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!
Shapeshifter 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 Haitian 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 anything) 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 unwary 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?