Click here to hear Renée read the prologue.
It has been said that there are only a certain number of plots, somewhere between 20 and 40 (theme might be a better word, but that’s a different debate). So there are only so many ways I as an author can tell a paranormal story. This creates a challenge for an author: how can I make my stories unique? This is even harder now as there are so many paranormal stories available.
Originality is the key. What can I do to make my characters, plot and storyline unique? I love reading book blurbs on Amazon. I come across so many where I think: wow, I wish I would’ve thought of that! I actually had a bit of difficulty with originality when I first got the idea for my supernatural thriller, Nephilim Genesis of Evil. The main character is a writer. Not unique (read Stephen King and see how many times his main character is a writer). So I put a twist on this and made my writer a journalist who spends his time debunking the paranormal. Rory Callahan doesn’t believe in ghosts and ghouls and things that bump in the night.
To make things more interesting, I threw Rory into a situation where he witnesses a paranormal incident that he can’t explain. Now you have conflict, which drives all good stories. Rory, the guy who doesn’t believe all this crock about the paranormal, has to figure out what this entity he’s seen is, and he finds himself thrust into a town where more strange things occur. To build on the conflict, I have the townspeople suspicious of Rory the newcomer. More conflict.
Creating fear is key in paranormal stories. When I wrote Nephilim, I specifically did not want a story with gore in it. I wanted to build a subtle fear, where the suggestions of fear are there and the readers’ imagination takes it from there. And (except for one reviewer) it seems to have worked. I also wanted a different kind of bad guy. I wrote Nephilim in 2005 and very few people at that time knew of the Nephilim. The ones that did mostly thought of the Nephilim as aliens. I took a different twist and kept the Nephilim as the biblical creatures mentioned in Genesis 6. They were the perfect bad guys.
It’s also important that you keep things as plausible as possible. When reading paranormal stories, readers have to willingly suspend their disbelief. They have to buy that these paranormal things can actually happen. What makes this work for your readers is having everything else in your story as realistic as possible. Your characters have to be real and consistent. So does your setting and your bad guys. If you achieve this, then your readers will keep turning pages.
Nephilim Genesis of Evil has been a resounding success for me. It’s the first in a trilogy, and now the challenge for me is to make the second and third books in the series as compelling a read as the first one. Not an easy task, but it certainly is fun.
Renée was born in California, but has lived most of her life in Colorado. When she’s not hiking, cycling, or chasing ballplayers for autographs, she is writing mysteries and thrillers. She also has some middle grade novels waiting to be published.
Renée loves to travel and has visited numerous countries around the world. She has also spent many summer days at her parents’ cabin in the hills outside of Boulder, which was the inspiration for the setting of Taylor Crossing in her novel Nephilim: Genesis of Evil.
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