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Monday, February 16, 2015

My Felines are not Furries - by Vijaya Schartz

It came to my attention that because of the gorgeous covers with feline heads for the Chronicles of Kassouk sci-fi romance series, some readers assumed my characters were either shape shifters, or partly human, intelligent beasts, known in the sci-fi communities as furries. Not so. Talking lions who walk on two legs and behave as people are not my style. I pride myself in writing believable stories. Besides, I write romance, and all my romantic characters are human, sometimes with a little alien blood, but always human-looking and compatible.

As it happens, Desert Breeze, who publishes the series, doesn't use people front and center on their covers, not even for romance. These covers were designed by the talented Jenifer Ranieri, an award-winning book cover designer whose work has been recognized in many places.

So, what is it about the cat covers?

I do love cats, obviously. I have a few of my own. And large felines are an integral part of the world of Kassouk, but they are secondary characters. Especially when writing romance, I prefer to deal with human emotions and human bodies. I sometimes have a few human-like compatible species as well. But if the hero and heroine are going to be romantically involved, and be happy ever after and start a family, they better be physically compatible.

The animals depicted on the award-winning covers are actual felines featured in the story. In this series, my human protagonists are warriors who take the name of a cat as their warrior name. Often they also have a matching feline as a pet or as a fighting companion.

 
 For instance in Book Two, Red Leopard is the warrior name of Terek, a human warrior of Kassouk. His companion and loyal friend is a fighting leopard named Rascal. White Tiger is the nickname of the heroine in Book One, because she learned to fight among white tigers and uses their fighting technique. Blue Lioness is the warrior name of the heroine in Book Four, and her lioness companion is Hellion. In Black Jaguar the warrior of the same name owns a jaguar named Diablo. In Noah's Ark, because it's the prequel and the large felines have not yet proliferated on that planet, the cats are just big farm cats, rat hunters brought by the settlers. In this novel, the hero, Kostas, makes a friend of a fat yellow cat with long hair he names Viking.

But the felines are not just for the beauty of the covers. They take part in the story, as animals. Rascal, in Red Leopard, is especially brave, and even won an award as the best animal character in a book for 2010.

HAPPY READING!

Vijaya Schartz
http://www.vijayaschartz.com 
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