Guest Post: Ann Gimpel

Happy Saturday, everyone! I’m pleased to welcome my good friend, Ann Gimpel, to LLL today. Ann writes uber-exciting paranormal romances and I’m so happy she could drop by to chat with us today. So without, further ado, here is Ann and her sexy shifters!

Shifters have loomed large in my writing here of late…

I’ve given some thought to why shifters have become so popular in romances. They’re fun to write about because of their paranormal ability. The allure runs far deeper than that, though. They appeal to something arcane within us that dreams of being strong and powerful on the one hand, but compassionate, caring, and sexy, too.

Heroes in romance literature have always been hunks. You know, tall and well-built, with incredible eyes and arresting facial structure. The sort of man a woman stops and looks twice at. Allow me a short digression. Many years ago, part of my job for Shasta County in north central California was orienting new MDs in the family medicine residency program to county mental health services. I waltzed into the waiting room late one afternoon. The MD du jour had his back to me. He was reading some of the client propaganda posted on the walls. Well, when Dr. X turned around, I literally lost my ability to speak. That had never happened to me before, and it hasn’t happened since. He was such a beautiful man, all I could do was stare at him. If I’d been single, the temptation to drag him into my office and get up close and personal would have been overwhelming. As it was, simply remembering to offer my hand to shake was almost beyond me.

When romance heroes are well-written, they have exactly that impact on readers. It’s amazingly powerful. If you take that ability to drop a woman in her tracks and add animal attributes to the mix, it’s an irresistible combination. Weres in fiction have expanded from wolves and now include bears, coyotes, mountain lions, leopards, birds, and even fish. Since each animal has its own magnetism, the proliferation of were species has added richness to the writing spectrum.

When you get right down to it, who wouldn’t want to have an inner wolf at their beck and call? Or an inner mountain lion. I spent years training German shepherds in schutzhund work. It’s obedience, tracking, and protection and it takes thousands of hours to bring a dog through their schutzhund III certification. Most dogs can’t go that far. What I got from that experience was a profound respect for working dogs and an understanding of how they think and what they’re going to do next from reading their body language. I like to think it’s helped me as I’ve incorporated shifters into my writing. Of course, just because I understand dogs doesn’t necessarily mean mountain lions think the same way—or bears. I’d love to get advanced training in animal behavior from a University, but I live in the sticks so it’s not practical. Maybe someday I’ll find an online course. A girl can dream!

The shifter mystique extends to female characters, too. I love reading about female protags that have super-human talents, skills, and abilities. Singh’s Psy-Changeling series comes to mind. Reading is escape. We identify with the characters, live their stories with them. It’s good for the imagination to identify with characters that are larger than life. I think it expands our world view and encourages us to try new things.

How about you? Do you enjoy reading about characters that can shift? Which animals are your favorites?

outoftheshadows

Out of the Shadows by Ann Gimpel – Available March 4, 2013 at LSBooks.com

Relegated to a shadowy existence of half-truths, Gwendolyn lives in fear her wolf side will be discovered. She leaves the Old Country with Hunters nipping at her heels, but things in the Americas aren’t any better. Eighteenth-century society is just not kindly disposed to either shifters or witches. Mikhail, the love of her life—except the relationship always felt pretty one-sided—has been missing for a hundred years. When he shows up after escaping imprisonment from an Abbey in Austria, Gwendolyn is ecstatic to see him. But she’s afraid nothing’s really changed. Victimized by superstition and running for her life, she’s sure she’ll never be able to emerge from the shadows.

Find out more about Ann and her books at http://www.lsbooks.com/ann-gimpel-c337.php

16 thoughts on “Guest Post: Ann Gimpel

  1. I enjoy reading and writing about beings who shift, although I have a particular fondness for beings that aren’t animal shifters and are instead a different type of supernatural. My favorite animals range from the less commonly mentioned (snake and coyote) to the more commonly mentioned (tiger, leopard). However, I do like wolves too. 🙂 And in any book, the characters are what is most important to me rather than the animal they happen to shift into.

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    • @ Ezra. My, our paths just keep on crossing! The issue I’ve noticed in shifter books is the protags are basically human, but with a few animal traits. In other words, either we never see them shifted, or their shifting isn’t elemental to the storyline. If I have shifters in my books, I try to show them in their animal form at least part of the time doing something to move the plot forward. In other words, they need to be shifters, or I don’t have a story. It’s sort of like writing scifi, another love of mine. If you take the science away, there’s no story. Hope that made sense. I’m still working on my first cup of coffee.

      @Parker. One of the really cool things about shifter males is they get to be super-human. Ya know, gorgeous, brilliant, strong, and steeped in whatever animal nature they happen to own.

      @Vanessa Thanks for having me here! Love it that you guys did this combined site. We have lots of bears where I live. They’re fun to watch, especially the cubs rolicking under Mamma’s watchful eye.

      @Robin. Thanks for inviting me. I’m glad to be here. Touch of Sin in on my list, too. I’m just waiting for it to come out. Soon now.

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      • @Ann, it has a shifter too! But it is only a small part since he’s a god who just happens to be a shifter as well, so the god angle is played up more. Now you’ve made me nervous. Maybe Sin will be too human! LOL

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    • ROFL. Yeah, I wondered the same thng at the time. You like blonds, Rosanna. The MD was dark-haired, with that wonderful bronze skin people from the Greek Isles have.

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    • Thanks, lisatjung. It’s an interesting story. I had a lot of fun writing it, but then I’ve always been a sucker for historicals.

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  2. Hey, Ann — thanks for being here. I love wolf shifters since they tend to mate for life, but like V, I also have a fondness for bear shifters (esp Shelley Laurenston’s since she writes with a sense of humor and her bears are grumpily cute at times).

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  3. Hi Monette,
    Yup, the mating for life part is really good, especially in a world where the divorce rate exceeds 50%. I love bear shifters. I have them in Out of the Shadows and also in Alice’s Alpha, a WIP. Hmmm…grumpily cute, I’ll have to remember that phrase. I like it!

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  4. Hello there! This post could not be written any better!

    Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate!
    He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this article to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for
    sharing!

    Like

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