Guest Author: SJ Clarke

Today we are welcoming Author SJ Clarke to talk about Genres.  Welcome and Thank you for taking the time to spend some time with our readers.

Is PNR Dead?


When I tell people I write paranormal romance, I get mixed reactions. Among my favourites are the pursed lipped nod, which translates to “I have no idea what that is.” and the apologetic grimace. Both are generally followed by blank stares or a quick exit, leaving a trail of unspoken questions in their wake.


Why would you paint yourself with that particular brush? What will you do when interest in the paranormal fizzles? Don’t you know some artist will come along and create a new, hot trend?


Sure I do. She’s already here, blurring the edges, creating something new from something past its prime.  


Demystifying the Paranormal

Should I be worried? Will my chosen genre abandon me as I’m creating my platform as a paranormal writer? I don’t have the answers. No one does. But I can narrow down the parameters a bit.


When people hear the word paranormal their minds fill with images of a familiar world, altered from current reality by the existence of vamps, shifters and demons. Quite often these elements describe a sub-genre of paranormal that fall into the category of Urban Fantasy. Urban Fantasy has plenty of monsters, as well as kick-butt heroines intent on taking them out. (Until our heroine comes across a monster that stirs her sympathy along with her hormones and she’s attracted to the very aberration she hunts.)


Fighting for humanity’s survival takes a toll on a body. It can’t endure the fight forever. It’s a subtle change at first. Creatures recede into the shadows and tormented souls wreaking vengeance for humanity, instead seek therapy. Can a world without the paranormal be far behind?


Of course not. They’re great stories, and I read a lot of Urban Fantasy. But I also read a host of other paranormal tales. Paranormal encompasses so much more than nightmares given life on the page. There’s the psychic component as well, and this is the element I use in my stories.


The list of psychic abilities is long, often obscure and difficult to pronounce. Most of us are familiar with common psychic gifts like visions, telepathy and telekinesis, but there’s a world of other psychic abilities to explore. Some lesser known skills include clairaudience, bilocation, psychometry, retrocognition, transvection and remote viewing. I’m having a lot of fun right now with the power of remote viewing in my current work in progress.


But is having fun enough to keep your readers reading? Aren’t you afraid they’ll abandon you for the next go-to genre?


Hidden Dangers in Genre Writing

By writing in a genre category, one risks slapping a label on their work and forever linking their writer’s identity with that genre. Can a writer survive so labelled? Visit any writer’s or reader’s forum and you’ll find both sides of the argument well represented.


Fans derive their name from the word fanatic. They possess an intense interest in the subject matter, yes, but also in the way the story is told. But even a great story premise falls flat with lacklustre writing. Readers crave entertainment while they escape the harsh reality of their lives for the brief time they immerse themselves in a story.  If those needs aren’t met, the reader will go elsewhere for their fix. But is it poor craftsmanship, or the promise of a new, hot genre that lures a reader away? Everyone strays to investigate the new and interesting, but true fans come back to those who deliver consistent entertainment.


But how will you get away with sticking with a dying genre?


Paint my own picture

Will I write to the masses and change genres to follow  up-and-coming trends? No. I might include aspects of new trends in my writing, but at their core, my stories will remain paranormal in nature. My first story, written at the age of eight, was a paranormal time-shift. I’m drawn to the genre. It’s what I read. It’s what I write. It’s in my pores.


I’ll continue to weave paranormal elements amongst romance, mystery and suspense, mainstream genres that endure the test of time.


I’ll paint my word pictures on my canvas. Those readers who share my interest and find my stories entertaining will stick around to see what my brush strokes create next. New trends may feather over the image, altering it slightly, but I will always deliver on my original promise to my readers by providing entertaining escapism with a touch of the paranormal.


I’m interested in your take on the future of PNR. Please continue the conversation in the comments section, and stay in touch through the links listed below.


SJ Clarke

Mind Over Matter
By S.J. Clarke

Rebecca McKenney grieved the loss of her daughter for three years. Now, a vision showing Sabrina three years older, suggests her baby is still alive, and the FBI agent who gave up the search is the only one who can help find her.

Special Agent Dan Cooper is haunted by a tragic mistake made early in the investigation of Sabrina’s disappearance. Now to ease his conscience he agrees to help Rebecca search.

Together they fight inner demons, all to real bad guys, and an attraction neither wants to admit to. Each step closer to finding Sabrina is a step deeper into deception and evil.

Can Rebecca and Dan save Sabrina before it’s too late?

About The Author

S. J. Clarke has published over fifty articles as a columnist and regular contributor for a variety of lifestyle and human interest websites. She is a grateful member of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region, and proud to sit on the Board of Directors for The Ontario Writer’s Conference.

Sandra also co-authored Touretties, a touching tribute featuring testimonials from patients and and their loved ones living with Tourettes.

Mind Over Matter, released in November, 2011 through MuseItUp Publishing, is her first novel.

Check out my new website at:

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4 thoughts on “Guest Author: SJ Clarke

  1. This is a lovely article to read as both a reader and an aspiring author.

    I have recently drifted back to Paranormal Romance after a bit of a break. The thing I really appreciate about the newer generation of Paranormal Romance authors is that their story worlds are expanding and becoming more and more exciting to explore. The books aren’t just about the relationship and physical attraction between two people anymore – there is a whole lot more happening around that. Authors are also moving away from only writing about vampires, shifters and demons – enticing the imagination with new ideas. But even when they do write about the “big 3” most are adding something new or different to the known mythology. As a reader this makes for very exciting reading and I think it shows that the genre is expanding and continually reworking itself.

    As Ms Clarke mentions, fans appreciate good writing and they’re looking to be entertained. As long as an author can keep delivering the goods they will always have a base of fans who support them. In my opinion anyway…

    My apologies for the overenthusiastic comment.

    The Word Fiend

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  3. I’ve always been a fan of the paranormal and when they actually created a name for the genre I love most I was thrilled.

    Even as a kid I would dig through the books and grab anything that hinted at ghosts, witches, vampires, etc.

    I think there are plenty of people just like me who love the books whether it’s trendy or not.

    Plus with all the options- the cross genre blends, books are always new and exciting to me no matter what labels are put on them

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