Last week at the RT Book Lovers Convention in New Orleans, paranormal romance fans were treated to panels, socials and nighttime parties featuring creatures that go bump in the night. And one of the favorite monsters of the moment? Why, shapeshifters, of course! To create a memorable shifter, authors must convincingly combine human habits with the character's 'animal' side, which takes a lot of research and attention to detail. Yet despite the time that goes into crafting these hybrid characters, authors rarely stick to writing about just one animal. We went to the masters of shapeshifting, Thea Harrison, Terry Spear, Sara Humphreys and Nalini Singh — with bonus Jeaniene Frost cameo! — for the scoop.
Favorite Shifter Creature: "I love writing about big cats. They come quite naturally to me. It must be the cat in me! I love wolves as well, but I have to think a little more about how they behave."
Least Likely Creature Character: "I have a joke with my readers about creating an octopus changeling. But I really can't see going that far. The tentacles...sliminess...How would you make that sexy?"
Favorite Shifter Creature: "I love wolves because they are so family oriented. Wolves mate for life and the males take care of the cubs. Jaguars are harder to write about because the males often have several females. It's where we get the term 'cat around.'"
Least Likely Creature Character: "I've had a few run ins with snakes — they somehow keep getting into my house. And I can say with certainty that there is no way I could write about a snake shifter."
Favorite Shifter Creature: "Dragons! Because...well, dragons...I mean, come on!"
Least Likely Creature Character: "Bats! Because, well bats! I know that they are smart, so that isn't an issue. But they scare me. They just feel unpredictable, like you can be bitten at any time."
Favorite Shifter Creature: "Wolves have such a deep affection for each other. They are all about family. I empathize with that."
Least Likely Creature Character: "Snakes. They are gross and creepy and slimy. A snake shifter would have to be a villain, so would a spider ... or any insect. All of these things really creep me out."
(All right, so Jeaniene is best known for writing ultra sexy vampires, but we just had to know that if she were to write a shifter, which would she choose.)
Favorite Shifter Creature: Werewolves! Because, she tells us, she's "old school."
Least Likely Creature Character: "Porcupines, because who in the hell would want to read about that?"
Which are your favorite shifter creatures? Let us know in the comments below. To catch up on all the convention action, click here!