Friday, October 19, 2012

Susannah Sandlin: The Sci-Fi-Paranormal-Apocalyptic-Vampire-Urban-Fantasy Romance

“What’s your genre?” Chances are, if you are published or trying to get there, you’ve had to answer that question a time or three. “Genre” is a topic dear to agents and editors and publishers and booksellers. How should the book be marketed? Where will it get shelved in a bookstore? Is it urban fantasy or paranormal romance? Where does it get categorized with online booksellers? Which book reviewers should it be sent to?

They need a clear definition, an easy fit.

For authors, sometimes—maybe a lot of the time—the stories we want to write aren’t an easy fit. Sometimes they straddle two categories, or more.

When I first wrote Redemption and Absolution, the first two books in my Penton Vampire Legacy series, they sat firmly on the fence between paranormal romance and urban fantasy.

A global pandemic has led to the development of a vaccine that caused a slight change in human blood chemistry—which has made the blood of a vaccinated human deadly to vampires. Suddenly, vampires are starving, fighting over unvaccinated humans, fanning into rural areas in search of feeders, threatening a civil war.

Sounds like urban fantasy, right? Maybe with a science-fiction twist? Maybe a little apocalyptic (at least for the vampires)?

Well, except that each book is told from the viewpoint of a vampire who finds his or her perfect mate in the midst of chaos and rebellion. In Redemption, Aidan Murphy has avoided relationships because of something that happened to his human wife and child in Ireland back in 1601—something that comes back to haunt him in the form of his murderous brother. He meets Krys, a human doctor who shows him how to accept his past, forgive himself for his own bad decisions, and look to the future.

In the new book, Absolution, former mercenary Mirren Kincaid has known nothing but killing since his training as a gallowglass warrior in 16th-century Scotland and Ireland. He carries an ancient sword, and knows how to use it—thus his nickname, spoken in fear, of the Slayer. But Mirren’s tired of killing, and punishes himself for every life taken. Until a woman he’s charged with keeping safe burrows under his armor and shows him the man he could be.

Uh…sounds like paranormal romance, right?

You see the issue with the Sci-Fi-Paranormal-Apocalyptic-Vampire-Urban-Fantasy Romance. Do your favorite books fit neatly into a category? Leave a comment to win a signed print copy of either Redemption or Absolution—winner’s choice. Open internationally through October 23.

Blurb for Absolution:
Following a worldwide pandemic whose vaccine left human blood deadly to vampires, the vampire community is on the verge of starvation and panic. Some have fanned into rural areas, where the vaccine was less prevalent, and are taking unsuspecting humans as blood slaves. Others are simply starving, which for a vampire is worse than death—a raging hunger in a creature too weak to feed.
            Immune to these struggles—at first—is Penton, a tiny community in rural Chambers County, Alabama, an abandoned cotton mill town that has been repopulated by charismatic vampire Aidan Murphy, his scathe of 50 vampires, and their willingly bonded humans.
            Aidan’s second-in-command, Mirren Kincaid once served the tribunal as their most creative and ruthless executioner—a time when he was known as the Slayer. But when assigned a killing he found questionable, Mirren abandoned the tribunal’s political machinations and disappeared—only to resurface two centuries later as the protector and second-in-command of Penton. Now the tribunal wants him back on their side. 
            To break their rogue agent, they capture Glory Cummings, the descendant of a shaman, and send her to restore Mirren’s bloodthirsty nature. But instead of a monster, Glory sees a man burdened by the weight of his past. Could her magic touch—meant by the tribunal to bring out a violent killer—actually help Mirren break his bonds and discover the love he doesn’t believe he deserves?

Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night. A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch and the horror fantasy of Stephen King. (Um…it is fantasy, right?) The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Suzanne lives in Auburn, Alabama, about thirty miles from Penton and its vampires.

***Susannah's winner is Molly Frenzel!  Please email with your mailing details!***


Mary Preston said...

I doubt if many of the books I read could be classified strictly as one genre or another. Most books seem to incorporate different elements & cross blurred lines.

Roger said...

The Sci-Fi-Paranormal-Apocalyptic-Vampire-Urban-Fantasy Romance. Just think the title is great. Have read Redemption & Absolution. Really liked both. Think I read mostly Urban Fantasy, but can't help moving genre to both sides of that line. Especially when following favorite authors.

miki said...

for me the line isn't always clear between genre , my favorite are paranormal romance and urban fanatsy sometimes one of those book is classified in one of those category by one person and then in the other by someone else so not always easy but i thinks it can be a bonus too
I love some series and some autyhors and it's more important for me than teh classification it fits in

Lory Lee said...

Wow, this is a tough one, I think you're the only one whom I know who writes Sci-Fi-Paranormal-Apocalyptic-Vampire-Urban-Fantasy Romance. One must have the guts to write this kind of genre to be able to convince readers.

Susannah Sandlin said...

Of course, romance trumps everything in publishing. If there's even a whiff of romance that reaches too far into the other genres, it's considered a romance. These books, I guess, are paranormal romance with very strong urban fantasy plots!

Stefanie said...

I think there's a very thin line between different genres and that the line is hazy. And I don't care about that. More important to me is: do I like the book or not? I read different genres anyway, from historicals to paranormals. Anything with a good romantic story in it.

Martha Lawson said...

Genre really doesn't matter to me that much! If I like the book that's all that matters. I've read both of these and I LOVED, LOVED them. Can't wait to read more from the Penton Vamps!!

Susannah Sandlin said...

@Martha--thank you! I just got the cover for OMEGA, book three, and will be rolling it out on my website on Sunday!

Steelerlady2379 said...

I can say that the type of books that I read and enjoy are paranormal romance and Urban fantasy. I have tried to read and get into other type and it is just hard to hold my interest. Susannah I am looking forward to reading Redemption and Absolution.
Happy reading and writing*

Eli Yanti said...

I read all genre books :)

Ann Q said...

My reading material covers many genres.Books by a certain author grab my interest, and then I am pulled into another direction. Just love to read.

Gisele said...

I love to read all kind of genres, but I don't think they have to be based in one single type. I'm really looking forward to read this series, since I saw a lot of awesome reviews at Goodreads!

Pat Cochran said...

I read a variety of genre, it's just a matter of whatever catches my attention!

Pat C.

molly.frenzel said...

I don't really have a favorite genre. I skip around between sci-fi, paranormal, dystopian, YA, contemporary, etc. Although I do prefer to read romance of some kind in what I read. I completely agree that 95% of books cross the genre boundries. Actually classifying a book to one specific genre or even multiple genres is a task in itself.
molly dot frenzel at gmail dot com

CrystalBee said...

I like books from just about any genre except for historical and paranormal. Actually, Redemption and Absolution were the first PNR books that I've read. Loved them! I don't know whether I'll read anymore paranormal books, but I'm more open to them now.

I loved how human Susannah made her vampires. They aren't blood thirsty monsters and I appreciated that. They were just trying to create a safe comminuty for all of the citizens - vampires and non-vamps alike.

Looking for to reading Omega (not looking forward to the wait).

- Crystal

Nana Alcelinia said...

I love urban fantasy and paranormal.... But I would love to read it
Thanks for the giveaway hope can win *grin*

Nana Alcelinia said...

Ugh. My email is