Shifters Unbound Novel Series #4
New York Bestselling
I am so thrilled once again be bringing you one of my favorite authors...New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ashley. Today it is all about the deliciously hot wildcat shifter, Eric and his mate Iona Duncan from Jennifer’s latest MATE CLAIMED.
Jennifer. I’m so psyched you’ve stopped by. I know you’re in the thick of your scrumptious Shifters Unbound series. For those not familiar with the series would you explain a bit more about it.
JA: In the Shifters world, Shifters “came out” twenty years ago, and humans were both fascinated and terrified (I mean, what would you really do if you found out your next-door neighbor could turn into a lion?) So humans rounded up Shifters, made them live in Shiftertowns, and put collars on them (half Fae-magic, half tech) to spike them with pain if they turn violent.
The humans think they have the Shifters under control, but the Shifters know better.
Each book in the series is about a Shifter and how he finds his mate. I started in Pride Mates with a sexy Irishman, Liam Morrissey, and his brother, father, and nephew, all living in the same house in Shiftertown in
. A human lawyer has been assigned to
defend a Shifter, and she goes to see Liam, the leader to see if he can help
her. And things ensue... Austin,
I wanted to write a series that wasn’t about the end of the world, or a legion of baddies trying to destroy a species, or anything of that nature. I wanted to explore how the Shifters interact in the world and how they survive. There’s plenty of action in these books, but plenty of heartwarming moments too, as the Shifters turn to their families in order to survive.
The series is about families, mates, and real life (well, real life if you’re a shape-shifter). I very much enjoy writing in the world I’ve created.
JA: Indeed I do! I was driving to the airport to go to a convention. On the side of the road were four guys working construction. I thought “What if they were shape-shifters?” Then I thought. “What if they were shape-shifters, all bachelors, all living in the same house, all related? Two brothers, grown-up nephew of a deceased brother, and a father?”
The Morrissey family came to me in a flash, and I spent the airplane ride and the convention thinking about them and their life in Shiftertown. And so it went.
Is there one genre that you like writing more than the other? Which one? Why?
JA: I have to say I like them all. I rotate through each series (historical, paranormal, urban fantasy, mystery, erotic romance), and enjoy something about each of them. It’s refreshing to move from one to the other. Some of the series contain a heavy dose of magic, others none at all. My erotic series tend to be futuristic (I love scifi), so that gives me a chance to write about cool technology.
I know that you put your own blood, sweat and tears into ever page. So, I’m curious to know if your characters have any of your own traits. Is there one character you think is more like you than any other?
JA: My heroines, I’m happy to say, aren’t much like me at all. I can be crabby and lazy, and they’re always energetic and interested in everything around them (I’d rather go back to bed and read a book). My heroes get some of my drive and determination (and my bad language), but they aren’t really me either. If I think about it, I’m most like the Shareem men (in my erotic romances). They’re laidback “whatever” kind of guys, which I tend to be most of the time. I work very hard, but I’m very good at sitting around with my feet up enjoying the world or laughing with friends. The Shareem do that too.
Did you know that Eric’s story would end the way it did?
Actually, no. When I began Shifters Unbound I had Liam’s and Sean’s stories, then Eric walked onstage during Sean’s book (Primal Bonds). Eric started talking about his sister Cassidy, and I wanted to do her story (Wild Cat) and then Eric’s. I got the idea for the next book (Tiger’s story, Tiger Magic), when Tiger walked onstage in Eric’s book.
Often, I have no idea that these characters are going to appear. They just do, and then I start spinning a story about them.
For some series, I know all the characters and their stories up front. For some series, the characters and books come to me one at a time. I can never predict what will happen!
Eric Warden knows that half-Shifter wildcat
is passing for human, living without a Collar in the human world. He also knows
that if she does not acknowledge her Shifter nature and her mating hunger, it
could kill her.
Eric has much on his plate, though. Another Shiftertown (all wolf Shifters) has closed, and the Shifters are forced into Eric’s Shiftertown. The leader, Graham, isn’t pleased, and he lets it be known that he’s after Eric’s leadership position. Add to that, Eric’s experiencing episodes of pain he’s not known since humans did experiments on him twenty years ago. Into all this, comes
Iona, uncollared, unclaimed—fair game.
Iona finds the mysterious and dangerous Eric, a wildcat
and leader of his Shiftertown, haunting her dreams, but she vows never to take
the Collar, fearing backlash against her mother and sister for hiding the fact
that she's Shifter. But Eric is a compelling Shifter male, and Iona's
hunger calls to him.
I wanted to explore what would happen if a Shifter was “passing” for human. How would she be able to hide her nature when Shifters age much more slowly than humans, and their metabolism is vastly different. How will a woman who’s lived as human give up that life for the restrictions of Shiftertown?
Eric lost his mate when his son Jace was born, and he’s never been interested in taking another mate. So he has to face his own grief and acknowledge that he’s falling for
Also, I wanted to explore those experiments that people were doing on Shifters when Shifters first revealed themselves. What were the long-term repercussions? And then I wanted to shake things up by introducing Graham and his bad-boy Lupine Shifters. I enjoyed writing this book!
I always like to know what peoples’ very first thought was when they meet. Here we go.
what ran through your mind the moment you laid eyes on Eric. Eric, when your eyes spied Iona
what was your very first thought?
Eric: Fair game. Beautiful fair game. I had to protect her.
Eric: Definitely lust. But she did things to my heart.
Was there one thing about
Iona that solidified
that she was the “it girl” for you?
Eric: Besides being a hot, sexy female entering her mating heat? (smiling) The way she loved her mom and sister. The way she betrayed her concern for me when I was hurt, and made sure someone came to look after me. She said she didn’t trust me, and then when I needed her, she was there. She healed me.
Being shifters, do you find it more complicating to have a loving relationship?
Eric: Shifters love so deeply, we can’t climb out when we fall in love. The mate bond is forever. So it’s not very complicated. But it’s permanent, and we can’t run away from it.
What about you, Eric? If you were given the chance would you change anything that your went through to claim your mate?
Eric: Sure. She could have said, All right, Eric, I’ll be your mate, let’s get to the good stuff. (laughing) But
Iona’s not a pushover. She proved that
she’s strong and can handle things by herself. I need her as much as she needs
Should humans be scared of your species or more accepting? Why?
Eric: Humans should be a little scared of Shifters. Shifters can be dangerous. We’re not human. We’re part animal, and we’re going to react like animals in certain situations. So they need to be wary. But not terrified. We’re not evil. We’re just trying to get along in the world, same as anyone.
Eric: And we like parties. And mating. And beer.
Thanks guys for sharing.
Wow, Jennifer you have some really interesting characters. When you wrapped up with them and typed THE END of MATE CLAIMED’s transcript, what did you do t celebrate.
I think I danced up and down, ate a piece of chocolate, and took a shower.
When your reader closes the cover of MATE CLAIMED what do you hope they take away from it?
I hope they enjoyed the action and also the also intense love and sensuality between Eric and
Iona. And that Eric
is hot. :-)
Are there any authors you would recommend to readers until we have the next Jennifer Ashley/Allison James release in our hands?
Well, I’m putting out a book or novella about every month, so there will always be something by me, LOL. But I would highly recommend the following authors:
MelJean Brook (she is an awesome writer)
Elizabeth Hoyt for historicals
Ilona Andrews for urban fantasy
Sylvia Day for sensual books
Nalini Singh for paranormal romance
There are so many fantastic authors out there that readers are sure to find dozens that they’ll love!
Jennifer it is always a blast having you stopped by. Thank you for taking dropping by and shooting the breeze about your latest paranormal romance MATE CLAIMED released by
/ Penguin. It was so exciting getting to know more about Eric Warden, Iona
Duncan and their shifter world. I cannot
wait to visit again and again. Berkley
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HAPPY READING =)