Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It Chose Me by Ann Fields

I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase, “I didn’t choose it, it chose me.” That phrase applies to meand paranormal writing. I grew up reading romance novels—the old school romances published by Harlequin with the revealing bodices for heroines and fully exposed chests for heroes on the covers.

Fast forward to adulthood and my love for reading romances continued. So it was quite natural that when I decided to become a novelist, I turned to the romance genre. I wrote three romances and then something unexpected happened…my next love story went dark. Yikes! What happened? I’m trucking along writing about love and eternal bliss and then a stalker, death and violence inserts itself into one of my stories. That story introduced a change.

Oh, I still believed in love, happiness, and all that sugar and spice stuff, but those dark elements forced me to acknowledge the influence that murder mysteries, thrillers, horror and science fiction had had on me. I had read just as many Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books as I had romance novels, and that paranormal/horror/thriller genre had risen up, demanding to be represented.
So in 1999, I shelved the romance stories I had been developing and turned to paranormal writing. Well not completely. I decided I would write a paranormal then write a romance; write a paranormal, then write a romance. A rotation of sorts, you see, but my intuitive creative self said no, no, no, and to prove it meant what it said, I started having personal encounters (as in plural) with spirits. I had my first run-in in 2000 with a spirit, ghost, still not sure what the difference is. Then in 2011, I had my second spiritual visit, and since then I have seen an angel and have been visited by a deceased relative. Most of the visits have been pleasant; only one was horrid.

In the midst of immersing myself into the paranormal world, a friend asked me if my writing differed between romance and paranormal. I thought about the answer only a second before saying an affirmative yes, which is the other reason why I know the paranormal genre chose me. My writing skill and style since switching to paranormal has vastly improved. I think that improvement can be linked to freedom and the unknown. 

What do I mean? Well, in a romance novel, there are certain plot points that must be adhered to and the outcome is certain. With paranormal writing, there is no set pattern, no predetermined end. With paranormal writing, I write scene by scene not knowing how the story will unfold or end. I love the freedom in that. I love the surprise in that.

Will I ever return to romance writing? At this point, I would have to say no because a new world has opened to me and I am a better writer and person for that. Paranormal writing definitely chose me and I’m so glad it did.