Blending History with the Paranormal
The blending of genres is never easy and rarely accepted with open arms and minds. Specifically, I’m talking about blending historical romance and fantasy or paranormals.
There are incredible opportunities to blend these two genres—history is filled with witch trials, women with incredible powers (usually misunderstood healers), men who can turn water into wine or bring down a plaque of locusts, and I’m sure I don’t even need to mention Merlin. Separating out Arthurian stories for a minute here, because they are inherently historical, why are there not more historical romances blended with fantasy?
As a lover Regency romance (my mother introduced me to Georgette Heyer’s books when I was just fourteen) and fantasy and science fiction novels (which I have read for nearly as long), I see no reason why we shouldn’t combine the two more frequently. Colleen Gleason and Mary Jo Putney, just to name two, have done so with fantastic results. Recently I’ve been reading Alexa Egan’s books. She has a great series of fae Regency romances.
The trick with combining two genres is in the balancing—how much do you hold to the norms and expectations of each genre in order to create a fun, well-plotted story? Gleason has her vampire fighting heroine attending Regency balls and trying to live a normal debutant’s life (at least in the first book of her series). Putney takes her story outside of London where magic can reign without the confining rules of society. Egan does the same.
Personally, I love watching my characters try to live within the strict rules of the ton and deal with magical issues as well. I prefer the balance of society and sorcery to be more even-handed (which reminds me of another fantastic Regency fantasy novel—Sorcery and Cecelia—which is YA as well).
The catch to balancing the two, of course, is to be well versed in both. No one could possibly argue that Gleason and Putney don’t know their Regency romance tropes and rules. They do. They know them very well and use that knowledge to good effect. It makes their novels richer and more believable when they introduce the magical element into them.
I have, unfortunately, read some attempts at blending Regency and paranormal which fell flat because the author didn’t have a good grasp of the historical facts. Mistakes were made that would have labeled the Regency romance a wall-banger. Just because the book was a fantasy didn’t make it all right to get the history wrong—and Regency readers are extremely particular when it comes to accuracy.
I can’t stress enough the importance of knowing the historical period you are writing inside and out. Once you do, then you can have fun adding a twist of fantasy to it.
Have you read and loved any historical fantasy or paranormals? How much history do you feel is necessary? How do you feel about blending genres?
More About the Author
Meredith Bond’s books straddle that beautiful line between historical romance and fantasy. An award-winning author, she writes fun traditional Regency romances, medieval Arthurian romances, and Regency romances with a touch of magic. Known for her characters “who slip readily into one’s heart,” Meredith loves to take her readers on a journey they won’t soon forget. Check out Merry’s Regency-set fantasy romance series, The Storm Series or her medieval Arthurian fantasy series, The Children of Avalon. Merry loves connecting with people. Be sure to find her: