Apparently, a movie called The Forbidden Zone came out in 1980, but when I think of the Forbidden Zone I always think of the original Planet of the Apes movie. There, the Forbidden Zone is a place where remnants of New York City remain in ruins, providing proof that once humans could speak and had an advanced civilization. Apes are forbidden from going there because their government doesn’t want them to have this information.
The forbidden has a special appeal to many of us. Forbidden lore, forbidden lovers, forbidden places, all have a naughty attraction. Most of my novels feature some element of the forbidden, and the theme of the forbidden lover is one of my all-time favorites.
I think I like the feeling of crossing boundaries and the idea that by loving someone our culture or family forbids to us, we expand our inner selves and potentially become better people. Forbidden areas always raise the question of why that thing or person is forbidden. What is it about them that’s so threatening and whom do they threaten?
The thing threatened is usually some sort of Established Order. It could be conventional religion, or an economic/class system, or the sort of national identity that depends on vilifying some other group. In modern Europe, for example, Gypsies are currently being vilified and are seen as more likely than non-Gypsies to commit certain kinds of crimes. Or just crime in general. Sound familiar?
The forbidden could simply threaten a family identity.
In my family, we have a European background that includes a tradition on my dad’s side of making homemade wine and certainly of serving wine at all special occasions. A friend of mine who grew up in the Bible belt is a complete teetotaller, even though she no longer lives with her parents. She won’t even cook with wine. This could cause trouble at dinner parties, if we weren’t willing to compromise.
A deeper level of forbidden-ness lies in the use of magic. Many of us grew up in homes where working magic was unthinkable. It was either seen as the work of the devil or else as the silly delusions of ignorant and desperate people. In some circles, even reading (or writing) stories about magic is looked upon with derision. Romance fiction, too, is often derided, even though it’s one of the most popular genres of fiction today.
Which puts paranormal romance right in the middle of the Forbidden Zone.
Tori Minard has published nine paranormal romance novels in several series, including the Amaki (ongoing), Legends Of A Dark Empire (finished), and Avery’s Crossing (ongoing).