Paula Guran, editor of the anthology Best New Paranormal Romance, has delivered a second anthology under Prime Publisher's new Juno imprint, Best New Romantic Fantasy (Reviews, July 9).
Why did Best New Paranormal Romance become Best New Romantic Fantasy?
The primary reason we decided to change the name of the anthology series was to emphasize that more inclusive term, “fantasy.” We also didn't want to disappoint romance readers who had a very specific idea of what “paranormal romance” meant and, conversely, fantasy readers who consider “romance” something they wouldn't want to read.
What's the biggest challenge?
Since we're new kids on the block, just getting the word out that we're looking for material published during the calendar year and then receiving that material was the first challenge.
Is this a fad or a new genre with some staying power?
I'd say the success of romantic fantasy has surprised a lot of people. When Laurell K. Hamilton first made the New York Times hardcover list's top 10 six years ago, many saw it as a fluke. Is her hitting bestseller lists still a fluke today?
How do you see the field evolving?
More recognition that SF/fantasy can be romantic or focus on relationships and be marketable will, I think, free writers' imaginations even more.
What compels a reader to pick up a romantic fantasy?
Why read any fantasy? Is it the human desire for the numinous and the need to uncover the transcendent beneath the mundane? That might sound pretentious, but that's the power that underlies any fantasy. Fantasy is a way of seeking significance in life, something beyond the ordinary that our rational, logical, scientific culture doesn't offer. The irrationality of magic and the supernatural attracts us. Plus, strong, intelligent female protagonists satisfy and empower.
What would you like to see happen in this field?
As a reader, I'd like to see a higher standard of wordcraft. Sheer story-telling ability is great, but there's often room for improvement as far as literary quality. From a critical standpoint, I'd like to see this type of fiction regarded as its own genre, rather than a subgenre of romance, fantasy or mystery.