Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Bare Facts on Bears by Vonnie Davis

I was never one to read shifter romances. Odd, wouldn’t you say, now that I’m writing them? You see, I had an underlying fear that bestiality would come into play. Yeah, what did I know?
Nothing could be further from the truth; shifting typically happens when a danger of some type is present, not for sexual reasons. The animals are attracted to other animals of the same species. Humans are drawn to other humans. No mixing; only matching. At least in the books I’ve read and enjoyed the last couple of years to see how shifters are handled.
In fact, with an open mind, anyone can read and adore shifter romances—even me. I’ve read about wolves, lions, jaguars and tigers that change into humans. However, I write about bear shifters. Who knows why. Perhaps it stems from my childhood beloved raggedy Benny Bear, who’s been re-stuffed, sewn and carefully hand-washed many times.
As a topic to write about, I didn’t choose bears. They chose me. An alpha bear meandered into a dream, shifted into this sexy hunk of Highlander hotness, and told me the history of how his bear ancestors came to be shifters. He shared Viking mythology that happened in the 900’s along the shores of the Scottish Highlands. My chore was to write it all in a believable way that you intelligent romance readers would accept (enter copious amounts of coffee and chocolate).
Bear shifter romances are very hot right now. I think part of it reverts back to our childhood when many of us had a cherished teddy bear. Now, as grown women, we are often attracted to tall men. Romantic heroes are almost always six feet or more. Think how tall a man who shifts into a bear would be? No matter how independent and trained you are in self-defense, there’s a deep-seated attraction to a man one can rely on when the going gets tough, like an attack of demons or rogue CIA agents. Sometimes, we just want to snuggle and be cuddled in return.

Every paranormal writer creates her own world for her stories. Authors have to make sure the boundaries, laws, and routines of our paranormal world stay consistent throughout the book or series. Various authors use the same laws. I tend to make mine up, because I love the creative process.
Some authors don't have the human and animal speak to each other. Since I talk to myself all the time, I felt a human would speak to his bear and his bear would respond. At times, they'd argue. Express an opinion the other would not care for.
For example, in my books, it is the bear who selects the mate for his human. After all, who knows the man better than his animal counterpart? The shifters do mate other shifters, but not always. Sometimes the bear picks a non-shifting woman his male half would never choose for himself, and it’s fun to listen in on the private conversations between bear and man.
Oh, I like her. She’s ours.
“Her? But she’s nay me type.”
Aye, she is. Look at her bonny soul and how spunky she is. She’s ours. Claim. Protect.
But what of their personalities? Would the man and his bear be alike or opposite? I chose to make them different. After all, their souls are two jagged pieces of a strange puzzle—part man with hopes, desires and passions and part animal with a need to protect both his human and the physical world around him. On one hand, we get a picture of tranquility with the bear and, on the other, the bear is a dominant warrior.
As a totem animal, the bear carries many messages for us; profoundly meaningful messages that guide us through some tough times in our lives. In addition, there is an unfathomable power surging just beneath the surface of the bear. It has eminent domain and is fully prepared to defend. In this powerful impressive display of security and aggression, we pick up bear meanings of sovereignty, courage, and themes of the warrior as defined in ancient Celtic deities. Artio and Thor are often depicted with the bear. Our nature-savvy ancestors recognized the dual nature of the bear—caring, yet ferocious. Warning, yet curious. Loving, yet loyal.