As usual, I have been thinking about paranormal fiction, paranormal romance in particular. One thing that hit me this morning as I looked at the bright sunshine streaming through the windows with the promise of warmth (even though it was chilly outside) is that secret identities aren’t just for superheroes anymore. There are a lot of character types in paranormal fiction that hide parts of themselves out of necessity.
Think about it for a moment. Vampires from the time of Bram Stoker’s Dracula have been coming up with all kinds of excuses for why they’re never seen during the day. Of course, there are a lot of vampires who hide their need for blood even if daylight won’t kill them, just for the simple fact that vampires scare the heebie-jeebies out of most people. It is so difficult to eat when your dinner runs away screaming.
Other creatures also hide their true nature until the time is right to reveal who or what they really are. Were-creatures usually live among humans, or at least move among them, but they try to avoid letting most people know the full moon turns them into wolves, bears, cats, etc. Shapeshifters are essentially the same, except they can usually transform into their animal form without the aid of a full moon.
Then there are ghosts, who generally don’t reveal themselves unless it suits their goal; demons who keep their true nature hidden from as many as possible because, like vampires, they scare the heebie-jeebies out of most people; angels who keep their identities hidden for all kinds of reasons; and countless other paranormal characters who all have secret identities in order to protect themselves.
While superheroes are famous for their secret identities (one only needs to mention Clark Kent to make everyone think of Superman), they aren’t the only ones leading double lives. Of course villains, whether human or a paranormal creature, also tend to have secret identities, but they are a post for another day.
Question for you: What are some of your favorite (or least favorite) ways that authors have protected the true identities of their paranormal characters?