Accepting the ‘Other’ in Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance
Urban fantasy and paranormal fiction, particularly paranormal romance, seem to be the hot tickets these days, and I’m no exception writing my trilogy: The Incubus Saga. We all know these genres are popular; they’re everywhere. And I’ve noticed that gay romance within these genres is just as common as the genres themselves, if not more so than in others.
The urban fantasy and paranormal genres are basically set in our modern world but with a touch of otherworldliness that is exciting while still somewhat believable. The characters live in mostly normal, modern towns, go to high school or have jobs, and drop the occasional familiar pop culture reference—their story could be real! Even if they’re also dealing with fairies, demons, and vampires.
So it makes it even easier to project our own insecurities or ideas of being oppressed and different onto something fantastical, without losing the reality of it. Take the X-Men! The way society treats them for being mutants can be a parallel for all sorts of things, like being gay, being a minority, being a part of the ‘wrong’ culture or class.
We all know the idea of the Other in fiction and in life. Someone who is different and therefore ostracized because they aren’t the norm. Like someone who identifies as GLBT. This is a serious issue, that society often sees such people as an Other at all, and it’s an important topic to discuss and to write about.
In Incubus, Changeling, and the now third installment of my series, Sidhe, I’m able to shed light on how people with non-heterosexual orientations are often seen as an Other, but I also mirror that with paranormal examples.
Sasha Kelly as an incubus is an Other who expresses throughout the story how sometimes he just wishes he was human, that he was normal, because of how others see him and how he often negatively sees himself. Jim Grier, the protagonist’s brother, also experiences this as a changeling. Nathan Grier is the Control, as it were, the Normal to counter their Other, and yet he experiences the exact same doubts in himself and challenges, showing readers that there is no Other. We’re all people, who feel and share a lot of the same things in our lives regardless of our differences.
When Nathan encounters more traditional bigotry in book 2, being attacked for having a romantic relationship with another man, there is no more parallel, it’s just a straight up mirror into our actual world. I love getting the opportunity to present the idea of the Other in so many varied ways, something that is really only possible by being set in genres that are a little fantastical, but also familiar.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think the X-Men and all the books and movies and TV shows out there in these genres are very purposeful windows into what the GLBT community (and many other communities) face, and because of that I’ve found urban fantasy and paranormal romance more welcoming even from authors and readers who would normally stick with only straight romance.
The whole point is to see the good in what’s different, in the Others we tell our tales about, and it just wouldn’t be the same if we forgot that from one story to the next. So I say, bring on more, and continue to be welcoming to all sub-genres, for all people.
The Incubus Saga
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Gay Paranormal Romance
Publisher: BigWorldNetwork.com, LLC
Date of Publication: July 2, 2015
Word Count: 180,000
Cover Artist: Mario Hernandez
Nathan Grier returns from the Veil a changed man. The consequences of his time with Malak, the dark sidhe king, and the deal made to free him may be more than he can bear. The weakening of the Veil and new enemies foretell of a greater battle still ahead.
With Nathan’s brother Jim now an Awakened changeling, and Nathan’s role in Malak’s plans finally revealed, Nathan’s love for fae hunter and incubus, Sasha Kelly, may not be enough to save him after all.
Available at Amazon
“Nathan, it’s us,” Sasha tried to say calmly, inching closer with hands held up in seeming surrender. Jim did the same.
Nathan knew he had to be a pitiable sight with that weakly held knife, but he’d use it, damn it, he would. Somehow he’d use it.
His back hit the corner of the room.
“Playing that game?” Nathan scoffed. “I know better. You haven’t been them in…in so long, I…I don’t even remember. I don’t remember…”
“Nathan,” Jim pleaded, moving closer with one hand outstretched. He looked so strange to Nathan, almost believable with those dark blue eyes so caring, so concerned. “I can’t imagine what it must have been like, but it’s over. You’re not in the Veil anymore. We got you out. You’re safe. With us.”
“Please believe us, Nathan,” Sasha said. “Just look at us.” He gestured to himself; to Jim. Sasha too looked so normal, so honest and how Nathan remembered him. “It’s really us. You’re safe, Nathan. Please recognize us…”
He recognized them. But it had to be a trick. Another damn trick like all the others.
“I gave you what you wanted,” Nathan said again. He was so cold. Nothing looked right. Nothing felt right. He couldn’t understand why this was happening when he had finally given in.
“Nathan, it’s us,” Sasha said more firmly, like maybe Nathan just couldn’t hear them.
“Malak took you and we’re so sorry,” Jim said. “We wish we could have gotten you out sooner, but you have to know us. Please tell me you still know us…”
“Malak…?” Nathan glared at the false images before him, knife still held firm, warning them not to get closer. “It had nothing to do with that, you know that, you know. I didn’t…I didn’t go to the Veil.”
Jim and Sasha stopped their progression toward him, their eyes wide and disbelieving. They shared a pained look, not knowing what to say until finally Jim spoke, slow and gentle.
“Nathan, don’t you remember? Malak said killing the spriggan instead of banishing it broke the deal. That’s why we couldn’t win, why we couldn’t save you. You went to the Veil, Nathan. You’ve been in the Veil. But you’re out now. I don’t know what Malak did to you there, but we got you out.”
It almost made sense, as if a second reality were trying to push into Nathan’s mind: memories of what Jim was saying, memories he knew weren’t fabrications, and yet…how could he remember things happening two different ways?
The Veil? Had that been the Veil? To him it had felt like life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amanda Meuwissen is the author of The Incubus Saga and The Collector. Amanda also serves as COO and Managing Editor for BigWorldNetwork.com. She oversees editing and series selection, and is featured as a narrator for several BWN series. Amanda lives in Minneapolis, MN, with her husband, John, and their cats, Helga and Sasha (no connection to the incubus of the same name).
1 copy of all three eBooks in the series to one lucky winner at end of tour. To enter, go to the rafflecopter.