Several months ago, on the Reader’s Hangout, there was a discussion about romances featuring older heroines. I ran a poll at the time, asking if readers would like to read romances that featured older women, as none of us is getting any younger. 🙂
Here’s the results of that poll:
I took the results seriously, and have since been researching the book publishing market.
I’ve known about Paranormal Women’s Fiction (PWF) for quite some time, but never paid it any attention, because it wasn’t romance.
It turns out, I was wrong.
PWF does include romance…but that’s not all. It is a very inclusive genre that includes bits and pieces from a dozen other genres; cozy mysteries, mysteries, straight fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, fantasy romance, small town romance. Beyond witches and wizards, it can feature gargoyles, shifters, vampires, angels, hunters…virtually any paranormal or supernatural creature or occupation.
Not all PWF will include all these tropes and characters, but the one thing they all feature is older women as main characters.
So, think of the 1998 movie Practical Magic, but not the two younger characters played by Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman–no, recall instead, the two aunts, played so fantastically by Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest.
PWF heroines are at least 40 years old, if not older. And they deal with… well, all the same crap that we deal with. Kids off to college, marriage issues, aging parents, menopause, adult kids, money issues, sagging…everything. Quite often the main character is going through a midlife crisis that puts a volcanic eruption to shame. There is a lot of second chances and a lot of starting-overs.
Plus, there is magic. Heroines in PWF are already aware of their powers or just coming into them. Or they have no special powers, but kick ass in the paranormal world, anyway (e.g. hunters).
Plus, many of the books have romances in them, too, and can be found mostly in the paranormal romance categories (but more on finding these books in a minute).
Anway, the more I dug into PWF, the more I realized that this is the perfect genre for me, for a new series featuring older heroines.
Paranormal Women’s Fiction isn’t an official genre
This is the interesting thing about PWF. You won’t find it listed as a genre in any of the bookstores, or your library catalogue. (Although there are reading lists for PWF on Goodreads — but those are pulled together by readers.)
PWF isn’t an official genre because it was “invented” by 13 authors, who got together, built a website, and defined the new genre for themselves, then went out and wrote hundreds of books that fit their new genre.
As they say on their site:
We are not inventing books with 40+ heroines. We are hoping to define a place for them amongst other genres.
There is a lot more to their definition of PWF, which is worth a read.
Now, a lot more authors are writing Paranormal Women’s fiction, as readers like it and want more.
I thought I’d throw my hat in with them. 🙂
I’ve just starting building the concept for a new PWF series, and plotting the first book. I’ll give you details as I have them.
But in the meantime, if PWF is brand new to you, you might want to check out some of the really popular books in the “category”…except where do you look?
Where to find Paranormal Women’s Fiction.
On Amazon, a huge bunch of PWF can be found in the Literature & Fiction –> Women’s Fiction–> Fantasy. [here].
The next most popular place to find them is Science Fiction & Fantasy–> Fantasy–> Paranormal & Urban. [here]
In all these categories, you will have to sift through to find the PWF featuring older heroines.
For the other bookstores, you can find similar categories to explore.
However, possibly the easiest way to find PWF on any bookstore is to search using the term “paranormal women’s fiction”. This is because the genre was invented by authors, who make sure their books’ sub-titles and descriptions are all marked very clearly with the phrase, so that it comes up in a search.
Or Find and Follow the Favourite Authors
There are dozens of authors writing PWF — either that is all they write, or they have one or two series that are PWF. Or they started off in one genre (say, cozy mysteries) and switched to PWF. So part or all of a PWF author’s catalogue will be PWF.
It is easier to learn about new PWF titles by following the authors who write it. As PWF is not a formal, officially recognize genre by any bookstores or book authorities (such as the BISAC category codes), no one else will provide news of new PWF titles.
There is also a PWF group on Facebook, where authors can provide information about new releases and readers can talk about the genre.