A Mississippi author is part of an effort to promote a new genre of books — paranormal women’s fiction.
Michelle M. Pillow, of Oxford, recently received a $500 grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission to distribute review copies in promotion of her Order of Magic paranormal women’s fiction series.
“There is no better way for someone to decide if they like a new series, new author, or new genre than to read the actual book,” she said. “Paranormal women’s fiction as a genre features empowering stories about women over forty. Women at this time in their life have their own set of issues that they face — empty nests, widows, divorce, menopause, health — and these issues deserve to be addressed and embraced in genre fiction.”
Pillow has always loved to tell stories, but started with her camera.
“I liked to capture moments in time to evoke feelings in the viewer,” she said. “That translated naturally into writing. When writing took off, photography took a backseat. Now I try to evoke emotions in the reader.”
When she started writing, her first books were historically set romances.
“I liked the challenge of building a world within specific parameters and creating characters that had to conform to the era in which they lived,” Pillow said. “But the publisher I was working for needed more sci-fi romance for their line, so I wrote the futuristic, other planet-shifter romance series, Dragon Lords, but based their society on various parts of history. That was 18 years ago.”
Pillow said her muse likes to explore and research, so she tends not to stick to one genre.
Her Order of Magic series has received overwhelmingly positive support.
“I wanted to write about women my age having adventures, finding magic and friendships, while entering that next natural chapter in life,” she said. “Clearly readers wanted it too because they cannot get enough of this genre.”
Paranormal women’s fiction is a genre classification that features women over 40.
“I joined a group of 13 female authors. Together we wanted to read and write about women in midlife — women like us,” Pillow said.
“We didn’t invent books with 40+ heroines but sought to define a place for them amongst other genres,” she continued. “There were many great stories already with older women dealing with real life issues, but often in genre fiction these books are lumped in amongst young adult and new adult books and can be difficult to find.”
The books are a positive message for midlife, Pillow said.
“Women friendships matter. Women matter. Our thoughts and feelings matter,” she said. “And the fact that it’s done in cool paranormal settings and adventures makes it all the more fun.”
The 13 authors launched the first paranormal women’s fiction titles in February 2020 on the same day.
“Since then so many wonderfully talented authors have also written PWF books. It’s very exciting,” Pillow said.
Pillow said most of her series tend to be stand-alone titles within an overarching arc and themes.
“Each Order of Magic book can be read as a stand alone, and each focuses on a different heroine within the world, but there are themes that carry over throughout the series,” she said. “Most readers enjoy reading the series in order, but if you read it out of order you shouldn’t be lost in what’s going on.”
The purpose of the distribution project is to get her books in this new genre into the hands of avid readers by supplying free paperbacks to book bloggers, social media posters, as well as independent booksellers and librarians. The grant is provided by the Mississippi Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Sixty-five paperbacks will be distributed in the United States. A sign-up form to request a book on the author’s website at https://michellepillow.com/michelle-m-pillow-project/.
“I am very grateful to the Mississippi Art Commission for this chance to distribute copies of my books, and spread the word about this genre,” she said. “The grant funding for this distribution project covers 65 copies and sign up is going on right now. It’ll remain open until all the print copies are claimed.
“I love working with libraries, booksellers, and reviewers, so even if these copies run out or they’re seeing this months later, I encourage them to contact me,” she said. “I usually have author copies, swag, and am happy to answer any questions. Booksellers and libraries can also order my books through Ingram and other distributors. If you carry my books, let me know and I’ll tell my readers.”