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?
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