YA Paranormal Romance 101: How to Balance Supernatural Elements with Very Human Relationships + Giveaway


Get ready to enter a world of warlocks, demons–and an alternate universe more dark and dangerous than our own in Cara Lynn Shultz‘s new series from Harlequin TEEN, The Dark World (on sale May 27). We’re thrilled to be the latest stop in The Dark World blog tour, and author Cara Lynn joins us today to talk about key elements for crafting a believable romantic relationship despite a supernatural setting. Read on for her guest post plus a giveaway!

by Cara Lynn Shultz, author of The Dark World (Harlequin TEEN)

Let’s face it: Relationships are hard. They take work. And I’m not only talking about romantic ones. Relationships with parents, siblings, friends—they all take work. They are all vulnerable to pressures and stress and expectations.

And that’s without adding in monsters.

Writing any kind of relationship in a paranormal setting can be tricky. Writers tend to write what they know—but who among us can draw on that time they met a fire demon for inspiration? (And if you’re out there, I really want to meet you.)

But there are some universal truths—even in a paranormal, fantastic setting—that provide the baseline for my characters’ reactions. Does it have to do with a broken trust? Unreasonable expectations? Facing your own fears?

I want these characters, and their struggles to be relatable. Take The Dark World heroine Paige Kelly’s conflict with her parents, for example. She can talk to ghosts and open portals between worlds. Her parents, however, think she’s more than a little unbalanced. (She’s talking to a spirit; they see her talking to a tree. What good parent wouldn’t worry?) So she uses a magic sword and a sharp sense of humor to tackle her problems. Otherworldly details aside, her conflict with her parents touches on accessible themes, especially for teenagers: that desire to be respected as your own person. That need to be trusted to make the right decisions.

The same goes for Paige’s romance with demonslayer Logan: Sure, they’re in an extraordinary situation, but at their cores, Paige and Logan are just people approaching a relationship with their own issues and challenges and trying to find their way through. The questions Paige has to ask herself apply in both a normal and paranormal world: Does I trust him? What does he truly want from me? And, of course, the big billion-dollar question: Will someone accept me when they see me for who I truly am? And that’s a worry any teenager, demonslayer or regular ol’ person can understand.

About the Book

Paige Kelly is used to weird–in fact, she probably corners the market on weird, considering that her best friend, Dottie, has been dead since the 1950s. But when a fire demon attacks Paige in detention, she has to admit that things have gotten out of her league.

Luckily, the cute new boy in school, Logan Bradley, is a practiced demon slayer-and he isn’t fazed by Paige’s propensity to chat with the dead. Suddenly, Paige is smack in the middle of a centuries-old battle between warlocks and demons, learning to fight with a magic sword so that she can defend herself. And if she makes one wrong move, she’ll be pulled into the Dark World, an alternate version of our world that’s overrun by demons–and she might never make it home.


Want to win a copy of The Dark World? Leave a comment below telling us what your favorite YA paranormal romance book is to enter to win!

Contest closes May 22 at 11:59pm ET. One will be drawn from all eligible comments and announced May 23. Open to residents of US and Canada. For full official rules, click here. Good luck!

UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed. Please check the comments to see who won.

Check out the rest of The Dark World blog tour for more blog posts, character interviews and giveaways:

Monday May 12th – The Irish Banana Review
Wednesday May 14th – Step Into Fiction
Friday May 16th – All Things Urban Fantasy
Monday May 19th – Swoony Boys Podcast
Wednesday May 21st – A Dream Within A Dream
Friday May 23rd – a GREAT read

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26 Responses to YA Paranormal Romance 101: How to Balance Supernatural Elements with Very Human Relationships + Giveaway

  1. Christina Kit.

    This is an awesome post. I love what the author said about universal truths about relationships regardless of the world characters are in.

    My favorite paranormal romance is the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent. Banshees who fall in love? Perfect! A banshee who falls in love with a reaper? Even better. And in this series the same truths held about relationships. Regardless of powers or world building, Kaylee and Tod had to deal with their parents and siblings and their own problems too. That made them totally relatable and the romance even more swoonworthy!! And that realism in their relationships made it feel like the banshee world could, with a little bit of luck and magic, be totally real :)

    Thank you for the awesome post and giveaway!!

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  2. Hello and thank you for the giveaway :)
    My favourite YAPR is the Sight Seer by Melissa Giorgio :)
    I love her characters and the universe she has created.

    And just like Christina’s post, the soul screamers are great too :)

  3. Twilight is my favorite. Can’t help it :)

  4. Pingback: The Dark World Blog Tour: Balancing Human Elements with the Supernatural | Cara Lynn Shultz

  5. Christina Kit.

    It’s my second comment, and I’m so sorry but I had to add something! I was thinking about what this wonderful author said about characters being relatable, people teens and readers can connect with, and I have to say that’s what kept me reading the Soul Screamers series. I began for the world because bean sidhes were unique and their world so different, but I stayed throughout all the books and novellas because of the characters. Because of the choices they had to make, the stakes involved, because it was all about what they were willing to lose in terms of people they cared about and the world they lived in order to protect the boy or girl they loved or save a friend they had to stick up for.

    And that’s all about character. Yeah, the world makes these stakes totally awesome because they’re life or death, but the reasons these characters risk everything is all about their relationships and the people they love more than life.

    That’s the same reason I totally love Vampire Academy too – the romance that heats up, the friendships that become stronger than ever, the people that become family and what the characters are willing to do to keep these relationships.

    This was an awesome post by the author!! Very relevant and makes you think about what gets you hooked on paranormal worlds and characters.

    Thank you!! :)

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  6. Nardos Yalew

    My favorite ya have to be Vampire Academy series! Its such an amazing emotional books I ever read I love them so much. I would marry it if I could.

  7. My favorite YA Paranormal Romance is the Shadow Falls series by C.C. Hunter. I just love Kylie’s character and the supernatural world in those books. It’s an amazing series and I’m so excited to read the spin-off series with Della which will be called Shadow Falls: After Dark and the book is Reborn.

  8. Kristie M

    Mine would have to be Vampire Academy. I loved the first 3 in that series.

  9. I haven’t read a lot of YA paranormal romance but I just got the Vampire Academy so I’m so excited to get started!! Thanks for sharing :)

  10. Don’t have a fav; haven’t read many

  11. I think my favorite YA paranormal romance is the Mortal Instrument Series and Wicked Lovely Series.

  12. I’ve read a bunch but my favorite recently is White Hot Kiss! :D

  13. I’m a huge fan of Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter. Cole is a hunk! ;)

  14. Mine favorite is the Iron Fey series. I just love Meghan and Ash.

  15. Susan T.

    The Mortal Instruments series!

  16. Elisabeth

    This is so hard. I’ll go with Nevermore by Kelly Creagh before I think of another one.

  17. I loooooove Spellbound!!! Cara Lynn Shultz!!! It’s my life! I really want a third one in the series and I’m really hoping. <3

  18. Patrice Gottfried

    Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

  19. alicia marie

    I really love the Soul Screamrs series :)

  20. My favorite YA paranormal romance book is is Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. It made me want to visit Prague.

  21. Max Baker

    Mine would have to be Splintered by A.G Howard. There a love triangle, but its not overwhelming and the main character is strong, sexy, and fiercely independent. The boys are sexy too I guess.

  22. Ooooh…. I’m really looking forward to this book now! Logan and Paige already sound perfect to get her and i can’t even begin to imagine the paranormal aspects! I think my favorite paranormal book… so far would have to be the falconer by Elizabeth May~

  23. Natasha

    I loved Poison Princess by Kresley Cole.
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  24. My favorite YA Paranormal Romance would be the Soul Screamers Series, The Iron Fey Series and the House of Night series! I can’t choose between those! I love PR!

  25. The giveaway is now closed…and congrats to the winner of The Dark World, Patti! Please check your email for a message from me.
    ~Amy from Harlequin

  26. My all time favorite YA paranormal series is The Darkest Powers series (The Summoning, The Awakening and The Reckoning) by Kelley Armstrong. I read that trilogy at least twice a year, I usually end up finishing all three books in two days! I am completely in love with these characters, especially the male because he is so imperfect, whereas in most books the male lead is always “perfect”. This is a beautiful series!

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