We're joined today by author Shanna Gekko, she's going to share her love affair with shape shifters.
“I flew/hopped my way down to the beach. Upon reaching the shore, I shed my bird form in favour of
a centaur then took off running, my hooves splashing in the angry grey surf.” This isn’t a line from any
book. This is a dream I had when I was about six or seven.
I have been fascinated with shape-shifters for a very long time. I remember when Star Trek: Deep Space
9 came out and Otto, the Changeling, was on there. I remember the stories of the Swan Princess, Dr.
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and even when playing World of Warcraft my main character for about six years
was a shape-shifting Night Elf Druid. I have been writing about these shape-shifters and changelings
since I was in Grade 7, drawn to write about the fantastical even then. When the chance came up to
write for Bandit Creek, my mind automatically went there.
I had recently read a few books on skin-walkers (Patricia Briggs and Kelley Armstrong), plus in prior
researching of Native American legends, these creatures do pop up a bit. The problem with the legends
is that all the yee naaldlooshii, or skin-walkers, are actually evil witches that use blood and bone magic
to get their way, and eventually take on the pelt of an animal which they use to transform. This gave me
a great “bad guy” of course, but how would a regular human stop this evil force? This is how Kai and his
family were born. Kai Hunter is a born skin-walker, along with most of his family, and their task in the
past was to protect the tribes from any bad yee naaldlooshii, or other supernatural evils.
Of course an extraordinary hero needs an extraordinary heroine. The heroine had to love nature and
animals as much as half-animal Kai, and it had honestly been a long time since I had read about dryads
(Piers Anthony I think) so Hazel popped onto the page. Oh, and as much as I can’t keep the supernatural
out of my writing, I can’t keep dry humor and puns out either.
“So, if Hazel’s a tree and you’re a dog, does that mean you’re going to go mark your territory now?”
Now as much as there are shape-shifters in my writing, there are others in real life. You know who they
are, of course. The true two-faces, Dr. Jekylls and Mr. Hydes. There are also chameleons that change
their personalities depending on situations or who they are with. Some of us have developed “multiple
personalities” on purpose, such as pen names, either as a way to avoid ridicule or just to differentiate
between different styles of writing. We are all changelings to a degree, in fact if we didn’t adapt to the
world around us, we probably wouldn’t survive very well in our world.
Blurb from Skin Deep
Kai knows trouble has found him when a fiery
pint-sized female shows up at his door,
bringing news of gruesome animal sacrifices
in the woods around Bandit Creek. She also
brings a teasing scent that draws his attention
and sends every protective instinct screaming
for him to protect his mate.
Hazel is determined to stop the monster she’s
been following for miles and she won’t let
anything distract her from her mission. She
teams up with Kai, but vows to keep a firm “no-touch” policy where the
handsome Native is concerned. Her resolve doesn’t last long as the two are drawn
together like lodestones, their every touch igniting a passion neither has faced
Only, the trail of ritual sacrifices points to a greater threat than either first realized.
They are about to face Kai’s enemy ancestor, a yee naaldlooshii—skinwalker—
who will stop at nothing to destroy everything around him.
About the author:
Shanna Gekko currently juggles
writing with herding kids and pets, and
a full-time job, among other
commitments, and she truly doesn’t
know how she does it. While she will
read practically anything, her writing
has strayed to the fantastic since she
was in Grade 7. You can read some of
her musings at