Today, we're continuing our discovery tour of the Shades of Pink authors with Susan Harris, who contributed a shifter story to the anthology and tells us about her interest for the genre.
I have had a deep fascination with shifters for a long time, ever since I read my first shifter book, Rachel Vincent’s Stray. I was amazed by the description Rachel used to make her characters come to life and always wanted to write one myself. In Stray, Rachel’s characters turned into jaguar type cats. The shifters displayed cat-like tendencies while in human form but also held onto their human selves for the most part when they were in cat form. This intrigued me.
Over the years I have read many a shifter book, whether it be werewolves, cats or birds. I also love psychology and wondered how the mind of a shifter would differ from a normal human. Are they more animal than human? Can they rein in their animal and control that side of their self? Or are animal and human one and the same? How a human could growl and snarl whilst a hawk could think and have human emotion… it allows you to stretch your imagination and see the creatures as one unique entity.
When I came up with the story for Flying Free, I wanted to focus on animals that may or may not have been written about before. Hawks are a bird that I have always wanted to learn more about and Flying Free became the perfect excuse. Predatory and family orientated, exactly how Abbie and Alexei are. It also made sense to me that as shifters, there may be some resistance to inter-species relationships. It made it seem like our own issues could leak into the supernatural world.
Fun fact on how the characters came about. I actually got the name for Abbie while watching an episode of Blue Bloods and seeing the name Abigail Hawke cross the screen. I saw the surname Katz also on a tv show while I was plotting Flying Free and the story just came to be from there. And the rest they say is history. Having written up Flying Free only made me more eager to delve deeper into the world and mannerisms of shifters and see how much farther I could go with it.