Friday, July 22, 2011

Why I Love Shapeshifters

Posted by: Nicole North
I grew up on a farm and my whole life I’ve loved animals of almost any type. When I was a kid I pretended I was a cat quite often, for hours at a time. (Yes, I’m nuts about cats, large or small.) I suppose that’s why today I love writing human characters who turn into animals. To be able to shapeshift would be truly magical and amazing. Imagine soaring in the sky as an eagle or other bird and flapping your own feathered wings. Imagine swimming deep in the ocean like a seal or dolphin, no extra equipment required. Animals get to experience things humans never will. Sure, we can almost experience some of those things with the gadgets we’ve invented but it isn’t the same.

Several of my published stories feature shapeshifters, including my latest release, Blade of the Wolf, which features a werewolf or wolf shifter. Wolf shifters seem to appear in romance novels more than other types of animal shifters. I’ve come to the conclusion there has to be an ancient bond between wolves and humans, from many thousands of years ago when at times humans depended on wolves, and wolves depended on humans (for protection, help in hunting, one providing the other with food, companionship, etc). Back when man first started taming wolves and turning them into what would eventually, after eons, become dogs. Man’s (and woman’s) best friend. I can easily see how this relationship would’ve been mutually beneficial during the earliest times. Geneticists and archeologists estimate that some of the first associations between humans and wolves happened about twenty-thousand years ago. Others suggest that this relationship is far older, dating from 135,000 years ago. It appears that both humans and wolves followed herds of deer and other animals and this is probably how they first came into contact.

Wolves possess something that most of us greatly respect and admire. They live in a society structured somewhat like human societies with alphas or leaders and various other members with specific responsibilities and roles. They take care of one another, live in cooperative groups and are highly intelligent.

The natural world aside, when I wrote Blade of the Wolf, I wanted to create a whole new world with a lot of paranormal elements. A world that had existed for my characters since medieval times. I wanted to blend the ancient and the modern and see what kind of interesting concoction resulted.

My characters shapeshift from human to regular wolf at will… plus they can do other unusual things.

Since they have no human souls in their bodies because of a curse, they are immortal. These highly skilled warriors fight an endless battle against evil while protecting certain “special” humans. I could’ve written the warriors without the shifting, but their wolf halves add another dimension to their personalities and their lives that I find fascinating. They live in a pack-like, Scottish Highland clan society. The hero’s wolf side (even while he is in human form) is greatly affected by moon phases. Full moon brings on a more intensified libido and sexual cravings. This works well since the book is an erotic romance. His other wolf traits include super-senses. He can hear, smell and see as well as a wolf.

I enjoyed getting into the hero’s psyche and experiencing what he does when he’s a wolf, or simply his wolfish thoughts when he’s human.

Do you enjoy shapeshifter books? If so, what do you like best about them and why? Are you a fan of wolf shifters or some other type of shifter or “were”?

Ronan, immortal werewolf and Scottish Sgian Dubh Guardian, faces his most challenging, yet enticing, mission in centuries. He must protect sexy clairvoyant medium Syrena Ellis from an evil incubus intent on stealing her powerful life force. She awakens a raging arousal in Ronan, but if he gives in to temptation, he will be punished.

Dark and edgy, Ronan captivates Syrena. He is hot, hard and in control, yet his scorching glances and sinful kisses tell her he yearns for her. Even though she’s only a job, she finds a way past his iron-willed resistance. She’s determined to explore the depths of erotic passion with him. They’re unaware that their explosive sexual encounters are providing the enemy incubus with heightened energy, making him almost impossible to defeat.

Syrena’s forbidden desire and scorching lust for Ronan could destroy them both.


  1. Truly interesting! You've made me think of shapeshifting in ways I never have. I love shapeshifter novels. I wonder now if the reason is because at some deep place I believe it's possible. I don't generally read erotica but I just may have to read "Blade of the Wolf." Thanks for an excellent perspective.

  2. Thanks Winona!! I'm so glad you liked it!!

  3. I love stories with shape-shifters but I never really thought about the fascination with wolves until this post. It all makes sense now! (and by the way - when I was little, I wanted to be a lion when I grew up. So maybe there's a little "shape-shifter" in us all!)


  4. I love wolves, but then I have a soft spot for any species that has been unfairly maligned by humans. The old school horror movie premise of the werewolf as a slavering killer is ultimately rooted in an ignorant prejudice toward wolves.

    So I love it when the werewolf is portrayed in a more positive light.

  5. I've not read too many shapeshifter books but the ones I've read I have really enjoyed. It was a cat, not a wolf, but if you wrote it, I will read it. Wolves seem more exciting than cats to me. My older daughter worked at LaBrea Tar Pits in Los Angeles and one of the things I remember was a huge display of wolf heads from so many years ago. Maybe there were large packs that walked the earth then. Interesting how long they've been around. Lots of interesting facts in your post, Nicole. In the movie 300, Leonidas had to kill a wolf in the beginning to prove his manhood. They've certainly added a lot of intrigue and scary plots over the years.

  6. I agree with you, Maeve, about there being a little shapeshifter in all of us. And I love the idea of us having an ancient bond with wolves.

  7. P.Kirby, I agree! It's sad that a lot of humans have forgotten that ancient bond of friendship and cooperation between us and wolves.

  8. Paisley, thanks! LaBrea Tar Pits are fascinating! The number of dire wolf bones they've found is amazing.

  9. Barbara Hambly uses the tar pits (kind of) in her novel "Bride of the Rat God" (one of my all time favourite books). They sound fascinating.

    But back to shapeshifters--I love them. So many different ways to imagine their world and rules they live by. Great post, Nicole.

  10. That does sound interesting, Jenny! I love creating those paranormal world. Thanks!

  11. I love shape shifters, too! Love paranormal and fantasy books in general. Your latest release sounds like another fun "hot Scot" read, Nicole!

  12. Nicole, I'll be honest and tell you that shifters never held much interest for me in romantic fiction until I began critiquing them. Now, while they're still not my everyday go-to read, I have a new appreciation for them and the fascinating worlds they live in. Blade of the Wolf sounds very sexy and wonderful.

    Congrats on your latest release!

  13. Thanks so much, Barbara! I hope everyone thinks Ronan is hot. LOL

    Carol, I'm glad you started liking them. They are a bit different and we ask the reader to do a major suspension of disbelief. LOL Thanks!

  14. Love shifters. Great concept. This one's going on my TBR list.


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