Thursday, May 8, 2014

Throwback Thursday: On shifters with Rachel Caine and PJ Schnyder

by Jessie Potts)

Shifters are hot, they're powerful, strong and mate for life. (What's not to love?) Here, I talked with Rachel Vincent (With All My Soul) and PJ Schnyder (Survive to Dawn) about what they love about reading and writing steamy shifter romances. Oh, and they're favorite Throwback Thursday shifter character and book! I put in my own 2 cents, too.

Q: What's your favorite shifter character and why?

Rachel: My favorite Shifter character would have to be one of Pamela Palmer's feral warriors. Probably Lyon, in part because he kicked off the series, and in part because I'm a sucker for a powerful man brought to his knees by love.

PJ: My favorite shifter heroine is Andrea Nash of Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews.

She's stubborn, independent, has an incredibly difficult history and there's a scene in Gunmetal Magic about how rapidly her bones heal under stress. It brought me to tears. Andrea is strong yet vulnerable, and I go back to re-read her story over and over again.

Me: OH, man … ummmm … fav heroine is Cella Malone from Bear Meets Girl (by Shelly Laurenston, because she had me laughing at the antics she played on poor, poor Crushek. I also constantly giggled when I listened to the audio book (which really brought her personality to life). Fav shifter hero … way too many to list, but I've always loved Garreth MacRieve. This dark prince is not only dominant and aggressive but so sweet and understanding. I loved watching him try to "catch" Lucia and then help her on her mission. Love alpha shifter heroes!

Q: What's your favorite shifter novel?

Rachel: Desire Untamed by Pamela Palmer. It's the first of her Feral Warriors series, and I loved watching Lyon and the others battle their inner beasts (and sometimes each other), yet ultimately it was love that tamed the beast. I love a good beauty-tames-the-beast story, and Pamela writes some of the best of those!

PJ: Mine to Possess by Nalini Singh. Clay and Tally's story reaches back into childhood and Tally especially is so broken. Yet they find a way to mend themselves and each other. It's the kind of romance I look for, the kind of characters I love, and the Psy-Changeling series as a whole features the exact kind of shifters I'm always to hungry to read. ;)

Me: I have to say it's a tossup between Mary Calmes' Change of Heart and Nalini Singh's Slave to Sensation. I love CoH because it has everything that makes me happy. A hot alpha (Logan) who loves his mate more than life, a superpowerful and yet strong mate, Jin, (who is also hot and perfect) and the Happy Ever After that I crave. I love Slave to Sensation because it's one of the first "real" romance books I read that focuses on the steam rather than just the fantasy element. I have three copies in my library and oftentimes re-read it just to duplicate the amazing feeling I got the first time I clutched Lucas and Sasha's story in my hands.

Q: What is your favorite part about writing a shifter novel?

Rachel: I love pitting a character's humanity against his/her animalistic nature. And I love imagining how a person who's truly part beast would be forced to interact with a world (and maybe a love interest) that doesn't understand that. The Shifters books were my first experience in publishing, and I still get requests to continue the series, so it's been a real thrill to delve back into a (very different) world where shifters of all kinds exist, in my upcoming release, Menagerie.

PJ: There's something about incorporating primal characteristics into a hero or a heroine, bringing out their instincts and their gut reactions in the context of an animal aspect. There's a bit of personal fantasy in there as well, because I always chose werewolf when asked whether I'd prefer to be a werewolf versus a vampire. Warm and furry versus undead. I prefer warm, if furry. (Note: I do not identify, however, as a furry. Different fandom and very interesting, but not for me.)

Exploring different types of animals is the other part of why I love writing shifter novels. My undergrad degree is in biology, and I have always been interested in the study of the animal kingdom. Having the chance to further research my favorite animals and incorporate them into my books is the best.

Me: While I don't write shifter novels I adore reading about them, I would say even more than vampire novels (shhh, don't tell Lothaire, Dimitri and Bones). There is this "otherness," this primal need, that is allowed and expected from shifter men that modern women would not be OK with in a mere mortal. I love seeing the wolf below the surface, the tiger in his eyes or watching them move with a cat's grace. I'd totally suspend my disbelief for a night with my own alpha wolf.

Find out more about Rachel at and PJ at

Jessie Potts, also known as Book Taster, adores books in all forms. She also does reviews for Bitten by Books and RT Book Reviews and is an intern at Entangled Publishing. You can follow her on Twitter (@BookTaster).