, magical abilities, and other attributes. They won’t be bothered by a strong female with a mind of her own. In fact, in most stories, the alpha male is thrilled to find a female that can hold her own. That’s not to say that their heroines don’t like to be cherished and supported. Which brings us to another point.
3. Fated, Mated, oh my!
Most paranormal creatures have one true love. Whether they are fated, or mated, or as Stephanie Meyer concluded in her Twilight series “imprinted”, they have been looking for their one true love for their entire existence. Once they find them, they will do anything to protect them.
4. They are forbidden.
I mean, aren’t they? They are creatures that live outside of societal norms. They often live in the shadows, keeping what or who they are quiet—if they are able to walk among humans. Can you imagine bringing your vampire boyfriend home to meet your parents? How well would that go over? They are the very idea of the bad boy your parents warned you about.
Favorite Paranormal Characters
We romanticize monsters because they are flawed. They are powerful. They are evil. But I think that the best paranormal romance characters are those that are battling evil internally as well as externally. They are aware of their dark side. And we as readers (and writers) find that appealing.
One such character is Edward Cullen from Twilight. Love or hate that series, Edward is very aware of his vampire side and is tormented by it.
The same can be said for another vampire, Hudson Vega in the Crave series by Tracy Wolff. He is another vampire with a power that torments him. If that’s not enough, he and his brother are in love with the same girl.
Let’s add a female, nonvampire. Zera Y’shennria from the Bring Me Their Heart series by Sara Wolf. She is heartless. Not the same as a zombie, but similar. A witch stole her heart, and as long as she has it, she has control over Zera. Zera will do anything to get her heart back. But she also has a dark side, a hunger that makes her evil. She fights it but can’t always win. She ends up falling in love with the prince she is supposed to kill.
In the end, paranormal romances don’t just appeal to us because we fantasize being swept away by a hunky alien or angel or vampire or werewolf. It’s also because there are life or death situations. The characters must earn their happy ever after. I think Caridad Piñeiro said it best in “The Success of Paranormals: Why is the Genre Taking a Big
Bite of Publishing Sales?” “…there is a battle going on between humanity and the vampires, demons and other creatures that go bump in the night. It is a battle of good versus evil and it appeals to us on a gut level because ultimately we want to see the good guy win.”
I know I like a happy ending. I want the good guy (or girl) win. I also want to see them get their happy ever after. But only when they’ve earned it.
’Til next time.
Piñeiro, Caridad. “The Success of Paranormals: Why is the Genre Taking Big Bite of Publishing Sales?” Tor.com, 8 July 2010, www.tor.com/2010/07/08/the-success-of-paranormals-why-is-the-genre-taking-a-big-bite-of-publishing-sales/?msclkid=4c0c4d3dceb711eca95023147c463f4a. Accessed 8 May 2022.