Please welcome author Shauna Aura Knight to the blog today. So glad to have her here today.
Lisa, thanks for having me as a guest on your blog!
The paranormal romance genre is so popular these days. I wanted to explore what makes the supernatural, the otherworldly, the magical, so endlessly fascinating? I mean, I myself must find it captivating since everything I write has some kind of a fantasy or sci-fi element to it. Even with the movies I watch, I’m willing to put up with the lamest of plots as long as there’s magic or superpowers.
Without getting too woo-woo, I think there’s are things below the surface of the “real world.” I think there’s the occasional magic, the occasional strange or psychic phenomena, even the occasional miracle. And I think that those stories inspire us and entrance us. Or maybe it goes back to hundreds, thousands of years ago, when we huddled around the fire having no idea how the world worked. At the Winter Solstice, would the nights really just keep growing longer? Or would the sun ever come back? Imagine what it must have been like, when the natural world held a mystery and a magic and even a bit of fear.
Sometimes I think it’s a little thrilling to think that there are people out there with magic powers. That there are werewolves, vampires, ghosts, psychics, superheroes, and magic-users. That there is something beyond the daily grind of our reality. And in romance, I think it’s particularly alluring that there’s sexy guys with supernatural abilities courting the heroine, or, that the heroine herself has magical powers.
My first novella, “Werewolves in the Kitchen,” deals with Ellie, who ends up being lovers–and then being mated–with two werewolves, Kyle and Jake. They are stronger than average and in addition, they have that intense primal attraction. I think there’s something pretty enticing about werewolves and shapeshifters, about a guy that is so hot for you his eyes glow amber and he has a hard time keeping himself from shifting into his animal form. Imagine a guy with super strength who could fight off powerful enemies for you, a guy who absolutely loves the way you smell and would do anything for you, a guy who has incredible stamina and endurance, a guy whom you have a psychic connection to. With Ellie, she has not just one oversexed shapeshifter to deal with but two of them.
I think with paranormal romance, there’s so much potential for the traditional alpha hero to get an interesting spin, whether it’s a werewolf, a vampire, or some other magic.
I have a novel coming out in a few weeks, “The Autumn Leaves, the White Dress.” I’d call it an urban fantasy more than a paranormal romance. The story is romantic, with some very spicy scenes between Jack and Meredith, but the story itself is about loss and grieving. To be a true romance, the story has to have some kind of a happy ending, and this story deals with the death of one of the characters.
I’m not giving away any spoilers– the paranormal/fantasy element of the story is that Meredith dreams her own death at the beginning of the story. And later, Jack deals with her death at a Pagan/Wiccan Samhain (Halloween) ritual where a trance medium brings him a message from Meredith’s spirit.
For my part, this kind of paranormal and psychic phenomena isn’t really that far from the truth. While it’s not common, I have heard of—and experienced—prophetic dreams and spirit communication. I facilitate community rituals for Pagan and Earth-centered communities, and I have a book on Dreamwork that will be coming out in a few months. In my “White Dress” story, the paranormal elements are a little bit more, how to put it…reliable, than they typically are in real life. In reality, prophetic dreams like that, or spirit communication that is that direct, is pretty rare.
The story itself was inspired by a dream I had, though it wasn’t prophetic. Actually, a lot of my fiction is inspired by my own dreams.
I think the allure of that kind of magic and paranormal phenomena is that connection with that something larger, and that we can hear real and clear messages from our beloved dead. I think that we want to know on some level that there’s an order and a pattern to the universe.
My story “A Winter Knight’s Vigil” that’s coming out in December is probably the most subtle magic of all the stories I’ve written. Amber and Tristan are on a retreat in a cabin in the woods with their coven, and when things get hot and heavy between them, they struggle with the promises they made to their coven, as coven members aren’t supposed to date. Then they both find themselves facing their own personal shadows and fears during intense ecstatic rituals. I facilitate rituals like that with some frequency when I travel around the country, however, some folks not used to ritual work that induces trance through dancing, drumming, and singing might find it to be a paranormal, magical.
When I teach workshops, whether they are psychic development workshops, dreamwork, or when I’m facilitating rituals to get people into a deep ecstatic trance state, I think that people are looking to touch the fingertips of that magic, that something larger. Maybe you call it the divine, maybe you call it the Force, maybe it’s just the universe at work. I think that many of us want to see that universe at work. We want to understand it. We want to know there’s an order to the pattern.
But we also want to know that there’s something special beneath the surface, something potent and inexplicable and wild and utterly fascinating. I think that people tend to envy the folks that have touched that something beyond. The truth is that many people lament to me that they can’t meditate, that they don’t have psychic experiences, that they can’t get visions at will. And then every once in a while, they find a way to open to that experience. And no, it’s not like in a fantasy book where people zap people with lightning bolts, or where people shapeshift into wolves. But it’s still a magic. Just a subtle magic. That subtle magic is all around us, but we have to get better at listening to find it.
Some of the stories I have planned for the future involve the flashier magic—vampires, faeries, psychic mages, and big massive epic fantasy battles with armies and elves and warriors. But I think at the core, I’ll always also deal with those more subtle magics. The little magics that are just rippling under the surface of the water, just out of reach. The magic of the shadows we face, the dark night, the personal transformation we each go through to become who we could be.
What inspires you about paranormal fiction?
“Werewolves in the Kitchen” is available as part of the “Wild Shifters” anthology:
Jupiter Gardens Press: http://jupitergardenspress.com/shop/wild-shifters/
Connect with Shauna Aura Knight online:
Find excerpts of all three stories at http://shaunaknightauthorartist.wordpress.com
Keep posted for upcoming giveaways and more!
Shauna Aura Knight is an author and artist. Her work is inspired by the mythic stories of heroes, of swords and magic, and of the darkness we each must overcome. That the challenges we face shape us, and help each character—each person–to become heroes. Shauna travels nationally offering workshops on community leadership, facilitation techniques, and personal transformation. Her paranormal romance novella Werewolves in the Kitchen is available as part of the Wild Shifters anthology Her urban fantasy The White Dress, The Autumn Leaves becomes available early November 2013 and A Winter Knight’s Vigil in December 2013.
Shauna’s new (and still under construction) web site is at www.shaunaauraknight.com