Three Rules of Paranormal Urban Fantasy: A Beginner’s Guide

If you think about it, Grimm’s Fairy Tales were just the paranormal fantasies of their day. They were stories people told around the fire to make sense of their lives and have fun doing it. Nowadays we have the e-reader instead of the fire most of the time, but we still crave stories about romance, demons, deities and magic. Here are three things to remember:

Rule 1: There are no rules, or at least not the ones you think

As a kid, you didn’t question the fact in Hansel and Gretel that an old woman managed to build a full-sized house made of gingerbread and candy by herself in the middle of a recession. When reading Paranormal Urban Fantasy, a certain suspension of disbelief helps. There are complicated laws governing the world of the fantasy you’re reading, but they aren’t the same ones ruling the world you’re sitting in. In my novel The Arrow (Children of Brigid Trilogy, Book 1), humans can become demons and one demon even becomes human again. The main character’s mother and father are four hundred years old but look forty. A corporate conspiracy involves a witch’s coven and a lovesick CEO. There’s a lot going on. It all makes sense.

Rule 2: Magic doesn’t solve all of the problems

Cinderella had a fairy godmother, a custom-made dress, and a magical coach, and she still had problems when the clock struck ten. In The Arrow, main character Fynn Kildare can heal by touch, shoot a target with an arrow a mile away, and figure out Organic Chemistry without even trying. She still has things to do and the world to save. Magic can only take a girl so far. She needs her wits, strength, and an extremely good-looking reformed demon bodyguard to do the rest.

Rule 3: In the battle between good vs. evil, it’s not always easy to know who to trust.

Did you know that in the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales, it was Snow White’s actual mother who wanted her dead? Evil stepmother villain is a trope that emerged in translation, and you can see why. The notion of your actual mother having it out for you is the stuff of horror. In The Arrow, the company that is supposed to be making medicine to treat disease is instead plotting a mass epidemic. I’m not giving away any spoilers here, but let’s just say that female protagonist Fynn Kildare finds threats where she doesn’t expect them and leave it at that.

So if you want to delve into the world of Paranormal Urban Fantasy, remember the joy you felt reading fairy tales when you were a kid. Some of the same rules apply, which is anything can happen. Snuggle in to a cozy e-reader or paperback book and enjoy the magic.


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  1. I love that we are both on the fairy tale tip right now! The post I am working on now is about Russian fairy tales!


  2. Russian fairy tales are so amazing and snowy. I love the illustrations too. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!


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