I asked Kim what I should talk about in my guest post and she said “I started thinking about the popularity of paranormal elements in teen fiction, and wonder why we are so fascinated with weres, fairies, vampires, etc. I know for myself, nothing reels me in more than a paranormal themed novel with characters trying to find their own identity, in angsty situations or that have romantic dilemmas!”
So I started thinking: why do I write paranormal. Why do I read paranormal? I was getting ready to write a guest blog about our desire to read about things that are completely unlike our life and maybe some mumbling about universal archetypes and escapism and other things that sounded very logical to me. But I wasn’t entirely happy about the idea. I mean, it sounded good, sure. But it still didn’t explain why we weren’t all reading mysteries and thrillers and Grimms fairy tales. It didn’t explain the massive love of all things paranormal, especially urban and contemporary fantasies -- fantasies set in the real world.
And then, as I was riding in the backseat of my husband’s car, heading off with the kids and father-in-law to go school clothes shopping, and the Beach Boy’s “Good Vibrations” came on. At that moment -- and this is giving you a brief insight into the tortuous workings of the Maggie mind -- I realized that my answer to the question was this: wonder.
Because the fantasies I always loved as a kid were not the wildly improbable ones, but rather the ones that were just a tiny bit fantastical. They could almost happen. I wasn’t reading those because they were an escape from my own life. I wasn’t reading them because they were completely different from my life. I was reading them because of the sense of wonder, of possible magic. Of something bigger than me that just might be there if, like the protagonist, I had zigged around the corner instead of zagged.
One of the great things about childhood, once you get rid of the zits and the embarrassing moments and the scraped knees and the finding out that you too will get your period dammit, is finding out that the world is bigger than you know. As a kid, it happened everyday. It was easy to find a place that you hadn’t explored. An animal you didn’t know. A brilliant piece of science. A new superstition you hadn’t come across before.
But as we get older, we get too wise and too knowledgeable, and there is no more magic. No more wonder. So we climb into books that hint that there is more to life, even now that we know everything. A lot of paranormal books even suggest that it’s because we know everything that this magic is invisible to us.
So paranormals give us that chance to be kids again. No, not kids. No zits. But we get the best part of being kids again: the wonder. And even if there’s terror and horror, well, that’s part of being a kid again too. It’s the monster in the closet again, the fear of losing everything you know in a massive tornado, the threat of killer bees wiping out your town. And that makes the wonder that much sweeter.
There it is. That’s my answer. Thanks, Beach Boys.
Thank you for stopping by Maggie!
Maggie's much anticipated novel Shiver is finally available in stores! Shiver is about a girl named Grace who falls in love with Sam, a boy who must become a wolf each winter, they must decide how much they're willing to risk in order to be together. You can purchase Shiver HERE. Also, be sure visit Maggie's website to listen to her Q&A about the book, view the trailer, listen to the first two chapters or read an excerpt!
About Maggie Stiefvater-
All of Maggie Stiefvater's life decisions have been based around her inability to be gainfully employed. Talking to yourself, staring into space, and coming to work in your pajamas are frowned upon when you're a waitress, calligraphy instructor, or technical editor (all of which she's tried), but are highly prized traits in novelists and artists. She's made her living as one or the other since she was 22. She now lives an eccentric life in the middle of nowhere, Virginia with her charmingly straight-laced husband, two kids, two neurotic dogs, and a 1973 Camaro named Loki.