Guest Blogger Lori Handeland- The Eternal Appeal of the Shapeshifter

April 30, 2009 at 8:44 am (Author Interviews, General)

SSR Blog would like to welcome Lori Handeland, the author of the Nightcreature Novels, and now introducing her new series, the Phoenix Chronicles. Here Lori delves into Urban Fantasy, mixing her talent for shifters with Doomsday on the horizon!  I can’t wait to read Doomsday Can Wait!

Any Given DoomsdayShapeshifter legends have been around as long as the art of storytelling. In fact, many historians believe the first written account of a werewolf can be found in the Book of Daniel, when King Nebuchadnezzar exhibited symptoms of werewolfism for four years.

Tales of lycanthropy also abound in Greek and Roman myth, continue throughout the Middle Ages and into present times. Most Native American cultures tell a version of both good and evil beings who can become something other than human. Sure, most experts believe that superstition and psychosis have led to such stories, but others know differently.

I’ve always been fascinated by shapeshifter legends and have made use of them in both my paranormal romance series, The Nightcreature Novels and my urban fantasy series, The Phoenix Chronicles.

While there are a lot of werewolf legends—and I love them—I’ve also written in the Nightcreature Novels about wereleopards (Midnight Moon), the lougaro—a images-1Haitian shapeshifter that can become anything it desires (Rising Moon) and the Raven Mocker—a Cherokee witch that can become a raven (Thunder Moon).

In my new series, The Phoenix Chronicles, I’ve been having a great time sending all sorts of shifters against my heroine, Liz Phoenix. In the first book, ANY GIVEN DOOMSDAY (Nov. 2008) Liz met Beserkers (Norse bear shifters), Boudas (African hyena shifters), Skinwalkers (Navajo witches that can become just about imagesanything) as well as the more “common” werewolves and vampires and other assorted creepy things.

In the second book, DOOMSDAY CAN WAIT, which just came out on April 28, we have even more fun. Liz is confronted by Luceres (Roman werewolves that have no tails), Barbas/Marbas (lion shifters-a lion that becomes a man, or a man that becomes a lion), Fairies (fallen angels who practice glamour, a type of shapeshifting to make them more attractive), Gargoyles (animals that can turn to stone at will, they become more human and less animal gthe more they protect the weak and Doomsday Can Waitunwary from demon attack.

In the next two books of the series, APOCALYPSE HAPPENS (Nov. 2009) and CHAOS BITES (May, 2010) there will be many more shifters for Liz to either kill or welcome into her own personal Doomsday fighting army known as The Federation.

But I’m curious—Why does the myth of the shapeshifter seem to be eternal? What’s the appeal?

Personally, I believe the idea of having the power to become anything, or anyone, we desire is seductive. Hey, if I could shapeshift, I’d have a body like Angelina Jolie and a face like Jennifer Aniston.

What do you think? Why is the shapeshifter myth so popular? What do you like about it?


  1. bridget3420 said,

    I think the shapeshifter myth is so popular because we all wish we could turn into something else at least once in our lifetime. I think all of the paranormal stuff is great because we all fantasize because it helps us cope. No one wants to die, which is why vampires are so popular. I’ve ran into some bitches and wished I could make all their hair fall out, which I’m sure other people have felt the same way. That’s what makes witches popular.

  2. Lori Handeland said,

    Love the witch thoughts, Bridget!! I concur!!

  3. Nancy Haddock said,

    Lori, I love your work, and just picked up Doomsday Can Wait – woohoo!

    I’d shift for a better bod, more strength, flexibility, youth. Or shift to gain other things like patience or a talent. (I’d love to be able to Riverdance. :))

    When it comes down to the basics, I supposed shifters promise that want to be anything we want to be.

    All continued success!!

    Nancy Haddock

  4. Estella said,

    I think everyone wants to be someone or something else at least once in their lifetime. Reading about shifters makes one believe anything can happen.

  5. Lori Handeland said,

    Thanks so much, Nancy. I like the idea about being able to riverdance. I’ve always wanted to be able to sing, but I can’t.

    Hi, Estella. I always wanted to be a guy just for an instant so I can figure out what in heck they’re thinking. LOL!

  6. Caffey said,

    Hi Lori!! So good to see you here! Hi up there to Nancy and all.

    I remember when I first got into shapeshifter reads and how unique I found them to be. I think with creating that ‘universe’ that the books are set for, as well as so many aspects of it, like especially the characters and what they shift to. I love this variety and finding out how! And of course the romance! I too enjoy Urban Fantasy and finding more there including your series (yeah new book out!). I didn’t even know there were legends and myths related to shape shifting! I do love reading legends and mythology related romances which I discovered in ebooks, and I learn most that way about the legends and myths! And too reading from blogs like this. You opened so much for me! What site would you recommend related to your books to read more about the shape-shifting legend or even shape-shifting legends in general?

    Thanks (PS No I’m not a writer, I just want to read them all, LOL)

  7. Lori Handeland said,

    Hi, Caffey,
    I have a list of books I used for research on my website under resources. I found a ton of info in those that I’m sure you’d be interested in.

  8. MIchele said,

    Wow, Lori, you’ve got every kind of creature in this new series. Sounds like it’s going to be a hit! Thanks for stopping by the blog today. Great to have you here.

  9. Lori Handeland said,

    Hope so, Michele. Thanks!

  10. Caffey said,

    Beautiful! I’m on my way to check it out! Thanks Lori

  11. The Werewolf and Psychiatric Disorders « 13 to Life said,

    […] A recent guest blogger at Shapeshifter Romance, Lori Handeland, mentions the illness that struck down the Biblical king Nebuchadnezzar. […]

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