At its basest, the difference between spooky and scary is simple: spooky evokes a more emotional response while scary a more physical one. Spooky runs a shiver up your spine, perhaps makes you glance over your shoulder, but you continue on, drawn through the mist into the eerie darkness, the need to know overpowering your sense of risk. Scary pounds your heart, propels you into fight or flight, forcing you to scramble through the wet blanket of fog in a near-blind panic until you are safely away from the danger.
Spooky draws people together. The heroine and hero need to stay close, and have each other’s back. They must talk about the peculiar events surrounding them, investigate the threat and find ways to beat it . . . together. Scary splits people up. Blood-pumping and heart-stopping, scary shouts ‘every man for himself’, and warns you to proceed at your own peril. Alone.
What exactly does any of this have to do with love? Everything, if you adore paranormal romance like I do. The chill of the story’s paranormal element joins the thrill of the hero and heroine’s attraction to mirror the scary realization of hearts on the line. Time travel, ghostly whispers, bumps in the night – mere shadows of the adventure falling in love brings.