Guest Post by Rachel Vincent

Hello everyone!

Today I am welcoming the incredibly talented Rachel Vincent, author of the Shifters and Soul Screamers series. 
I am a huge fan of both and can't tell you how fascinating her Shifters series is. If you haven't read it yet, get started!

Without further ado, I shall give the floor to Rachel who will be writing about the shape-shifting tradition in literature and how she came to create her werecats.

If you’ve read…well…anything I’ve ever written, you probably already know that I try to cut my own path through the urban fantasy landscape. I don’t want to write what’s already been written, and I couldn’t live with myself if I started writing to trends, just because they’re selling.

Does this mean I turn my nose up at traditional folklore and mythology? Far from it. I have a great respect for and interest in the original source material, and I believe that if you’re going to write about creatures from established lore, the best way (the only good way) to start is by reading the original sources. You have to know where the stories come from, in order to add to the cannon.

However, that said, I don’t see the point in writing about creatures from established folklore if you don’t have something new to add to the tradition. I believe that the best urban fantasy (and paranormal romance, horror, etc…) borrows enough from the original sources to meet genre expectation and reader familiarity, but adds enough of a new twist to keep it interesting and original.

That’s what I try to do, and it’s not easy.

With the Shifters series specifically, I knew I wanted to write about shapeshifters from the beginning, but I didn’t want to write about werewolves. The world has enough werewolves (in my opinion) and would easily survive me not writing about them. Beyond that, I’m not much of a dog person, but I love cats! And though I’d seen a couple of cat shapeshifters as secondary characters in a couple of other books, I’d never seen them as main characters. So I decided to give it a go.

[Point of fact: there are no werewolves in my Shifters books, no matter what you read in reviews. It never ceases to surprise me how many reviewers refer to Faythe as a werewolf and to her Pride as a Pack. Even though they’re able to discuss the plot points in intimate detail.]

After establishing a shifter species, my next step was to determine which of the established shapeshifter tenets I would use, and which I would not. Here’s a list of what I used and didn’t use, and why:

Shapeshifting attached to the moonrise/lunar cycle. Um…no. I didn’t use this for a couple of reasons. First, it takes free will away from the characters and introduces what feels to me like an artificial conflict. Second…it felt really cheesy, and brought to mind countless clichéd movie scenes where a wolf rips—already howling—from a man’s body the moment the full moon appears in the background.

Death by silver. I rejected this because I wanted to write about werecats as creatures of nature, not creatures of magic. And if they’re part of nature, they should die by any normal means. No fancy spells, alloys, or weapons required.

Transmission of the Shifter “virus” via bite. I kept it—kind of. In my Shifters world, that virus is no virus. It’s a specific bit of DNA code, which is present but “dormant” in any human who has a werecat ancestor, whether they know it or not. Humans with this dormant bit of biology can be “infected” by the bite or scratch of a werecat, which “activates” that previously inactive aspect of their own bodies. Normal humans, without this hidden DNA, cannot be “infected.”

Note: I also rejected the Hollywood B movie version of the werewolf (or, in my case, werecat) who walks upright. I know you’ve seen them—they look like hairy people with dog muzzles and claws. Which is just weird, even compared to people who turn into animals. My cats turn into actual large cats. Not leopards, or lions, or tigers, but their own species, not found anywhere else in nature.

And what a fascinating species! Thank you so much to Rachel for sharing her thoughts with us and to Tory and Mira for giving me the opportunity to interview the amazing Rachel!

Tune in tomorrow for a review of Alpha, the last book of the Shifters series!

Rachel Vincent is the author of Alpha part of her Shifter’s series about a pride of werecats which is out now from MIRA books £6.99. For more information on Rachel’s books visit


  1. Excellent post. I love how you've made your own way with the shifters. I especially liked the DNA aspect. I've said it before but this is one of my very favorite series.

  2. Really interesting point about creatures of nature vs. creatues of magic. I'm intrigued by the idea of werecats too.

  3. Can't wait to start reading this series. It sounds really interesting and unique. Thanks!

  4. I love the Shifter series and am really looking forward to reading the Soul Screamer series:)

  5. Great guest post, I love Rachel's take on shifters and definitely want to read more about the werecats! I can't believe that people actually refer to Faythe as a werewolf in reviews - that made me laugh out loud :o)