Everyone, please give a warm welcome to J. Bridger, author of Shifted Perspective, one of my favorite reads of 2012. As can be found on Bridger’s website, this is her first novel, which is about a young man, Caleb, who discovers that he is a shifter, that it runs in his family on his mother’s side, and that he turns into an adorable Cocker spaniel. Please enjoy; I know I did.
1) I have noticed a trend in Paranormal Fantasy over the past several years to nearly always have the main paranormal character to be really powerful and also eye candy. I can’t but help that you did something very different in Shifted Perspective. Will you tell us why you walked a different path with your Cocker spaniel hero?
Also, I think it’s an Edward Cullen knee-jerk reflex. I don’t think Caleb is unattractive in my novel, if a little gangly. I just sometimes get tired of the dark and mysterious brooding teen guy archetype so Caleb’s definitely not that either.
2) Having spent time as an intern in a Bolivian mental hospital and also as a tour guide at a lemur research center, can you tell us how these experiences have/still are influencing your writing?
Right now? Not as much since I haven’t explored mental conditions or, well, lemurs in my writing. However, I do think working in the psych field in general has given me a good idea for how people do act and what’s just a true-to-life reaction and what’s just over the top fantasy/falls flat.
3) In Shifted Perspective, one of the shifters decided to have her tail bobbed. In general, how does that work with the healing and regenerative abilities of shifters in the world you created?
Some of this is getting answered in the sequel I’m working on called Second Skin. I have thought a lot about what the shifters, even the lowly canines, can do and can’t do, what they can heal from. I will say we’ll get a bigger look at that as we go and that, for instance, if Kalista had tried to get her tail bobbed as an adult with all her abilities fully intact, it wouldn’t have stuck. They definitely have better healing than humans, but I’ll wait to have people read where those limits really lie.
4) From the world of books and from the world of science, who are some of the major influences in your work?
From science? Actually from psychology, I’d love to explore more from Carl Jung. I don’t think his dream analysis/dream archetype and collective unconsciousness theories have much scientific merit, but they’d be fascinating to explore in different stories and books.
5) What future works can we expect? (Yes, I am prying!)
Well, this is where I promote Second Skin, the sequel to Shifted Perspective, that I wanted out in the winter but will probably get delayed until April or May. It’s going to have mystery, snark, and mayhem just like last time, but now Caleb’s deeper into the shifter world, has his own debts and entanglements to deal with, especially with Althea, and is going to have his life complicated by the arrival of a selkie in L.A.
Also, there will be a Tails of Change Christmas anthology out in November of 2013. Again, it was a goal to try and have it up for this Christmas but it didn’t happen so I have that (and an already commissioned gorgeous cover by Rebecca Weaver) to tempt readers next Holiday Season.
6) As a student of the Spanish language, can we expect to see some Spanish or Spanglish in your forthcoming works? I know just enough textbook Spanish to say, ‘Tengo un gato malo en me pantolones.’
It will have a bit of Spanglish throw in and try to look also at her being of Bolivian descent, but I won’t abuse the Spanish asides and interjections!
7) Of course, I have to ask: Do you have a Cocker spaniel or two in your life?
Actually, that’s the irony. I don’t really like Cocker Spaniels. A friend of mine loaned me the idea of having a Cocker main hero (hence my dedication to C.E. in the book). She has Cockers and likes them; I prefer my Yorkies and half-beagle. Penny’s a beagle because my dog, Snoopy is (mostly).