Climbing Into Your Character’s Skin
‘Stay in your skin’ is a phrase my shifters use in my Feral Warriors series. It means keep your claws and fangs from erupting. Stay in control. But that phrase has a slightly different meaning for me, as the writer. To me, it means keeping my characters real and true to who they are. In my case, I’m not staying in my skin so much as staying in theirs.
So who are the Feral Warriors? They’re the last nine shape-shifters left in the world, each of whom shifts into a different animal—lion, hawk, wolf, jaguar, viper, etc. All are warriors, all are alpha males—big, strong, and dangerous. But each is also an individual with a distinct personality, a unique history—experiences that have formed him, wounds that have molded him. And each has something deep inside that keeps him from true happiness, a hatred that festers or a wound that refuses to heal. Each will be happiest when he finds the love of his life, but until he works past the internal roadblock that’s been screwing up his life (even if he doesn’t recognize anything is wrong), he’ll never be happy. Not even with the woman of his dreams. Which is why it’s so important for me to crawl into the skins of these males and to truly understand them—what makes them tick, what makes them ache or rage in fury. Once I understand them, I’m able to find the circumstances that will force them to face that inner roadblock, that wound that’s been festering inside for decades. Or centuries. Or even millennia.
And it’s in thoroughly understanding each male, inside out, that I’m able to find and recognize the woman capable of forcing him to change, the woman who, alone, can heal him. And complete him. Just as no two heroes are alike, neither are the women who will fight for their souls and, ultimately, win their hearts.
Lyon, the Chief of the Ferals, doesn’t have time for love and doesn’t want the weakness it brings. But he’s closed off emotionally and badly needs that love. And it comes in the form of sweet Kara who brings out all his protective instincts, making him feel again.
Jag, the bad boy with the foul mouth and the fouler attitude, delights in enraging his fellow Ferals, driven by a deep self-hatred even he doesn’t recognize. But Olivia, the latest target of his questionable charm, sees the truth. A warrior with a secret of her own, she’s tough enough to kick his butt and, ultimately, to help him heal.
Hawke, the hero of my latest Feral Warriors novel, Ecstasy Untamed, book 6 in the series, is the kindest of the Ferals, a warrior who loves kids and is protective of all his Feral brothers’ wives. So he’s devastated when his imprisonment in a Daemon spirit trap leaves him with a loss of control that makes him a danger to everyone around him. His situation goes from bad to worse when the newest Feral Warrior arrives with a woman on his arm—a darling female with a smile like the sun. Faith. Hawke’s far too honorable a man to ever make a move on a brother’s woman even if his heart knows she’s the one he’s been waiting for, the only one who can truly heal him and make his life complete.
So, who is your favorite romance novel couple? I’ll give away three signed copies of Desire Untamed, book 1 in the Feral Warriors series, to commenters. Winners will be announced in this post so be sure to check back! Good luck!