Author Interview, Blog, Book Reviews

Romance, the Supernatural, and Feminism with Jenna Levine

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Jenna Levine is the author of My Roommate is a Vampire, and let me tell you, this is a vampire romance I didn’t know I needed. Before this book, the only stories I ever read with vampires in it was the Twilight series way back when I was in middle school. Because of that, I was intrigued and nervous to see how My Roommate is a Vampire incorporated the supernatural elements of vampires while also making me fall in love and laugh along with the banter that comes with a contemporary romance.

This book delivered.

I was relating to some of the struggles that the main character, Cassie, faces – especially when it comes to finding affordable housing. At the same time, the personality and predicaments that our vampire male lead, Fredrick J. Fitzwilliam, finds himself in, provides a different level of humor and heart-warming moments that I have not been able to find in a while when it comes to my recent romance reads.

If you are looking for a witty, fun, sexy, and slightly satirical romance read for spooky season, this vampire romance should be next on your to be read shelf.

Below is a discussion I was able to have with Jenna Levine about romance books, the supernatural, and feminism.

How are feminism and paranormal romance connected?

To me, “feminism” means that women should be empowered and encouraged to try and get what they want for whatever reason they might want it. No judgments! And if what someone wants is to fall in love with a sexy, immortal, undead creature of the night—and for said sexy, immortal, undead creature of the night to fall in love with them in return—then getting after exactly that is the feminist ideal. Telling women that they can’t, they shouldn’t, they’re not allowed to—that kind of thinking has no place at all in paranormal romance.

What inspired you to write My Roommate is a Vampire?

I have long been infatuated with irreverent comedy, romance novels that remind us that everyone deserves to find love—and, like many other people, vampires. When I came up with the idea for this novel—in which I attempt to combine all three of these somewhat disparate interests—it was the very beginning of the pandemic. I’d recently read Beth O’Leary’s exceptional The Flatshare, and had started watching the brilliantly off-kilter What We Do in the Shadows (which, if you haven’t seen it, is about a found family of vampires finding themselves lost and confused on a modern Staten Island). From this cocktail of disparate ideas and interests came My Roommate is a Vampire.

What is it about love stories between humans and other-worldly beings like vampires that make paranormal romance so popular?

Somewhere along the way—and I think Anne Rice’s tremendously influential books had a lot to do with this, as did Buffy the Vampire Slayer—popular culture took what had historically been gross, terrifying monsters and made them wealthy, powerful, and incandescently sexy (while still frequently keeping them terrifying). Any one of these characteristics is like catnip for many romance readers. When you have all three of them—plus immortality!—you have the ultimate power fantasy.

What are some of your favorite books about vampires and why did they make this list?

It’s hard to talk about vampires in fiction without paying homage to Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire and subsequent novels. Rice’s vampires and my vampires have little in common, but the influence her works have had not only in popular culture’s perception of fictional vampires and what they can be, but in my own writing as well, cannot be overstated.

Nalini Singh’s Angel’s Blood books are also personal favorites for pure escapism.

Florida born and raised. Jordy began her professional career as an officer in the Coast Guard but has recently transitioned into the civilian world. When she is not obsessing over her fur babies, you can find her at the beach reading or staying up late to embroider while watching the latest true crime docuseries.

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