I met Deborah Bailey online years ago and was impressed with her sci-fi short story collection, “Electric Dreams: Seven Futuristic Tales”. Deborah has since published the fantasty/scifi “Hathor Legacy” series and her most recent book “Family Pride: Love and Challenges”. I asked her to write about her inspiration for this book and she graciously agreed. I hope this inspires you to take control and write your own story figuratively and literally! Enjoy…
I’ve always been into science fiction and fantasy. Star Trek, the original Twilight Zone, Superman comics—you name it. So of course once I started writing short stories, and later, novels, I created fictional worlds based on the “geekery” I grew up with.
What I learned from writers like Rod Serling (the creator, and often writer of Twilight Zone) and science fiction author, Octavia Butler, was that I could comment on real-world situations in my stories.
The Family Pride story has a lion shapeshifter at the center. Shapeshifters (particularly werewolves) are very popular characters in fantasy, horror and paranormal romance.
In Family Pride: Love and Challenges, the shapeshifters live among humans, but most people don’t know of their existence. Though I didn’t go into a lot of history, in the book I mentioned that shapeshifters evolved as humans did. They lived together rather peaceably until certain people began to see them as a threat.
In my shifter world, the mythological creatures who were half-human, half-beast actually existed. But over time, instead of being seen as gods, they were hunted and persecuted. This led to the shifter population deciding to go underground in order to avoid detection.
In the present day, my hero, Mac is an entrepreneur and my heroine, Zora is a human woman. Through her introduction to the shifter world, the reader learns the backstory.
My story is a sexy romance, because I wanted to take shapeshifters, who are often depicted as menacing, and drop them into the everyday world. Something, or someone, who is different doesn’t have to be scary or frightening. (Check out horror stories like Frankenstein and The Wolf Man to see how fear of the “other” is woven into those narratives.)
Since I wanted to keep this story relatively light, I made it a romance. For the most part, we all crave relationships—whether they be romantic or friendly. What I like about writing romance is the relationship aspect is front and center.
My characters navigate work, play, love and life—though not without conflict and disappointments. But that’s what makes a good story, whether it’s science fiction, fantasy, or any other genre.
Business owner Mac MacKinnon is a perfect catch: attractive, ambitious and successful. He’s a member of an old, established pride of lion shapeshifters, but determined to live life as a loner. Except that when Zora Mason walks into Mac’s coffee bar one day and applies for the position of assistant manager, he knows without a doubt he’s met the woman of his dreams.
Can she accept life with a shifter-boyfriend?
Zora knows a lot more about Mac (and the other shifters in town) than she’s been letting on. Falling in love with a sexy shifter is more than she bargained for when it comes to dealing with sibling drama, learning the business, and managing an alpha male who’s used to doing things his way. When a challenge to Mac’s Pride threatens to destroy Mac’s family, Zora has to decide whether to be claimed as his mate in a ritual in front of the pride.
Who knew that love with a lion shifter would be so challenging?
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