Help Wanted: Must Have Fangs

September 12, 2008 at 1:00 am (Marcia Colette)

Most of the books I’ve been reading, the shapeshifter is either a private investigator, special forces, or a detective.  I have nothing against that because I have some wonderful authors who are on my auto-buy list and their hero/heroine just happens to be a detective or a secret agent.  However, wouldn’t you like to see them doing something else, too?

For me, not every shapeshifter has to come off recking of alpha male or female right out the gate.  That can easily become part of their character development.  They don’t need to know how to fight or disarm a suspect either.  They can have normal jobs, too, and still have a thrilling story.

I wouldn’t mind a werewolf who is a shoe designer, preferrably without the chick-lit undertone.  Nothing against them, but for some reason they’re associated with shoes and I don’t get the connection.  Why can’t we have a vampire hero/heroine who works at a doughnut shop.  No, it’s not a sexy profession, but who cares?  I’d be interested enough to wonder why a vampire is working there.  Maybe it’s the jelly filling–I don’t know.  How about a sewer worker, teacher, or a UPS delivery person? 

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, this is how I do my brainstorming for ideas.  😉  None of my characters work in law enforcement or are part of a secret government agency.  My latest WIP is the only acception to the rule, although the main character isn’t a detective.  Her boyfriend is, which only fuels the conflict.

Anyway, I had read an article a few years ago regarding the top ten jobs that didn’t require a degree and are increasing in salary.  Would you believe that “seman washer” was listed as number eight?  😆  That has erotica written all over it.  I know I couldn’t write a book like that with a straight face.  Reading it, however?  Certainly.

So what books (paranormal) have you come across where the hero/heroine isn’t associated with law enforcement or the government?  I’ll start the list with Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty and the Midnight Hour and Jeri Smith Ready’s Wicked Game.  Yeah, I know.  I’ve been on an urban fantasy kick for a while now.  😉

Marcia Colette



  1. lys said,

    Personally I would love it if Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs was a shifter…. that would be a hoot!

  2. Michele Hauf said,

    I don’t mind when the hero doesn’t have a job. His job is just being himself, a vampire or wolf. I did a vampire that used to be a brain surgeon!
    I would love to do a vamp or werewolf that’s lived a long time and is NOT rich. Maybe he’s even poor. I mean, just because you’re immortal doesn’t mean you’re good with your money. Can you imagine having to struggle for centuries to get by? I wanted to do this in a Nocturne story, but that’s a no-no for that line. Heroes must be alpha and rich. Sigh…

  3. Gretchen said,

    Well, the Changelings (shapeshifters) in Nalini Singh’s books have some diverse jobs. Corporate Business, Construction, Computers, Doctor, Architect, etc.

  4. Rebecca York said,

    I think a lot about–what’s a suitable occupation for a werewolf. In WITCHING MOON, he’s a park ranger. In EDGE OF THE MOON, he’s an investigative reporter. In GHOST MOON, he’s the ghost of a 1930’s truck driver. In “Burning Moon,” in CRAVINGS, he’s a home builder. In CRIMSON MOON, he’s a cat burglar. In ETERNAL MOON, coming out in April, he’s a dog whisperer. I guess that means I agree with you. A werewolf doesn’t have to be a detective–although that WAS my first thought in KILLING MOON. But I moved away from it to do different occupations.

  5. Marcia said,

    😆 Iys, I nearly died when I read your comment. YES, I would love to see Mike Rowe as a shifter.

    I so agree with you, Michele. There aren’t enough rich guys to go around, so I’d like to think there are other ways to compensate even if they have an ordinary job. I can easily see a poor/struggling vampire who made bad business decisions over the centuries and ended up still living from pay check to pay check.

    Gretchen, that’s one of the reasons why I like her series. A construction worker and a hunk? That alone being Alpha enough for me. Especially on those hot and humid days and he’s all dirty and delicious, and… Well. You get where I’m going with that. 😉

    I recall reading your first book, Rebecca, and thinking, “That kind of a job makes soooooo much sense for a werewolf.” I also liked how you’ve varied them throughout your series, too. That’s what keeps it so fresh for me from book to book.

  6. Savanna Kougar said,

    Fascinating. The whole job-occupation thing. I don’t think they have to have jobs. Although enforcement does make sense given their abilities and natures.
    My lioness shifter does round up the bad shifter cats in the galactic community, although, she’s not an official law enforcement type at all.
    My black cat shifter heroine does play spy for her father and her world, but isn’t employed anywhere. She doesn’t have to be. The hero, who isn’t exactly a shifter, but has his own special abilities is an up and coming movie star.

    Dog whisperer is good!!! Too canine good!

  7. Marcia said,

    Very true, Savanna. It sounds like your characters sort of found their own niche, which probably leads to more interesting days than most. I can see you doing a lot with that and having tons of fun with it, too. I know I would. 😉

  8. Cathy said,

    I’m a psychical kind of gal. Construction worker, carpenter, restorationist, mechanic, truck driver, something where the guy is not tied into a 9-5 job but has reasons for those muscles. Other jobs that give flex, researcher, book store owner, designer. Being self employed myself, I am most always working myself out of a hole, but if needed I can shut down for a few hours. Last year I shut down for 4 months to take care of my very sick mother.

  9. Marcia said,

    Cathy, I’m thoroughly jealous. 😉 Whenever I try to be physical like that, I usually mess things up even worse. Of course, you’d think I would’ve learned my lesson by now. Yeah. Right. I like to see how things work.

    And extra kudos to taking care of mom. I would do the the same things for mine.

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