New Adult Paranormal Or: Bringing Back the Gothic Cover

Moonday Mania

a mystery, an innocent girl, a dark deceptive man…

For the last several years all I’ve heard from authors is: NEED MAN CHEST! Gotta have it on my cover or  it doesn’t say romance. But I don’t just write romance, I write dark paranormal romance, new adult paranormal, or… dare I say it… Gothic Romance.

Right now, and for the past few years, that’s exactly what man chest does. For women, book buyers, editors, the sight of a guy on the cover signals romance. So does a couple in a hot embrace. But what about a solitary woman on the cover, what does that say?

A woman on the cover brings me back to my classic Gothic roots. All those romances where a young woman goes out on her own and deals with a dark, dangerous, sexy, alpha male. Hey wait, isn’t that what I write? Isn’t that the basis for New Adult Paranormal?

Yeah, it is.

So do I need man chest? Does it signal to my group of readers that they are getting what they are looking for?

Um, no.


the dark huntsman by jessica aspenBecause there is a new trend taking shape. A new, but old trend. The gothic romance is coming back and it’s signaled not by lots of skin, but by lone women. If it’s a YA paranormal you would see a single item a la Twighlight, but the latest trend in NA is a single woman with lots of angst. In other words, a cover like The Dark Huntsman.

Now, strictly speaking The Dark Huntsman is not a gothic, there is no spooky house. (I’m writing a gothic Christmas novella right now, The Ghosts of Christmas Past and that one has a house.) But it has the other elements of a gothic and curously, New Adult Paranormal.

  1.  a young woman, just finding out who she is
  2. a dark, mysterious man. Sexy and just a little bit powerful or intriguing
  3. a mystery

Add in the house and you have a Gothic Romance, just like days of old. Starting with Daphne Du Maurier’s famous line from Rebecca and moving through the golden age of authors like Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels and Phyllis Whitney we see a slew of books about young women going out on their own for the first time and discovering…DANGER.

And love.

the legend of the seventh virgin by victoria holt

And what did those covers look like?

Hmm, let’s look. Any man chest visible? No.

A lone woman, obviously in trouble, and a dark stormy background.

Romance has come full circle with New Adult Paranormal, we’ve come back to the Gothic Romance and I love it. What an opportunity to write angsty heroines, dark mysterious heros, and of course, classic haunted houses. Now in a New Adult Paranormal, you might find something else takes the place of the house, but you would still have the three key ingredients: a young woman in trouble, a dark sexy man, and a mystery.

What books have you read lately that fit this bill? Do you see the trend in romance to come back to the Gothic? Have you read a New Adult Paranormal Romance? Have you dipped your toe into New Adult? What romance trends do you see? Are you still hungry for man chest?

There is still time to enter my Goodreads Giveaway for The Dark Huntsman. Ten print copies, up for grabs! Only three weeks left, so hurry up and enter today.

And if you are on the winners list for The Dark Huntsman e-book giveaway, and you haven’t checked your spam file, please do so. I sent all the winners an email and I’d love to send you your prize!


Filed under Moonday mania, New Adult, roots of paranormal romance, The Dark Huntsman

4 responses to “New Adult Paranormal Or: Bringing Back the Gothic Cover

  1. My honest opinion is that Man Chest covers are a turnoff for me. We’re told as writers to write strong MC’s. In the case of Romance that’s generally, the woman. She has flaws, but she is not weak.

    In her journey, she discovers love and all the juicy sex (no pun intended…but, kind of fun in a naughty way now that it’s there) that comes with it (repeat parenthetical comment).

    My MC is a strong, but troubled 32 YO, so — no — she doesn’t fit the NA genre. A couple on the cover? Maybe. But, no. My heroine yields her voice and her image to no one.

    [Unless they make me do it in order to get published. But, I’ll put up a fight on that one.]

    • Wish you had control over that one, but typically, you don’t. Unless you self-publish. 🙂 But I don’t see that in your future. And, if I’m not mistaken, your heroine’s story is a lot like Janet Evanovitch’s type of story: strong heroine, romance, but also suspense and myster and humor. Definitely not a man chest book! I’m with you, Gloria, I think every book is different and your book for sure would do well with a woman, a couple, or maybe a smoking gun. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Introducing a New Adult Gothic Contemporary Romance | JessicaAspenWrites

  3. Pingback: Being a Gothic Romance Author | JessicaAspenWrites

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