Why I Write Paranormal Romance by Debbie Herbert


Upon learning I write paranormal romance, people often look perplexed and one of the first questions they ask is – ‘Why’?

My short answer is a shrug and a cryptic remark that ‘it’s fun.’  The longer answer can be found in my tagline that describes the kind of books I write: “Where love, like magic, casts its own spell of enchantment.”

I’ve never outgrown my love of fairytales and mythology.  One of my fondest memories in Girl Scouts was reading about the housekeeping elves in the official Brownie’s Handbook

It’s the possibility of magic that tingles my creative drive and curiosity, the speculation that there is more to reality than we can perceive through our senses. 

My debut novel, Siren’s Secret, is the first book in a trilogy about a secret clan of shapeshifting mermaids living in a Southern Bayou.  Do I really believe that half-fish, half-human creatures populate deep waters that no man has yet traveled down?  No.  But who knows what really exists in the depths of the oceans or beyond our galaxies where humans have yet to explore. The human brain is a marvelous organism that by its very nature loves to seek answers and pioneer new ideas and concepts. 

And as far as the romance part of the writing equation – I’ve always been a sucker for love stories.  As a teenager, Harlequin books lined my bookshelves and I devoured them like candy.  The very first book I ever wrote, at age twenty, was a Harlequin romance.  I was newly married and we lived pretty much paycheck-to-paycheck so there was no money in the budget for a typewriter.  (Yes, I am dating myself here!)  My husband promised that if I actually wrote a book, we could purchase a manual typewriter.  I wrote that romance longhand on legal pads and he held up his end of the bargain.  (I don’t think he believed that I’d really finish it.) With a bottle of white-out by my side, I laboriously typed up the manuscript and submitted it to Harlequin, sure of a brilliant success.

Weeks later, my manuscript was returned with an editorial comment that blasted my book’s premise that a thirty-year-old man would really fall for a teen-aged girl.  Yeah, looking back now I realize that was more than a little creepy!  I still have that truly awful manuscript ina desk drawer.  Every now and then I pull it out and read the first page which poetically describes the changing color of leaves in autumn.  Hardly mesmerizing material.  So often I’ve vowed to throw it away, yet my hands pull back from the trashcan and back it goes into the bottom desk drawer.

Fast forward to the present . . . after retirement, I took up my old dream of writing.  How fitting that my first publishing contract is with Harlequin.  Life can be mysteriously circular at times.

I would love to hear why you read romances or paranormal romances.  What draws you to them as a reader?  Have you ever had something mysterious or eerily coincidental happen to you?  Let me know, I’m always hunting new stories and you may end up in one of my books!