EtS Welcomes Lisabet Sarai…

The Dark Side

By Lisabet Sarai

What makes paranormal romance so popular? I’ve been pondering this question for a while. Readers, it seems, are happy to consume as many tales about vampires, shape shifters, ghosts and psychics as we authors can produce. You’d think that they’d get bored, but that doesn’t seem to happen. Why not?

I’ve got a theory. We’re all tempted by the dark side.

The realms of paranormal romance are vast, but most books offer characters with dual natures, torn between normal humanity and―otherness. The “other” aspect conveys special powers―unnatural strength, heightened sensation, hidden knowledge―but always at a price. The characters suffer because of their power. Blood-drinkers and half-beasts are ravaged by conscience because they maim or kill. Immortals bear the weight of lonely, isolated centuries and the pain of watching mortal companions wither and die. My prescient hero Kyle in Necessary Madness can see the future but the fury of his visions drives him insane. Jorge in Serpent’s Kiss is the incarnation of an ancient god but each time he makes love to his human mate he comes close to killing her.

In the paranormal genre, power and darkness go hand in hand. Yet somehow, we are attracted to the darkness. We brush the suffering aside; we want to feel the power.  A vampires isn’t sexy when he’s fighting against his blood craving.  Only when he sweeps his victim into his arms and buries his fangs in her flesh does he make us breathless and moist.

How many books have you read where the human hero or heroine willingly submits to “the change”, the transformation that will make them “other” as well? How many characters, in contrast, manage to resist the pull of the dark side?  Not many. Normal mortal life seems absurd, bland and empty after you’ve tasted power. This is especially true because sex on the dark side in erotic romance is always more intense, more extreme, transcending the limits that bind ordinary humans.

Even a villain with supernatural powers tempts us.  A well-written antagonist should invite enough identification that the reader can understand what moves him to do evil. The best bad guys are ambiguous, able to justify their deeds so well that they draw our sympathy. They dazzle us with their logic and their beauty, until we can’t see their wickedness. Lucifer still looks like an angel as he bargains for your soul. Stefan Aries, my villain in Necessary Madness, is handsome and brilliant enough to make Kyle want him, despite his being a murderer.

We’re drawn to the dark side, I think, because it’s an escape. Sometimes the real world leaves us feeling so powerless―we can’t help wanting the ability to take control, to bend the world to our will the way  our paranormal characters do. Who wouldn’t want to leave the dirty dishes and the unpaid bills behind and slip away into the night, to slink through the shadowy streets scenting for blood or to howl, unfettered, at the moon?

The dark side calls to us in paranormal romance. Every time we open a new book, we flirt with the possibility of ecstatic surrender.

BIO: Lisabet Sarai has been writing and publishing erotica and romance since 1999 and has six novels, two short story collections, and two erotica anthologies to her credit. Her stories have appeared in more than two dozen print collections including four straight years of the MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST

NEW EROTICA. Recently she began ePublishing with Total-E-Bound, Eternal Press and Phaze.  Lisabet also reviews erotica for the Erotica Readers and Writers Association and Erotica Revealed and is an editor for the ComingTogether altruistic erotica imprint. Visit her website at and her blog, Beyond Romance, at

9 Responses to “EtS Welcomes Lisabet Sarai…”
  1. I’ve written stories that explore both kinds of characters…those that fight and those that revel…and I have to admit the one “hero” that still haunts my dreams is the vampire who revels in my upcoming UNFORGIVEN.

    He doesn’t seek redemption. He seeks someone who will accept him for who he is…fangs and all;)

    It was darker to write and more fun to write than anything I’ve ever written. Your words resonated with me today! Thank you for visiting EtS.

  2. Katie Hines says:

    I can honestly say that I hadn’t thought of reading the paranormal from this point of view before. I don’t read a lot of paranormal, but occasionally find it interesting.

  3. Dawn McClure says:

    You make a great point! Paranormals are a great escape to get away from our everyday problems. When I first started reading romance, I was into historicals. If it wasn’t a historical, I wasn’t reading it. It had the same escape for me that a paranormal did – those characters didn’t have my same problems, and everything was ‘bigger and better.’

    And how can you beat a paranormal hero? The strength, the aura of darkness that surrounds him…LOL Yeah, paranormals rock. 🙂

  4. Maggie Dove says:

    Super blog today, Lisabet! Really enjoyed it.


  5. Susan Blexrud says:

    Lisabet, I concur with your reasons why readers find paranormal characters so compelling. And as writers, the paranormal offers a great escape for us, too. Lovely post! Thanks so much for visiting EtS!

  6. Ah, Lisabet, you got it right again. It is such a wonderful escape to read a paranormal romance, and escape into a world where anything is possible. Thanks for the blog.

  7. Suzanne Rock says:

    Hi Lisbet – I would have to agree with the others – paranormal romance is such a great escape. The characters are larger than life but the issues they face strike a chord with everyone.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Amanda Vyne says:

    Hello Lisbet

    I’m weighing in on the dark side. Humans for thousands of years have been both drawn and repelled by a darker element of existence. It shows up in myths and legends dating all the way back to ancient Sumer. It makes life three dimensional for us.

    And let’s face it…chicks love the bad guy. So do guys. 😉

  9. Thanks to all for visiting for your comments.

    Maybe we all love the bad guys because we’re secretly tired of being good all our lives. Wouldn’t we all like to try the alternative–especially if there were no consequences.

    Alas in the real world there are always consequences. Paranormal romance allows us to forget that.



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