I’d love to give a warm welcome to historical paranormal romance author Isabel Cooper, who’s here with us today. Isabel’s current release, LESSONS AFTER DARK, is filled with mystery, magic and romance, blending two of my favorite genres of romance. Isabel is sharing how the past and the paranormal are a perfect pairing for great story telling! Pull up a seat and stay a while and don’t forget to enter the giveaway for the chance to win your own copy!
by Isabel Cooper
Actually thinking about why I like what I do is a relatively new development for me; if my life had a catch phrase, it would probably be some variant on “Sure, why not?” or, in retrospect, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” Seriously. I could tell you stories. My mom could tell you other stories, or maybe the same stories in a somewhat different tone. And I first got into reading and writing historical paranormals, true to form, because I’ve never written any fiction without, at minimum, a disgruntled psychic teenager, and I like period dramas and hey, why not?
Which I think is actually part of why I like paranormal historical romances, come to think of it.
See, it all comes down to potential, and freedom, and things not being completely straightforward. (What L.M. Montgomery calls “the bend in the road”, which I can quote from memory, because I have kiiiiind of read Anne of Green Gables more times than I really should have.) Adventures happen when you don’t know for sure what will come next. That’s fun, at least in small doses: road trips, parties, boys. Novels, too.
Magic’s all about that stuff. Olivia, my heroine in Lessons After Dark, has a much more in-world technical explanation for it, but from my perspective, magic is about things not being what they appear on the surface. That ordinary-looking girl over there is actually seven hundred years old. The kid upstairs can set you on fire. Your boss turns into a velociraptor when the moon is full. Anything can happen! Anything probably will happen! And, as Olivia explains, if you can find out the way things really work, the secret rules behind the universe, then you can do anything, or at least a lot more than you could beforehand.
On the surface, historical settings would seem like the antithesis of all that open-world adventure wackiness: stuff has already happened! We have documents! We know how this went!
Except…what if we actually don’t?
Even normal historical dramas start from there. We do know what’s going to happen on the larger stage—and that lets us in on the secret-rules thing, because as viewers we can react to telephones in Downton Abbey or Nixon on Mad Men in ways that the characters can’t—but we don’t know how it’s going to affect these characters, in this plot. We’re already starting historical dramas with that mixture of knowledge and mystery.
Then you add the paranormal element, and suddenly it’s all about how you can add the paranormal element: what features of the period you’re working in lend themselves to the occult. Maybe Spiritualism really worked. Maybe the Nazis really were trying to get their hands on the Holy Grail. Maybe Jimmy Carter’s giant swimming rabbit was actually a bio-organic weapon, thwarted at the last second by…hyperintelligent snapping turtles, I guess.
See, freedom only works if you have a few limits to free yourself from, and impulses only work if there’s something to provoke them. History’s very good at both. So’s the occult. When you combine them…
…well, it seems like a very good idea.
Critically acclaimed author Isabel Cooper lives in Boston with her boyfriend and a houseplant she’s kept alive for over a year now. She maintains her guise as a mild-mannered project manager working in legal publishing; all the while, she’s writing dark, edgy and magical romance novels. Her debut novel, No Proper Lady, was named a 2011 Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year in the romance category, a 2011 Library Journal Best Romance of the Year and received an RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence for the month of September 2011. For more information, please visit http://www.isabelcooper.org
A woman with an unspeakable past…
Olivia Brightmore didn’t know what to expect when she took a position to teach at Englefiend School, an academy for “gifted” children. But it wasn’t having to rescue a young girl who levitated to the ceiling. Or battling a dark mystery in the surrounding woods. And nothing could have prepared her for Dr. Gareth St. John…
A man with exceptional talent…
He knew all about her history and scrutinized her every move because of it. But there was more than suspicion lurking in those luscious green eyes. Even with all the strange occurrences at the school, the most unsettling of all is the attraction pulling Olivia and Gareth together with a force that cannot be denied.