Shifter Romance Brings Legends and Myths to Life
I believe humans are the storytelling animal. Important information is easier to remember if it has a story behind it, because stories give it context, emotion, and meaning. Of course, just like my dearly departed grandmother, we also have a tendency to rarely let the truth get in the way of a good story. I suspect that's how our legends and myths started. And it's my delight as a paranormal romance author to bring them to life.
For example, the First Peoples of the northern latitudes of the North American continent tell of a mythical predator that is both wolf and orca. According to the legend, beware of one-way wolf tracks that lead to the sea. Individually, these animals preyed on humans, so a cautionary tale combining them would make them doubly scary. As a result, even young and inexperienced hunters would remember to respect them.
I brought this myth to life in Dire Wolf Wanted (Ice Age Shifters Book 4). Hero Arvik's people are legends among not only the First Peoples, but the magical species, too. Shifters, elves, and fairies had very good reasons to fear the rapacious ahklut of old, who were known as the Terror of the North. However, the ahklut of today are at a crossroads, and must choose the path to destruction or the path to life.
By the way, taking real-life events and giving them secret magical causes is equally fun.
Shifters are Legends and Myths, Too
I expect it would be easier to count the civilizations that don't have a shapeshifter myth or two. Long, long ago, when humans were prey as often as they were predators, memorable stories helped our ancestral clans avoid being eaten by lions, tigers, and bears. We envied their stealth, strength, and grace. Then the storyteller's greatest gift—the power of “what if?”—took hold, and shifter legends and myth were born.
Therefore, it's no wonder that paranormal romance authors took them and ran with it. This is because stories have another power: empathy. Humanizing others not like ourselves. Allowing us to see that smaller dogs could become our allies in the shared desire to eat and be safe. Encouraging us to share food with cats so they'd stick around to hunt pests. Consequently, it's not much of a leap to imagine a human who can become a dire wolf or a prehistoric lion.
And from there, paranormal romance authors like me gave them lovelifes. ❤
P.S. A future story in the Ice Age Shifters® series features a shifter hero who is a legend in his own right, and the ancient mortal enemy of the ahklut. No spoilers here, but readers of Dire Wolf Wanted have already met him.