Guest Post: Understanding the Paranormal Genre by Tamara Lee Dorris (CLP 5)

casey's quest

Photo Credit: CLP


Today, Traveling With T is a  stop on the Casey’s Quest by Tamara Lee Dorris tour  organized by Chick Lit Plus. To see the other tour stops (to read excerpts and other guest posts) visit here.

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Understanding the “Paranormal” Genre

When I first started writing Casey’s Quest, I knew I wanted to include a component that would intrigue readers, but it was important to me that it was based on truths. In other words, I am not a vampire or werewolf kind of writer. My intention with all of my novels, regardless of genre, is to teach (or at least imply) some kind of spiritual truth along with something else. For the Quest series, I chose remote viewing. Remote viewing is a factual skill that in fact has been well-documented in military endeavors from as far back as WWII. Nevertheless, the idea of “seeing” some place in one’s mind seemed to fall under the umbrella of “paranormal.”

The problem I had with this is that when people go to read paranormal books, most of them are expecting some hard-hitting, zombie-walking, vampire-biting activities. In fact, not only did I work with the idea of secret military projects and remote viewing, but I coupled it with Shamanism. Ideally, readers will discover that remote viewing and meditating or visualizing (as done with the Shamanistic practices) share very similar premises. Basically, quieting our minds to the point we can “see” things. I believe my interest in the esoteric/spiritual side of things started with my mom reading books written by seers and psychics when I was growing up. But that’s another story!

For some reason, people seem to attach a negative connotation to words such as paranormal, esoteric, and even, metaphysical. In reality, I like the description “spiritual,” but in researching genres, I found that term still relates largely to books of a religious nature. Now that is not to imply there is anything at all wrong with stories that revolve around religious matters. In fact, there is a huge market for Christian literature. However, if I attempted to put Casey’s Quest, for example, under that heading, I’d be asking for big trouble, fast.

In my opinion, the referencing of genres is grossly ineffective. We currently have so many smash-ups of genres. For instance, my Guru books are humorous, self-help, spirituality…and last time I checked, that wasn’t a genre. So what does my high-priced publicist do? She places it as romance (even though there is not one ounce of romance, in my opinion) and we get 25,000 downloads and great reviews. How in the heck then, do we figure out our genre? I propose we don’t.

A picture paints a thousand words. I find that by and large, I am attracted to book covers. If I see teeth and blood, I know a vampire will be popping up at dark. If I see a knife or a gun, I’m betting it’s a murder mystery. Sexy people hugging? Romance is about to be had. I tend to be drawn to chick lit, and I think we all agree that those covers are plenty self-explanatory (see my “Secrets of a Spiritual Guru” covers for a good example). Also, dramatic covers catch my eye. I still remember when the book “It,” came out, which was a true story based on a life of horrible child abuse, that the cover blew me away. I had to read that book.

Ultimately, genres are just like loose-fitting sweat pants. We grab them at random because they are comfortable. I urge each of us, though, as we go on our book-reading adventures (and who doesn’t like a good kindle sale?), that we consider titles and book cover art to give us a good indication of what sings to our heart or draws in our interest. Until the publishing industry finds a better, more effective way to categorize books—which may be never—we’ll have to trust our eyes and our instincts.

tamara lee dorris

Photo Credit: CLP


Tamara Lee Dorris has been a life-long fan of personal and spiritual development, and has written several books that fall under the category of “self-help.” Casey’s Quest explores various aspects of spiritual development, brain science & the paranormal. Tamara She is also an adjunct professor, radio host, and long time real estate professional.

To connect with Tamara, visit her blog, Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.

To buy Casey’s Quest, visit Amazon.

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