Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Vampires, Shapeshifters, and Demons, Oh My!

imageI'm really love this guest blog thing! Zoe Winters is our guest today, blogging about her new release, KEPT, a novella about a werecat!

Hey Guys! Thanks, first, to Spy for having me.  I know probably like five people are reading this cause we're so close to crunch time on the holiday season.  I know this because I've been a very bad Zoe and haven't been visiting my blogs like I normally do either.  And my posting schedule itself is erratic at best right now.

Spy suggested the topic for the guest blog, because she wanted to know about were-mythology and how I created mine for Kept.  Like most writers, if you ask me about my process or where this or that came from, I get a little bit of a giddy glee and proceed to explain it to you.

My first love is vampires.  Not sure why, there is something about the blood factor, and the intensity of the potential bond between two people who share something so primal.  imageMost people find people in the vampire subculture who do drink actual human blood to be gross at best and disturbing at worst.  While I'm not a part of that culture, I find it more intriguing than gross or disturbing.  When Angelina Jolie had a small vile of Billy Bob Thornton's blood around her neck, while the rest of the world thought it was icky, I found it somehow romantic.  Because I "got" that.  I knew what she was trying to do there, hold onto some magical life-sustaining piece of the man she loved.

My second love is a tie between shapeshifters and demons.  Raised really strictly religious, there was a big barrier to get to the paranormal romance style demon.  But I got there.  What can I say?  I like the bad boys.

So shapeshifters.  I've always thought that stories about vampires and werewolves are really about us.  Our shadow selves.  The parts we suppress and repress, and the parts image we set free.  On a very base level we are animals.  We're pack animals to be more specific.  Socially we fight for dominance and live in a hierarchy.  Some of us are lone wolves from time to time, but in the end, we need the pack.  We like to believe we're civilized, but I'm not so sure we are.

For me, a were-mythology has to express these things.  It's a place where we do see people's darker sides come out in a very literal way. I've always found werecreatures that turn into a half-beast/half-human to be weird looking at best, and far less credible at worst.  So I always go for creatures that shift to the actual animal. I like supernatural stories that skate very close to the edge of reality. Worlds we can almost believe actually exist alongside us without our knowledge. 

Kept is about a werecat, named Greta, who finds out her tribe is about to sacrifice her, right about the same time she finds out her mother isn't her biological mother.  Her adoptive mother gives the name and address of the only person in the city who can protect her.  The trouble is, he's a sorcerer with a bad reputation who once killed over half her tribe.  Not exactly the most stellar recommendation.

image Probably part of the inspiration for Greta came from my cat, Drusilla.  She's just a little too self-aware for my taste.  She's highly jealous of me and gets angry any time my husband shows me affection.  She doesn't understand that I'm a person and she's a cat and obviously he's going to love me more.  It's both funny and sad at the same time.  Sometimes I think Dru thinks people thoughts instead of cat thoughts.

And I'm sure in some sense, Greta came out of that.  When a shapeshifter turns into the actual animal, it puts a whole new spin on encounters with animals in life, who seem just a little too human sometimes.  I could get into more of my mythology, like the fact that nobody in it uses the term "were" for anything, but the werewolves. Everybody else uses the term: therian.  "Were" is a derogatory term in my world.  But this post has already gone past most people's word count tolerance for blog posts so close to the holidays.

What about you?  Anybody here write or read about supernatural creatures?  Want to share a piece of your mythology, or what you like in a mythology?

Thanks, Zoe! KEPT can be picked up as a free ebook download, o
r can be found at the Amazon Kindle store here. Visit her blog, or check out her group blog, The Publishing Renaissance.

14 bonus scribbles:

Rick 12/23/2008 08:14:00 AM  

What, not read blogs over the holidays? Since you're filling in for Spy today, I can wish you both Happy Holidays at the same time!

As for your topic, I think you're spot on about the relationship between vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, and our shadow selves. Bigfoot, however, is another matter.

Edie 12/23/2008 09:39:00 AM  

Zoe, like Rick, I think you nailed all the mythology thing.

My cat constantly talks to me. I know she's trying to tell me something, but my human mind is too dense to get it.

Cynthia Eden 12/23/2008 09:52:00 AM  

Oh, I'm a paranormal addict. :-) I've already read Kept, loved it, too. Shifters are some of my favorite characters and I always like to see the way different authors use the shifter legends.
Happy Holidays!!

Melanie Avila 12/23/2008 09:52:00 AM  

Zoe, this is really interesting. I've told you that I don't read this type of book, but your description of the shape-shifters helps me understand it. I've seen a couple movies with them (Van Helsing being one) so that's what I was picturing while reading.

Great post!

conley730 12/23/2008 10:21:00 AM  

I've just started reading paranormal books recently, but I've really enjoyed them. Your post has me intrigued. I'm going to have to go out and read Kept now!

Rhonda Stapleton 12/23/2008 12:32:00 PM  

Good post!! I love reading about your takes on mythology...

Zoe Winters 12/23/2008 03:21:00 PM  

Hey Rick! Thanks :D

Yes, Bigfoot doesn't fit the profile haha.

Zoe Winters 12/23/2008 03:21:00 PM  

Hey Edie, yeah my cats are pretty vocal too. :D

Zoe Winters 12/23/2008 03:22:00 PM  

Happy Holidays to you too, Cindy! I'm a paranormal addict but I'm also getting attached to certain historical authors.

Zoe Winters 12/23/2008 03:22:00 PM  

Hey Melanie, cool, thanks!

Zoe Winters 12/23/2008 03:22:00 PM  

Hey conley thanks! I hope you like it. :D

writtenwyrdd 12/23/2008 07:41:00 PM  

I haven't written anything with werecritters, but I do read that type of story when I find good ones. A lot of the paranormals are beginning to cheese me off by taking the mythology from other books in the genre (vampire romances for example) so that it's one big ethos of fiction, very self-referential and not new at all. I find that boring after a book or two.

I really love it when I find someone with a fresh idea that hasn't been done before, be it a new take on an overused trend, or a new mythology.

One example was Benighted by (Kit Whitfield?) where the story was set in a world that has all weres, and the few nonwere humans are handicapped and picked on.

Zoe Winters 12/24/2008 07:09:00 AM  

Hey Writtenwyrdd, that sounds like a really cool mythology!