From Outer Space to Shapeshifters – Writing My First Paranormal Series

- writing tips

Family Pride: Love and Challenges by Deborah A BaileyMy genre of choice is science fiction, even for my short stories. For a long time I’ve wanted to give the paranormal genre a try. So, I decided to start with the Family Pride paranormal romance series about lion shapeshifters.

Wolves are a popular staple of paranormal romance, and most shifter stories I’ve read have featured them.

I was considering going in that direction as well, that is until I saw a program on the Smithsonian network. It featured a pride of lions and followed them for a period of about three months.

After seeing that show, I knew I had to write about lion shifters. Of course it helped that the name of the series, Family Pride, had been in my mind all along!

Since I had some ideas about the storyline and the characters, my next steps were to create a fantasy world for my characters to live in. Would everyone know that shifters existed? What would their culture be like? How could I introduce all the elements without massive info dumps?

It was actually easy to answer those questions. In my story world the shifters are under the radar, which adds tension because they always have to be careful not to reveal who they are.

I paired a lion shifter hero with a human heroine. As she learned about the shifters, the reader would learn too. The conflict would arise as the relationship matured and the couple had to learn to balance between two worlds.

As far as the culture, I added some elements from real lions and mixed in some ideas of my own. Shifter lions live in prides run by powerful families. Like humans in the real world, they have lots of family drama. But for the most part their concern is to keep the family members protected and to ensure that the next generation of shifters uphold the family legacy.

The lion shifters in my series have traditions as well. In Family Pride: Love and Challenges and Family Pride: Blood Fever, Mac and Zora (the hero and heroine) take part in a mating ritual and an “introduction ceremony” (the equivalent of a wedding reception). Their mating ritual in Love and Challenges was particularly fun to write. But I won’t give away any spoilers – you’ll have to check it out for yourself!

Family Pride: Blood FeverIn science fiction, things must be possible or at least probable. But in fantasy there are no restrictions. At first it was hard to write a fantasy story because I kept wanting to explain what was happening in real-world terms.

But as I kept writing, it got easier to add more fantasy and let go of the need to explain it with science. That’s very obvious in Family Pride: Blood Fever, where paranormal elements drive the story.

The series will continue with book 3, Family Pride: Love and Legacy, which will feature one of the secondary characters. In that book, I’m introducing another shifter group and a bit of mythology from our world.

For instance in Egyptian mythology, the warrior goddess Sekhmet is usually depicted as a woman with the head of a lion. What a perfect character for a story about lion shifters!

What started out as an experiment in writing in a new genre has taught me a lot about creating fantasy worlds and making them plausible – even if they’re not possible (as far as we know). You never know where ideas will come from and how they can help you create fantastic new worlds.

I hope you’ll check out the series. It was a lot of fun to write.

Family Pride: Love and Challenges (Book 1)


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Family Pride: Blood Fever (Book 2)


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This post originally appeared on Kelli A Wilkins’ website.





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