13 September 2010

Eleri Stone

Why do we love monsters? I've never considered the question, although I read enough paranormal romance, fantasy and urban fantasy that I should have wondered what was feeding my addiction. Eleri Stone, author of Mercy (just released by Carina Press and already winning great reviews, including 4 stars from Romantic Times), shares her insight.

Thanks, Eleri, for visiting with such an interesting topic. I like the jaguar friends you brought along, too ;)

My Kind of Monster

I love in fiction when the monsters turn out to be not quite so monstrous. Beauty and the Beast? My favorite Disney movie growing up. I think this is one of the reasons I’m such a fan of paranormal romance where this trope is so prevalent.

Of all the monsters out there – vampires, ghosts, the Fae, witches, demons and angels – the one that’s always had an irresistible appeal to me is the shape-shifter. (As a note, I tried my first djinn last week – Thanks Jenny! – and I loved the novelty of that. The Price of Freedom seemed right on the edge between paranormal romance and fantasy romance which is a sweet spot for me.)

I was trying to figure out exactly why I have this fascination with shape-shifters and so far here’s what I’ve come up with:

As a writer and as a reader, having a character that has such clear-cut human and animal sides gives you a lot of room to explore what it is that makes us human in the first place - the sometimes subtle differences between instinct and conscious will. It gives you a playing field to look at questions of morality, civilization, and if you’re talking about Pack, the bonds that tie us together.

Another facet is the mystery of the “other”. Everyone’s been an outsider at least once in their life (new school, new job…). In most paranormal novels, the outsiders aren’t lesser. They may be hidden or hunted as a group but usually they’re stronger, richer or longer-lived than their human counterparts. It makes for an interesting dynamic.

You can have characters who are larger than life, who have a good reason for being that way and then you can give them wildly adventurous conflict that matches their abilities.

There’s also the idea of the tame monster. Because, really, who wouldn’t want one? Especially if said monster was sizzling hot, highly principled and unswervingly devoted to you.

Some of the other monsters share the same qualities but of them all the shape-shifter to me seems closest to human and so is dearest to my heart.

In Mercy, my jaguar-shifter romance, the hero Gabriel is the outsider. He’s considered an outcast because his mother was human and when the old king of the Yaguara dies, Gabriel enters the tournament of succession to protect the community of other “mutants” like himself who are living in the human world and have come under attack.

Iada, the heroine, is a survivor – quiet, strong and almost brutally practical. She’s the insider in the Yaguara world, a full-blooded jaguar who has this unique ability that makes her almost unbeatable as a fighter. Since the crown goes to the winner of the tournament everyone expects her to win, especially her uncles who’ve been grooming her from childhood to be their puppet Queen.

Enter Gabriel, the dark horse (er….jaguar) in the tournament who blows through the ranks and beats her. He spares her life and by law that means he claims her as his mate.

They start as enemies in a death match and the rest of the story is where they go from there…

You can read an excerpt here: http://www.eleristone.com/index.php?p=1_6

It’s a little on the spicy side, so be forewarned.

Mercy is on sale now at Carina Press (http://www.carinapress.com)/

And I have to ask…what’s your favorite paranormal character?


  1. I love reading about shape-shifters (got hooked reading Nalini Singh and Kresley Cole) and I can't wait to read Mercy! Jaguar, sleek and sexy. And the cover is super-hot yummy!

  2. Thanks for having me Jenny! Just getting the kids tucked up in bed here. Got distracted checking out your links...I follow a lot of the same people but there's a bunch there I want to check out too. I see Patricia Briggs, speaking of shapeshifters, she's one of my faves, her urban fantasy and traditional fantasy both.

  3. I gotta agree with Taryn. There's something so cool about shape-shifters! Switching from a person to some kind of fast animal like a wolf or bird would be my kind of cool! Good luck with the book--sounds like a fascinating read!

  4. Thanks Taryn! Love, love the Carina covers. Haven't seen a bad one yet.

  5. Thanks Liz - I do like wolf shifter stories too. There's something incredibly appealing about the pack family concept. And who wouldn't want to be able to fly?

  6. I love a variety, but admit to a soft spot for the shifters, wolves, cats, dragons, etc.

  7. I adore shapeshifters. It's the wild animal side that always gets me yet they're so tender with their lovers and children. Or at least they are in the books I read. :) In a lot of stories there are strong pack bonds and loyalty. They're alphas yet have a caring side.
    I'm reading Ilona Andrews at present. I love Curran though he's upsetting Kate at present.

    Good luck with your book, Eleri. Are you writing more?

  8. I'm working on another story in the same world - human female archaeologist, jaguar shapeshifter warrior on a mission to recover an artifact. It has kind of an Indiana Jones flavor. I don't know if it'll get picked up yet but I'm having fun w/ it.
    I've read Magic Bites and On the Edge from Ilona. I liked Kate Daniels - alot, but I think I might like the Edge series better.

  9. I don't think I have a favorite species of monster, but I have individual favorites. Spike from BtVS, for example.

    Much to my surprise, my newest idea that I'm planning to start work on in November features the two classics, werewolves and vampires. I never thought I'd write either, but my muse seems to think "never" is a dare.

  10. Eleri -- I'm a big fan of Patricia Briggs, so I guess werewolves are my favourite shifters, tho Ilona Andrews' Curran is awesome. And now you've added jaguars to my list :) For your next story, Indiana Jones style definitely appeals. When I saw Zoe Archer's cover for Warrior I immediately thought of Jones, and that was it, Book Buy!

    Thanks, everyone, for stopping by with a comment. I dashed out on a shoe shopping expedition (Rivers sale, first in, best dressed). Turned out, none in my size (typical!) Lovely to come home to comments on blog :) I hate shoe shopping!

  11. Jenny - I saw that cover too! Let me know how you like Warrior. I want it but have to finish my WIP before I'm letting myself buy any new books.
    Susanna - that sounds great and now you have me wondering if it's a NaNoWriMo project.

  12. Eleri, if I made finishing a WIP the criteria for new book purchases I'd drive myself crazy. Probably get more writing done, though. :)

    Susannah, muses are damn devious. Happy werewolf and vampire writing!

  13. Jenny, I have a lot of trouble holding to that resolution but I'm trying. I read Raised by Wolves last week and then Anne Stuart's newest but this week, I'm going to try and get some writing done.

  14. Love shifters, especially exotic ones, like jaguars. Also love vampires of all kinds.

  15. I just realized I haven't read a vampire romance in a long time. Anyone have recommendations, that's released within the last couple of months maybe?

  16. I don't read many vamp stories. In fact (cue terrible confession music) I never even watched Buffy, nor that Tom Cruise movie, what was it?

  17. Interview w/ a Vampire? That's like saying you've never watched Star Wars! You should watch it once...just because.

  18. Um, I have NEVER watched Star Wars. *ducks shower of popcorn*

  19. Jenny! I'm shocked. (My sister hasn't watched Star Wars either. And come to think of it, probably not Interview w/ a Vampire either. You're not alone. Almost, but not quite. You. My sister. The Amish...)

  20. Your sister, the Amish and me ... undistracted by movies, we will take over the world!

    Thanks for an awesome post, Eleri. I've so enjoyed having you at my blog :) May Mercy sell millions of copies!


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