(excerpted from a post originally shared on Jianne Carlo’s blog 10/4/13)
I think the latter is something all of us shifter writers must have. I, for one, watch a ton of Animal Planet and am always amazed by the wondrous creatures that share this world with us. Fact really can be stranger than fiction, and some of the species discovered in exotic locations are even more fantastical than anything we authors come up with.
Kalya, the heroine of Tribal Shift, offered me the chance to—pardon the pun—go wild with my imagination and include dozens of different animals. She’s an omnimorph—a shifter who can morph into almost anything. Throughout the novel, she transforms into everything from a Secretary Bird to a jaguar, and she can travel by air, land, or water. And Rasik, the caracal shifter who loves her, is no less amazing.
Because I incorporated so many animals into Tribal Shift, I had to do a lot of research for this book. While I certainly didn’t bog down the story with too many facts (there were scorching sex scenes demanding attention, after all), I did want to be certain I was accurate in my descriptions and what I had the hero and heroine do in each form. I learned more than I expected and had a blast in the process.
I thought it would be fun to share some of the more interesting tidbits I discovered, so here are some nifty facts:
(1) Secretary Birds can grow to be four feet tall. That’s as tall as some of my younger relatives and wouldn’t be a big adjustment for a shifter, since the bird spends most of its time on the ground walking on two legs.
(2) Tigers are the largest cat species and can reach up to eleven feet in length. They have canine teeth about three inches long! Kalya definitely uses this form to her advantage when some power-hungry leopard shifters try to hurt Rasik.
(3) Unlike the noisy spotted hyena, the striped hyena is less vocal and usually silent. As Rasik and Kalya witness, this quiet menace can be far more frightening.
(4) A crocodile can’t move its tongue (it’s attached to the bottom of its mouth). That feels very strange to Kalya, especially since she can’t change her facial expression while in crocodile form.
(5) The maned wolf has a roar-bark that can be quite startling. Kalya shocks her runaway cousin when she yells at the girl while in the body of this wolf.
Tribal Shift is filled with hot romance, lethal danger, and a safari-like adventure that will carry you across the wilderness. I hope you’ll come along for the journey.