Hi everyone! Deborah Cooke here again. Please welcome today’s guest, Cathy Clamp. Cathy is one half of the successful author team of C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp. In addition to her post today, Cathy is sharing some beautiful new covers with us. The first four Sazi books written by this talented pair are being re-released with new covers AND they have a new pseudonym for a new stand-alone book. Here’s the cover for that February 2009 release!
And, here’s CATHY!
Incorporating animalistic traits into your characters
There are tons of shapeshifter romances out there nowadays, but the ones I like the best are those that are like the ones we write (which is probably why we write them that way. Heh… ) The traits that make a shapeshifter most appealing are those of the animal. Animals are both complex and simplistic. When they’re hungry, they eat. When they’re tired, they sleep. When the urge strikes them, they have sex. No worries about the mortgage, or whether the car needs repairs or if there will be enough money in the bank account for your kid’s next college payment.
Simple. Eat, sleep, love.
But animals have other traits too, and there are lots of quizzes that show up on the web or at places like Quizzilla about “what kind of animal would you be?” Because there are traits that are very distinct to certain species, and people who raise show dogs know that certain breeds act certain ways. Lap dogs are often more territorial than bigger dogs. Greyhounds MUST run or they’re depressed. Bulldogs are stubborn and can be a challenge to train.
And what about the other species? House cats are aloof and will destroy things when annoyed, as will their wild cousins. Bears are often grouchy and easily angered. Snakes lash out at anything that looks like a threat (or food.) In our “Tales of the Sazi” shapeshifter series, we went one step further to let the characters knowingly deal with their animal traits. The hero in one book, CAPTIVE MOON, is a cougar/lion cross in his animal form. Antoine has a bad habit of breaking furniture when he’s angry—which is often. He comes prepared to meetings with lots of cash to replace items he knows he’s going to break. But he tries not to. He does recognize it’s wrong, but it’s tough to have the human mind win when put to the test. His cat nature makes him lash out.
And let’s face it, the animal is what a shapeshifter is all about in romance. It’s what makes them attractive and sexy. It’s the loss of control that makes love edgy and dangerous.
The Sazi have a council that has one member to represent all the shifting groups—wolves, cats, snakes, raptors and bears. (Except that there are two cats on the council, but that’s a long story if you haven’t read the series. Oh, and spiders now too. Yet another long story.) They’re all territorial, and they often squabble. The snake representative, Ahmad (a werecobra) takes his frustrations out on the staff of wherever the meeting is being held. He’s snide and sarcastic. He kills innocents without reason or regret, to the frustration of the other council members. He’s hateful and nasty and there’s always a question which side he’s on. And oddly, he’s the single most requested character to have his own love story (and he’s going to be . . . in this next book!)
Now, there are plenty of snide, nasty-tempered, sarcastic humans out there. But few women find them sexy. Most often, they’re described as “jerks.” Why then is the animal counterpart different? Is it that we excuse in a shapeshifter that which he/she can’t control? Often, in books, we pair that person with someone to temper those instincts, to hold them in check and make them somehow closer to humanity. But would that really happen in the animal world?
Let’s hear your thoughts.
Psssssst – visit Cathy and Cie’s website HERE!