|Ryan Hagerty US FWS, released into Public Domain|
I was raised in Montana, by a family that spent a great deal of time camping in Montana. We had an old Army issue canvas tent with a center pole; the whole family of six plus our dog(we always had a dog) slept in the tent. Sometimes the nights were well into the forties, up in the mountains, so we would sleep in our clothes and sweatshirts and zip sleeping bags together for warmth.
We usually camped by rivers so we could fish for trout, and my parents loved to find the most remote campsites with no other people around. They were never too worried about bears because four noisy kids would scare anything away! The rivers up in the mountains were like liquid ice, too cold and usually too swift to swim in, instead we waded, played on sandy shores, hiked. Sometimes we would find wild strawberries or squaw berries, which was fun. We would read, play cards and Frisbee. I had a Penny Bright doll with an extensive wardrobe in a little carry case, I would pack her around.
Being in such remote places so far from city lights, the nights would get so dark I literally couldn't see my hand in front of my face. I would blink and try to open my eyes wider, but it didn't help. Dark like that is spooky. You feel vulnerable. In places like that it is easy to believe something is out there...and not just wild animals. Ghosts! My parents also dragged us around to many Montana ghost towns, and some weren't the touristy ones with souvenir shops! Not to mention the classic fireside scary stories ("Give me my golden hand!"). Small sounds were scarier--branches rustling in a breeze, pine cones dropping. Maybe it was a bear--or a monster!
I was glad my mom slept on the outside by the tent wall (she did that because canvas tents will shed water unless you touch them and draw the water to the inside). Like my tiny, skinny, little mom could protect me from monsters or ghosts. But I knew she could.
So creepy and fun went hand in hand. Monster comic books, Frankenstein movies, Dark Shadows. I loved them all! I still like the thrill of a ghost story, or a death by werewolves plot. Nowadays, in paranormal romance, the scary beings are often our Hero and Heroine.
And that is good, too. While I personally wouldn't want to be a werewolf, I sure like reading about their adventures and journeys to true love. Their conflicts are dangerous and exciting, not dental bills and messy closets, and they have power to vanquish their enemies.
I'm so glad paranormal romance is such a huge, diverse genre. Creepy, fun and romantic!