18 September 2007

What Was the 1st Paranormal Romance Published?

Okay, you know it’s bad when the title is a question. I have to say, I chose this topic thinking I’d be able to find--if not one definitive answer--at least some lively discussion on the topic.

Google, Ask.com, and RomanceWiki failed me. Romantic Times had a nice list of top picks in the genres over the years, but no dates listed. Grrrr.

So, my next step was to dig in my brain and try to remember the first paranormal romance I read. It was sometime in the mid-nineties while I was working at local college library. Then it hit me: Amanda Ashley. I checked out her website and found the cover that I’m pretty certain was the book. It was “Embrace the Night”, a vampire story, and it was published in 1995.

Amanda had a nice article on her website where she mentioned being inspired by Nancy Gideon’s Pinnacle Vampires published in 1994 and by Lori Herter who published the vampire romance, Obsession in 1991.

1991?? There weren’t any paranormal romances before this? I find that hard to believe, but maybe it’s true. To clarify--I’m defining romance as the standard girl meets boy, conflict, and then a “happy ever after.” Otherwise Anne Rice and Bram Stroker might try to take the title (not on my watch).

I wonder if there were any time-travel romances before 1991. I consider time-travel paranormal, simply because it involves ideas beyond the laws of modern science. Did any of those 80’s writers tackle that plot line? I'm pulling up a blank on that question.

Anyone else out there have a clue as to when the first paranormal romance novel hit the bookshelves? Now that I've looked and not found the answer--I'm really curious.

UPDATE! Rhonda Stapelton pointed me to her Northeast Ohio RWA chapter page and the entry on Ms. Shiplett. June Lund Shiplett published "Journey to Yesterday" in 1979! Wow, that's what I wanted to find :) She was also a charter member of RWA. Romance writers are such a creative bunch.
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