Siren Beat/Roadkill is out now! This double publication from Twelfth Planet Press features urban fantasy novelettes by myself (Siren Beat) and World Fantasy Award-winning, Dalek-writing Robert Shearman (Roadkill).
At least, I'm pretty sure mine is urban fantasy. Are the rest of you as confused as I am?
I've been recently reading the truly brilliant Beyond Heaving Bosoms, a snarky reader's guide to romance novels - basically, it is to the romance genre what Diana Wynne Jones' A Tough Guide to Fantasyland is to fantasy. One thing that startled me was how they discussed paranormal romance as if it was... well. Part of the romance genre. I've been thinking of it as part of the fantasy genre, and an inter-changeable term with urban fantasy.
It's quite a controversial issue, as it happens. I can't turn around without seeing someone else in the blogosphere re-defining 'urban fantasy' or 'paranormal romance' and every time they do, I change my mind about what Siren Beat is.
This great post looks at the boundaries between mainstream literature and urban fantasy, in which she defines urban fantasy as being anything fantastical set in 'our' world. By those standards, Siren Beat, a dark adventure story about battling murderous sirens on the docks of Hobart, is definitely urban fantasy.
But maybe it's paranormal romance too. It has... sort of a romance. A fairly unromantic one, though not in comparison to the marvellously awkward failed romance at the centre of Roadkill. It has all those elements that people claim for paranormal romance - a tough chick protagonist, an otherworldly hot male for her to lust after, several other dangerous and lusty magical creatures to fight off, and paranormal action which is given priority over any kind of Happily Ever After.
Of course, if Siren Beat was really a paranormal romance, my protagonist would have more than one love interest! Lust triangles (or um polygons) are a definite feature of the genre. I couldn't quite justify that at novelette length, though...
Some people get quite outraged at the paranormal (AKA 'fangfucker') stories getting to use the urban fantasy label, which previously belonged a more gentle, literary slipstream kind of story without quite so many tight leather garments. Hmm, is anyone else suddenly imagining a cage match between Charles De Lint and Laurell K Hamilton?
Where do you draw the line between Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy?
To get hold of your own copy of Siren Beat/Roadkill, pick up a copy here for a mere $12/$15 depending on which part of the world you live in.
I'll be posting more about Siren Beat and paranormal romance/urban fantasy over at my own blog all this week.
The ROR group was started in 2001 by Marianne and Rowena.
We meet every year or so to critique our manuscripts. We are united by a passion for the speculative fiction genre and the craft of writing. (And sharing good food and wine doesn't go amiss, either). www.ripping-ozzie-reads.com