I brought an old friend to my new site, Author Joanna White is busy launching her new book “Shifter”, but was so kind to find the time to answer a few questions as well:
1: did the plot for “Shifter” come to you in one complete flash or was it built step by step? Well, I had the basic concept of it created fairly quickly if I remember right – I wrote Shifter quite a few years ago, haha. I knew I wanted to have a world of shapeshifters at the brink of war, so instead of doing some cliché idea like a war quarrel between shapeshifting clans like people have done between vampires and werewolves which is overused, I thought, what if one clan wants to destroy humankind and the others disagree? Then I knew I wanted the main protagonist, Beroan, to be kind of a hero trying to stop it, especially after writing past male protagonists who were anti-heroes like Jared in Hunter, Book One of the Valiant Series and or Aidan from Assassin, a prequel to the Valiant Series (which I wrote before Shifter). So with that in mind, I knew I had to have Beroan try to rally the other clans to his cause, so it was about the journey they made and the battles along the way.
2: who are your favorite characters and why? I’ve heard from people that in Shifter, Beroan is their favorite, which I totally understand, but I personally love Nsi. Beroan’s voice has an accent because his clan speaks a different language, so when he speaks Common – the book’s equivalent to English, I have to consider all his clan’s grammar rules and language and his POV’s usually take me a while to write something small. Nsi, on the other hand, is a bit informal, but she has a lot of myself thrown into her, especially when it comes to how afraid and paranoid she is. So she’s always fun, easy and quick to write. I could write several chapters of her in the same time that I could only write about a few pages of Beroan’s pov, if that. Which is why Nsi is my favorite to write. As for favorites overall in Shifter, I love Gran. I love her attitude, I love her personality and character, how tough, kind, and cool she is despite what’s happened. She’s awesome.
3: are there any autobiographical elements in the novel? You mean like real life? As I mentioned before, Nsi has a lot of myself thrown into her. I’m a paranoid person and so is she – granted, I’m not afraid of dragons attacking but close enough – so that’s always true to me. I also paralleled Shifter with the story of Ruth from the Bible in that Nsi follows Beroan the same way that Ruth followed Naomi after a great loss in the family.
4: who would you be in the setting of the book? Haha, Nsi. I’m so afraid and paranoid, I would be her, but I wouldn’t even be brave enough to head outside the town walls to fetch water like she does. I would literally just stay inside my hut, shivering and afraid of dragons the whole time. So if I was Nsi, the book would never happen because I never would have gone with Beroan in the first place!
5: what was the most emotional part for you as you were writing “Shifter”? Oof, this one still hurts every time I think about it. I can’t tell spoilers, but it’s definitely because Shifter is a bit of a tragedy. That’s all I can say. Read the book and then think about the ending, especially the last few scenes and man, it still gets to me in the heart even after all these years.
Shifter synopsis: Beroan is a shapeshifter, part of the dragon clan. His clan’s Alpha, Sirath, wants to watch the world burn. For ten long years Sirath has attacked villages, killing thousands of humans and burning towns to the ground. Beroan has had enough, but his resistance will only end in suffering. Nsi is a human living in a small village with her grandmother and cousin. Her ignorance about the existence of shifters won’t protect her for long. Her family was killed in a dragon attack when she was younger, and now dragons have come again. Now she will stop at nothing until the dragon shifters are stopped, to save humans from suffering the same fate as her family. Together, Nsi and Beroan will risk everything to save humanity from Sirath. Darkness is spreading through the galaxy, Corrupting one world after another, and now it has come for theirs. Sirath already belongs to the Corruption of darkness. He will not stop until he burns down the world and leaves it covered in fire and ash.
You can discover more about Joanna’s book by following this Amazon link. Joanna also has some cool Shifter-themed giveaways for you to win here.
Thank you for reading! Please check my other blog posts as well here on ilahey.com. I think I left a free ebook somewhere among them.