Modern or Historical shifters?

November 10, 2009 at 10:22 pm (General)

If I had to choose a book to read for pleasure, it would be a historical romance.  Whether paranormal or not, I love a good story set in the past.  I have specific time periods and places I prefer, but sweep me away to a different time and I’m happy.  The first book I ever published, though touted as a contemporary, had time travel back to the 18th century because of that.  I followed with five historical novels, and a few fantasy novels set in medieval times.

Lately, I’ve been writing contemporaries, while pining to get back to the history of things.  That’s why I enjoy paranormals, because many times the heroes and heroines have lived for a very long time.  They have history, and some have centuries of history.  I like to toss in a flashback scene when possible, just to fulfill my own love of history.


But I know some readers have very defined lines drawn when it comes to time period in a novel.  Some will only read historical, others love contemporaries.  I’m not sure how many enjoy both, and I wonder if they like to see the various time periods mixed in a story?

It’s neat how the paranormal genre allows we writers to incorporate history into our stories.  If we have a passion for Napoleonic times we can craft a hero who may have served in Napoleon’s army before being bitten by a vampire and now he’s lived for two centuries.  Perhaps we prefer medieval times, and decide that our shapeshifter was summoned in the thirteenth century, and has been walking the world since then, desperate for love and acceptance.  I believe that history makes the character stronger, more interesting and ultimately, both smarter and vulnerable as he walks through modern times.

So I want to know which you prefer in your paranormal romances.  Straight historical?  Set completely in modern times?  Or do you like a mix, a contemporary story with flashbacks to the characters’ history?




  1. Deborah Cooke said,

    Hi Michele –

    Interesting question! I love historicals, too, and find I do the same thing with the history of my characters. I think it would be fun to write an entirely historical paranormal – and have, um, done it – but there is a sense in today’s market that contemporary paranormal readers are less interested in full blown historical settings.

    I suspect that sense will only last until someone writes such a book and readers love it!

    But I’m curious to see what people say today.


  2. michelehauf said,

    I’m eager to hear readers’ thought, too, Deborah! I just sold a paranormal that is 1/3 contemporary, 2/3 historical. I hope the mix will make readers as happy as it makes me!

  3. Deborah said,

    Congrats Michele!

    That’s wonderful news.


  4. Teonda Tollison said,

    I am a history buff but yet love contemporary romance. I have read some paranormal and think that either way is fine. I think having some back ground on the characters in the story only make it more interesting. An avid reader in my opinion falls in love with the characters and becoem one with the story. That or I’m just weird.

  5. Keira said,

    That dress is gorgeous! Why isn’t it on a novel yet? lol

    I tend to pick up and read historicals but I love paranormal also. To date, I think I’ve read one paranormal set in the past and one romance whose paranormal qualities turn it into a gothic romance. I wouldn’t mind reading more historical paranormals – which are your favorites?

  6. michelehauf said,

    That is a gorgeous dress! Wish I lived in a time when I could wear it. As for some favorites: Lynn Kurland does some great paranormal historicals And she incorporates time travel in some of her books, so if you’re iffy on a ‘complete’ historical you just can’t go wrong with her. I like Susan Carolle as well. Amazing writer. Did the Bride Finder series.

  7. Teresa D'Amario said,

    I’m like you, I like to do contemporary, but with a race which is long lived, so you can throw in some fun historical “Flash backs”. It makes for a full and rich story with alot of really exciting history! And I love to look up events in history that maybe don’t have a “solid” reason or motivation and turn it to my own uses! 🙂

  8. Cathy D said,

    I got tired of contemporary 20 years ago. I started reading Historical Romance and didn’t look back. Enter “time-travel, futuristic and paranormal” Romance 15 years ago, I loved it! I now read a lot of contemporary paranormal because it is very hard to find much in the Historical Paranormal. I really enjoy a good trip back to the past or a whole new world.
    I’m currently reading a Highlander Historical Romance. I needed a big break from a book ring that’s focused lately on Urban Fantasy and YA. Put the 2 together and you get mostly blood and guts or whining to no end. I CRAVE Romance in my books! along with a little magic.

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