In coordination of Rachel Vincent’s upcoming release of her next Shifter book, Prey, I asked her if she’d be willing to do an Author Guest post. She agreed. I let her know that the floor was open and to discuss what ever she felt compelled to share. She decided on a great topic.
Why make Marc a stray?
I’ve wondered that myself. And now we’ll know:
Yesterday, during a Q&A on another site, someone asked why I’d made Marc a stray. I thought that was one of the best, most insightful questions I’ve ever been asked about my Shifters books, and I enjoyed answering it there. But since I have more space here, I’m going to elaborate.
In case you haven’t read any of the Shifters books, Marc Ramos is the main love interest in Stray, and throughout the series, he and Faythe (the viewpoint character) have a very tumultuous relationship. Their relationship, in fact, is the reason I made Marc a stray. Because sometimes opposites really do attract.
Faythe was born into the largest Pride in the U.S., daughter to the head of the territorial council. She’s a bit spoiled and headstrong when the series opens, because she’s been indulged most of her life—her family’s effort to make up for the sacrifice they will one day ask of her. As one of very few female werecats—tabbycats—Faythe is expected to marry and produce the next generation of her Pride. That’s the only way their species will continue.
Faythe has other ideas for herself. She wants college instead of marriage, and a career instead of kids. She wants a life outside of her Pride.
Marc Ramos is her long-term ex, and in many ways, Faythe’s exact opposite. She was born into the most powerful Pride in the country; Marc was born human, then orphaned and infected by the werecat who killed his mother when he was fourteen. As kids, she was an indulged purebred princess, and he was a traumatized stray taken in by her family. But neither Faythe nor Marc can be accurately described in such simple terms.
Faythe was spoiled, but neither lazy nor precious. She learned to fight alongside her four brothers, and would rather have sparred with any one of them than paint her nails or play with dolls.
Marc had a violent, scarring introduction into the werecat world, but he embraced it fully. He is fanatically loyal to Faythe’s family, the only family he has now, and would gladly die defending his adopted Pride. He has nowhere else to go and no one else to be, and he wouldn’t change either of those facts even if he could.
So when the story begins in Stray, Faythe and Marc are very much at odds with one another. He was thrown into the life she clawed her way out of. He wants to defend the Pride, marry Faythe, and start a family. She wants to leave home, finish college, and start the life she’s chosen for herself. On the surface, their goals could not be more in conflict. But when tragedy forces them both to face what’s really important, they find out they have more in common than either of them thought.
Do they suddenly want all the same things from life and from each other? No.
Is the conflict magically resolved, and tied up with a shiny happy-ever-after bow? Not even close. This may be urban fantasy, but Faythe and crew have real life problems, and nice, neat answers are no easier to come by in fiction than they are in reality. Throughout the series, they face prejudice, sexism, political pressure, and a whole slew of bad guys, some known and some unknown. They fight for their lives, fight to the death, and fight for those under their protection. They make love, make tough choices, and make sacrifices. And in the end, they’ll discover that the things that make life worth living are the things worth dying for.
So though Faythe grows and matures very quickly, her life (both the private and the professional aspects) remains chaotic, passionate, and sometimes heart-breaking. But I think her journey is worth traveling. And I hope you will agree.
If you haven’t read any of Rachel’s Shifter series, what are you waiting for?!?! No, seriously, this is one of my most favorite series. Why? Because I love kick ass books. Books I like to call “Books with Balls”. Rachel’s Shifter series has Balls. I’m a huge lover of strong female lead characters. I see a lot of my personality in Faythe. I don’t kick anyone’s ass on a regular basis but should the situation arise I would not be adverse to attempting to kick some ass. 🙂 Everything is just awesomely written by Rachel. She’s created a world that if it were real I would love to live in it.
The series is as follows:
Stray (Shifters, Book 1): My Review
Rogue (Shifters, Book 2): My Review
Pride (Shifters, Book 3): My Review
Prey (Shifters, Book 4): My Review
Shift (Shifters, Book 5) coming March 2010
Alpha (Shifters, Book 6) coming October 2010
P.S. – Bitten By Books is hosting a contest! Click the below image for more info!