Paranormal Popularity – Why is Paranormal Romance So Hot Right Now?

March 6, 2008

by Laura, Digital Production Coordinator

Paranormal is hot right now–in books, movies, and TV. But why now? What is it about this moment in history that makes paranormal such a popular genre?

  • A story in the Australian newspaper the Courier-Mail notes that “The genre has grown at the expense of military romance, which she says no longer offers the escapism it once did. ‘With Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s a lot more real now,'” according to a store owner.The last upsurge in paranormal romance came in the 1970s, around the release of Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire, when Americans were dealing with the aftermath of the Vietnam War. And the first English gothic novels such as Ann Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho soared in popularity in the early 19th century as Napoleon advanced across Europe. (It should be noted, however, that this is purely anecdotal evidence. It would be possible to find a potentially relevant military conflict for almost any period in history.)
  • In an interview at ParanormalRomance.org, author Kim Harrison says, “I feel much of the recent popularity is coming from the greater acceptance for Wicca and alternative religions in general.” Certainly, many paranormal elements come from the mythos and culture of pagan religions. Could the popularity of paranormal be related to the rediscovery these religions in the mainstream?
  • Is spirituality in general on the rise? In a time of uncertainty, people may be seeking answers outside of what can be explained by science. An increased interest in paranormal may be one form of expressing the belief that there must be more to the world than we know.

Are you more interested in the genre than you used to be? Is it just because of the availability, or do you think there’s something about this particular time–in the world, or in your life–that led you to paranormal?



  1. Great minds think alike! The ladies over at Smart Bitches have posted a similar question about the rise in popularity of urban fantasy:

  2. I have loved paranormals for years. I was a subscriber to the old Shadows line, the pre-curser to Nocturne. And, when it first began, I immediately subscribed to Luna. But then, I am Wiccan and have been since I was a teenager. And much of paranormal fiction is about empowering women, making them strong and capable of dealing with their own problems. They may get help from their male counterparts, but they don’t leave the whole process of solving their problems to them. They actively participate. I like that in a book. Some of my favorite authors in paranormals are well known for making strong female characters. Just check out Christine Feehan’s Ghostwalker series. All the women can kick butt.:-)

  3. I’ve always been interested in the supernatural. I grew up on Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Saul. I glommed anything spooky, scary or eerie.

    Then I glommed a lot of fantasy, Mercedes Lackey, Jennifer Fallon, Robert Jordan, and others.

    So for me paranormal romance was a blending of the two with a pinch or two of hot sex with some sexy dudes and I’m done. Paranormal and urban fantasy is pretty much all I read now. With a horror and fantasy tossed in now and then. I’m in reading heaven

  4. I’ve always liked paranormal romances. From back in the 90s. Remember those vampire romances by Linda Lael Miller, Amanda Ashley, and Nancy Gideon? *wg* When the genre went out of fad in the late 90s, I stopped reading romances. Until it came back. Hehehe!

  5. I rememeber starting my reading obssession (hello my name is Tammy and I’m a bookaholic/readaholic) with what used to be called futuristic, some of them had a light paranormal influence, and I loved them! Finding new reading material was scarce for years then the term paranormal came into being and I had a choice of what kind of paranormal I wanted to read. I’m in heaven with all the titles available (just wish I could win the darn lottery so I could afford them all!)

  6. We’re in good company once again — dearauthor.com has posted about the growing appeal of urban fantasy:

  7. I always enjoyed genres like Fantasy, Horror and Mystery, and I liked a romantic subplot with it. When I discovered paranormal romance it was a happy day. I like the larger than life characters, the twist on folklore and mythology, the intense romantic/sexual tension that can be created when you’ve got characters from different worlds. I love Urban Fantasy also–it’s got a little bit of everything. UF seems to be on the upswing, I’ve discovered some great new authors lately.

  8. […] Harlequin’s Paranormal Romance Blog asks “Why is Paranormal Romance so popular right now?” […]

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