Did that get your attention? If so, then be sure to check out author Anna Leonard‘s unicorn shifter hero in her latest paranormal romance novel from Harlequin Nocturne, Shifter’s Destiny! Here’s a Q&A with Anna where she tells you how she came up with the unique idea and more about the book…
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Q: Shifter’s Destiny features a unicorn shifter – what was it about a unicorn that sparked your interest?
Anna: I grew up visiting the Unicorn Tapestries at the Cloisters in NYC (and later got to see the rest of the “set” in Paris), and was always fascinated by the idea that a unicorn wasn’t a sweet-tempered steed, but rather a fierce and wild creature that could inflict serious damage on those who hunted it. At the same time, it was never shown as a hunter/predator. Ignoring all the religious uses of the image, the idea of an apex herbivore fascinated me…. (you know, the way writer-brains tend to get fixated on things, and start spinning theories….)
So when Mary-Theresa [Anna's editor] said “how about writing a shifter romance?” I thought “okay, wolves have been one, cats have been done, hawks aren’t really practical and anyway Ladyhawke had that one sewn up forever and ever amen…. A horse? A UNICORN!”
And then I told her what I was going to do, and she was all “ermmmmm” and I said “you’re going to love it.” And she did.
Q: How did you adapt unicorn mythology for your book?
Anna: The only thing I played with, really, was the notion of a “pure virgin” to tame the unicorn. Well, that ad the idea of the unicorn being a fierce creature. I used a lot more of the wild horse ‘mythology’ in terms of where they came from, and how they settled…. Mustang are amazing – the sight of horses running free just makes your blood pound, too. I did a lot of background work on the herd – everything about their culture was worked out, even though you only see hints of it in the book. I have this urge, every now and again, to write the stories for Josh’s sisters….
Q: Could you tell us a little about your hero and heroine, Josh and Libby?
Anna: Libby was a Good Girl all of her life. It was easy enough – she had parents who loved her, a little sister she adored, a job that satisfied her, and a community that was safe and supportive. So of course, all that has to be taken away, to see what she will do. And underneath she’s…still really a good person. But the point is that you can be very good, and still be incredibly strong. The fact that she was confident translated under stress to being fierce, and stubborn enough to do what she had to – even when she had no idea if she was doing the right thing. That said, she’s also somewhat…blind, when it comes to other people, and once she misjudges, she doesn’t trust herself at all. She’s close to getting bitter and jaded about other people, when Josh shows up.
Josh… probably a pretty even-tempered guy, when he’s not being driven by the Rut. But he’s a Mustang male, so he’s got plenty of headstrong, stubborn ego powering his motor, just like any stallion. He’s also fiercely protective, much like a stallion, especially around a “foal” like Maggie. He also has more of a sense of humor than Libby does, and I can see where, years down the road, she’s going to sigh a lot at his jokes, and he’ll just grin….
The two of them are really goo together, not because they’re a perfect match, but because they aren’t. They’re always going to have that bit of friction, and be constantly relearning how to adjust and accept – so if all goes well, they’ll never get bored, or take each other for granted.
And yes, I do ‘see’ where my characters go, after the book. Not in detail, always, but I know the rough outlines.
Q: Do you have a favorite scene from the book?
Anna: The fight scene, where the “bad animals” show up. It was both a lot of fun, and a serious pain in my backside to write, because I not only had to block out a 3-on-1 fight, but I had to do it with several different forms (not the usual human shapes). Fight scenes are always fun to do, but this one made me swear a lot, and call friends to say “how would X do this? And what would happen if Y?” I am lucky in having very patient friends.
Q: If you could shift into any animal or magical creature, what would you choose and why?
Anna: In my next life I want to come back as a housecat, because that’s the life, but to shift, now? Hrm. A raptor, I think. Something with a massive wingspan, just for the ability to ride the currents, and soar over a cliff without fear or hesitation….