Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Regency paranormals

There's been a discussion this week on the email loop for the Beau Monde, a chapter of Romance Writers of America that caters to authors who write books set in the Regency. Do readers of Regency historicals mind if the books have paranormal elements, ie., ghosts, vamps, werewolves, time travel, etc.?

Personally, I won't read them. It's just my own personal prejudice. I want real stories, but not really. Unless Cinderella stories are really real.


JoAnn Ross said...

Years ago (back in the late 80s or early 90s) I was judging regencies for the RITA and later I was telling friends about this way cool one I'd read that I'd given a top score to, and talking about the murder mystery, etc, and someone at the table said, "You can't have a murder mystery in a regency."

Not writing them, I'd had no idea. I just knew I'd loved that book. Obviously that changed, partly, I suppose, because of Jayne Ann 's Amanda Quick books.

So, even if they're still technically "outside the rules," I'd say it's probably only a matter of time until regencies join the rest of the genres with all those paranormal elements.

Actually, while I've always had trouble getting my mind around werewolves, it seems that woo-woo elements would work very well with all that spooky, atmospheric London night fog which brings to mind carriage horse hooves clicking on cobblestones, blurry yellow gas lights, and Jack the Ripper. :)

Sandra K. Moore said...

I read a fantasy novel by Barbara Hambly that was a period piece (1910s) set in London and about vampires. Those Who Hunt the Night struck me as wonderful not because Hambly put vampires in London, but because she wove in so many elements based on the time period -- the early days of what would become the OSS, the growing field of philology, and the introduction of hypodermic needles to medicine.

That's what made the story work for me. Granted, it was a different genre, but I still feel myself yearning for regencies that weave in what's going on at the time socially and politically as an integral part of the plot. (Edith Layton's early books did this in interesting ways, most notably in The Indian Maiden.)

So I'm good with elements coming in from outside the normal genre "rules." I just want those elements to be part and parcel of the times and environment so they don't feel tacked on.

JoAnn Ross said...

Sandra, I absolutely agree that tacked on isn't good. For any genre.

Shanon Donnelly said...

It's an odd thing, but there's actually a huge crossover between SF and Regency--I know two Regency dance groups that started at SF conventions. That said, these folks are picky about details.

The theory I heard about why Regency and Fantasy or Alternate History works so well is that it's all about world building.

As a reader I've always loved paranormals as much as historicals. And Gothics were the original Fantasy/Historical/Paranormal crossovers. I'll always buy one of those.