About Today's Author:
Carol Van Natta’s website: https://Author.CarolVanNatta.com
Carol on Facebook: https://facebook.com/CarolVanNattaAuthor
Carol on Instagram: @carol.vannatta
What drew you to write about shifters?
It all started because I love reading shifter stories, from Jennifer Ashley’s groundbreaking Shifters Unbound series to Mandy Roth’s Immortal Ops series, to Nalini Singh’s fantastic Psy-Changeling series. They’re so good, they inspired me to want to write my own stories. Also, I love animals, and am fascinated by their diversity. I am the household servant for a tribe of cats, who insist all books are vastly improved by the inclusion of felines. Not too long ago, I stumbled across an article on excavation of the bones of a huge and probably shaggy extinct bear from the Ice Age, and what paleontologists are learning about the species. From that, inspiration romanced my muse, and now I write the Ice Age Shifters series.
What’s your favorite type of shifter to write about?
My favorite type of shifter is a mammal. I am one, so research is easier. 😉
Seriously, I tend to create stories starting with characters, so my favorite type is the right animal(s) to go with the right human. I love exploring how each nature influences the other. Sometimes it’s good, such as lending patience or superior hearing. Sometimes, it’s not so good, especially when the human side uses the animal’s strength to hurt or kill.
In the series so far, main characters include an Arctotherium (remember that article about an extinct Ice Age bear?), a Panthera atrox, otherwise known as an American lion (think really big, wide-shouldered modern lion), and Canis dirus, more popularly known as dire wolves, which I certainly wouldn’t want at my door when they’re hungry. Other characters include a Siberian tiger, timber wolves, coyotes, leopards, caribou, and more. Ice Age shifters are megafauna—bigger and badder than most modern shifters—which often causes problems fitting in with traditional packs, prides, and clans. Fortunately, their mates know what to do with them, though the road isn’t always easy to get there.
How about reading? Do you have a favorite type of shifter to read?
I love all the shifters! Sexy modern predators, mythical creatures (dragons!), alien and totally unique creatures, you name it. I also like reading the unexpected, such as dogs, rabbits, or lizards. Give me good characters, adventure, and delicious romance, and I’m happy. My cats remind me daily that they’d like to be able to shift to human so they can work the can opener by themselves, tell Alexa to order more catnip, and open the door and stand on the threshold for hours, neither staying in nor going out.
Do you have some favorite authors of shapeshifter books?
I mentioned some above, but I also love Eve Langlais’ hilarious and snarky shifter series, such as the Furry United Coalition books; Zoe Chant’s various series, such as Fire & Rescue, with main characters who are decent people deserving of love; and the Shifting Crossroads series by Zenina Masters (pen name for the prolific Viola Grace) for its inventiveness. I’m also a fan of S.E. Smith’s Dragon Lords of Valdier series, which mixes science fiction romance and dragon shifters. This is the best of both worlds for me, because I also write a space opera romance series.
Tell us a little bit about your shifter “world”.
I’ve already mentioned the sometimes misfit Ice Age shifters. This world also has magic users and magical species of all types, from shifters to elves and fairies, to demons and wraiths, to mysterious creatures that have yet to be discovered. They all agree on only one thing: hide their existence from humans.
I love taking events from history (such as the 1908 Tunguska event in Siberia) and giving it a secret magic-world cause, such as the devastating result of the last war between the icy arctic elves and their mortal enemies, the warlike polar fairies.
Small and very magical sanctuary towns are hidden all over the planet, some in more plain sight than others. One such town is Kotoyeesinay, in southern Wyoming, where they use a supposed fantasy-themed tourist gimmick to hide the very real creatures of myth, legend, and nightmare who actually live there. This town is introduced in Shifter Mate Magic and Shift of Destiny, Ice Age Shifters books 1 and 2. In Heart of a Dire Wolf and Dire Wolf Wanted (books 3 and 4), there’s a new sanctuary town called Fort LeBlanc, with a mystery or two to solve.
What’s next for you when it comes to writing about shapeshifters?
I’m so glad you asked. This coming summer, I plan to publish three more books in the series. They will definitely introduce more Ice Age shifters, as well as the return of a few characters that readers of the series so far will recognize.
The first four books each have a standalone romance, but they also have a subplot related to an illegal auction house that captures and sells magical creatures to the highest bidder. The next books will have a different subplot that will be magically revealed when you read them. This mysterious tease is in no way related to the fact that I haven’t yet written these books. 😉
Pregnant Jackie Breton just escaped from a corrupt feline pack intent on selling her half-shifter baby to the highest bidder. She’s smart, independent, and has a desperate plan to keep her baby safe: Get away from the pride as fast and far as possible.
Trevor Hammond, prehistoric bear shifter, has been rejected by everyone in his life for… being born, basically. Well, except for the beloved aunt who raised him. He’s built a career as an independent trucker, but life would be much better with someone he can hold in his arms and claim as his own.
When Jackie meets Trevor at a truck stop, his bear demands he help her. His aunt even calls with a dire warning: Get Jackie to the magical sanctuary town in Wyoming before she’s killed.
Jackie thinks he’s sexy as hell, but too good to be true. She doesn’t trust shifters. With the feline pride hot on her trail, however, Trevor and the quirky town of Kotoyeesinay might be her only chance for survival. Even Trevor’s indomitable bear may be no match for the dangerous enemy seeking retribution.
Discover the secret world of magic and true mates in Shifter Mate Magic, the first book in USA TODAY bestselling author Carol Van Natta's fun, action-filled, steamy-hot Ice Age Shifters™ series.