Saturday, August 27, 2011

Is it Paranormal Romance of Urban Fantasy? Author Stacey Kennedy's view

Please welcome Stacey Kennedy

Urban Fantasy Romance—Paranormal Romance, which is it??

Gawd, where do I even start? I’m sure many of you have wondered what the difference between these genres is. Let me tell you it is not an easy answer.

Wikipedia defines Urban Fantasy as “A sub-genre of fantasy defined by place; the fantastic narrative has an urban setting. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times and contain supernatural elements. However, the stories can take place in historical, modern, or futuristic periods. The prerequisite is that they must be primarily set in a city.”

Wikipedia defines Paranormal Romance as “A sub-genre of the romance novel. A type of speculative fiction, paranormal romance focuses on romance and includes elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, blending together themes from the genres of traditional fantasy, science fiction, or horror.”

So for the most part this explains the differences between the genres, or does it? The line between these genres has become somewhat blurred and whomever you ask will say something different. Trust me, when I started asking this question, I got lots of different answers.

Some will tell you it has nothing to do with the setting, the romance, or any other element, and is defined by the characters in the book. If the series uses the same hero/heroine throughout then it’s Urban Fantasy Romance. If the series has a new hero/heroine in each book then it’s Paranormal Romance.
But wait…
Keri Arthur (love her by the way) says this on her website about the two genres, “Paranormal romance is a romance first and foremost. In urban fantasy the romance is generally a secondary plot (if it exists at all)”

Geesh! No wonder it’s so confusing! So, where do I stand on the matter?

Personally, I think it’s all of the above.

Urban Fantasy Romance is a novel that is set in an urban setting and has supernatural elements. There will be a romance but the romance is not the only focus in the story—a side plot, yes, but the story isn’t moved along by the romantic element only. Each book will contain the same hero and heroine throughout the series.

Paranormal Romance is a romance that has supernatural elements. The characters are driven by the romance, and even though there might be an adventure, the main plot is about the hero and heroine’s love story. Each book that is contained in the series will have a different hero and heroine.

I’ve written both, Urban Fantasy Romance (The Magical Sword series), and Paranormal Romance (The Watchers series)—both are fun to write, but it’s the balance of how much romance you put into the story, what the goals of the characters are, what their conflict is, and what is the main plot of the story that defines where it belongs.

I hope I’ve given you some insight into these genres as I know it can be uber confusing! And if you are still scratching your head, then just decide for yourself and carry on! Really, as long as it’s a good story, it won’t matter which genre it falls into! 

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Stacey Kennedy’s urban fantasy/paranormal and erotic romance series have hit Amazon Kindle and All Romance Ebooks Bestseller lists. If she isn’t plugging away at her next novel, tending to her two little ones, she’s got her nose deep in a good book. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband. Be sure to drop her a line at, she loves to hear from her readers.


  1. What if there's a robot involved? Can it still be urban fantasy? It would seem to be sci fi, but what about if the other character's a werewolf?

  2. Hi Bratty!

    If there are werewolves then I'd say it's a urban fantasy. You could always call it urban fantasy with sci-fi elements. :)


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