World-building in paranormal romances involves many decisions on the part of an author. One aspect of that “world” that has far-reaching consequences is deciding if the paranormal characters live for centuries or do they pass through the story, aging more or less the same as humans.
As authors we get to have lots of fun with this whole spectrum of lifespan. We play “god” and decide if silver kills the werewolf, or if Count Hotpants witnessed the fall of the Roman Empire standing in the sun. I have read (and written) variations on those two extremes. Most immortal characters have a weakness that can lead to their death. Mortal paranormal characters are not mere humans. These characters commonly have strengths that make them hard to kill and age slower.
But how does the mortality of the character affect the reader’s experience of the romance?
What about the mortal paranormal characters? Are their supernatural abilities enough to make them special and interesting? With mortality comes messy problems like family and death. Do these more “real” issues take away from the escapism of paranormal romance? Do mortal paranormal characters have what it takes to satisfy?
But with mortal pairings the flip side of death is birth. In this happy-ever-after, the implication of a secure future with a normal life span and probable babies (and supernatural babies, to boot) creates a satisfying fulfillment of the romance story arc.
Let us know what you think. How does the immortality, or lack of immortality, affect your romance reading pleasure?