On the edge of paranormal is where I feel that my writing falls. I don’t think that I would want to be classified as a paranormal writer; though Devil in the Grass made it to number one on Amazon in Paranormal Mystery and Political. I prefer the mantra of: Thriller writer, with a mysterious undertone.
Let’s break this down:
My vibe as far as paranormal goes is to live just on the edge of it. I like to write in a way which allows you to believe it might be paranormal, or still could be straight. I don’t believe in hocus pocus, but I do believe in ESP and premonitions.
Thus you find Jackson Walker disbelieving in what he feels, yet you have Gramps telling him not to ignore it. In The Palm Reader (coming soon!), Lolita has a vision of both she and Jackson dying, yet she knows that the spirits have told her that though she sees two deaths, there will only be one. (You have to read the book.)
I will let you in on another secret. I read Tarot cards. I’ve been doing it since my teens. I’m now fifty. I will say, though the cards from time to time have been evasive, they have never flat out lied to me. I’m careful what I ask of them. I did predict that a good friend would be diagnosed with an illness. She ended up having breast cancer. I hadn’t wanted to tell her what I saw, but she could read my face and forced me to tell her what I had read. I don’t let people ask me health questions anymore.
I will say, the cards continuously tell me that my writing career is going to expand to the point where it will take over my other career— pretty exciting as I do very well selling Real Estate.
My point is: I do believe in the paranormal. I’m not a big alien guy, but I do believe that there is an ‘ether’ out there which we cannot explain.
I think that the paranormal edge is appealing to readers. If I give you just enough that it might be believable, it takes you to a place which is different from that which we live in; a place that might be real. Might is the operative word here. We really don’t want to read about mundane things; we want to read about things that don’t happen in our actual lives. We want to be taken to a place that takes us away from our reality for a short time.
There are many excellent writers who write about mundane things, but they ultimately tell us a story about how something abnormal in the “mundaneness’ changes the characters in the book’s reality, or how it might lead us to enlightenment. I don’t ever think that I will be a writer like that— I don’t have enough talent for that sort of thing, and I might bore myself in the process.
One of my favorite series when I was growing up was one by Stephen R. Donaldson – Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever. In life, Covenant is a leper, but when he puts on his white gold ring, he is transported to another world where he is powerful, yet he doesn’t believe it to be real. That series and the two after it really transformed my thinking as a writer. I wanted to believe that the other world was real, but I was given enough doubt to disbelieve it. I liked almost every one of Anne Rice’s books as well. The Witch series was awesome— the Taltos theme is right up my ally.
I think that ultimately your readers will call you out if you are feeding them a line of dribble. If you are going to take them over the edge of normal reality, you must do it in a way that makes them want to believe in what you are telling them. I find that I can fall into this grove pretty easily writing my fiction.
Interestingly, I just finished a non-fiction book. I found it terribly difficult to write as everything needed to be correct. I spent two years interviewing people, and I felt I needed to get it right. This book hasn’t been named yet, though “Gone – Off the Venetian Coast” is what’s trending right now as a title. I like writing fiction better, but the non-fiction book is going to be a real winner.