Fun and Unknown Facts About Writing Shifter

Fun and Unknown Facts About Writing Shifter

In honor of my newest novel, Shifter, Book Two in the Valiant Series, being released July 1st, I thought I would share a few facts about writing the book that hasn’t been revealed anywhere else.

  • The size of Nsi’s village caused a great discussion between my husband and I. At the time, he and I were still dating and I remember having certain acres and amount of people listed in the scene but thought I should talk to him about it, since he is smarter than me at things like that. It turns out, my size was either too big or too small (I can’t remember which) and we had a long discussion trying to figure out what would be best. Then, my editor changed it when she was editing it anyway.
  • Beroan and his appearance was based on a character from a movie called Crazy Horse long time ago. The actor for Crazy Horse was played by Michael Greyeyes who is a really good Native American actor. When I wanted to make a character picture of Beroan, I actually took a picture of Michael Greyeyes and tried to give him a blonde tint to his hair (like Beroan has)
  • There is a scene toward the beginning of Shifter where Nsi encounters a little girl. Nsi mentions how the girl pronounces her name wrong and I did that on purpose to show and explain the correct way Nsi’s name is pronounced (nee-see).
  • I didn’t know the ending of Shifter until I wrote it. As I did, the ending few scenes felt as if they were correct and that that was the way Shifter was meant to end. And yes, I’m saying this while avoiding all spoilers.
  • The four types of breath that dragons can breathe (fire, frost, acid, and lightning) was inspired by the video game Skyrim. In it, different dragons shoot out different types of energy but fire and frost are most common. I didn’t want to be cliché or keep the exact same idea, so I added in lightning and acid because those two had never been used before.
  • Out of all the words I invented for the dragon clan’s language, I never thought of the way to say hello. I don’t know why.
  • Likewise, when I invented just a few words for the wolf clan, their version hello was the first one I made – translated into English as “greetings.”
  • Nsi’s escape from her village after the dragon attack was based off the song I See Fire by Ed Sheeran. Some of you may know that, but the fun fact you may not know is that when I wrote that scene, I challenged myself to make it read as if you can feel or almost hear the song playing. The scene wouldn’t be written well, in my eyes, if you couldn’t.
  • Gran (Nsi’s grandmother)’s name is actually Msi. It’s pronounced the same way as Nsi (me-see).
  • Without spoilers, one of the biggest twists in Shifter actually came from when I was writing a scene. One of the side characters made a comment to someone and this comment made me really puzzled. As I thought about his comment, the twist idea instantly came to me, to be revealed later in the book. Once readers know what the twist is, they might see this comment and think I did it on purpose to foreshadow it. I didn’t.
  • One of my favorite phrases in the dragon language is Ym-yah’h, pronounced yee-am-yah-eh-eet. Essentially, it means all will be well.
  • The images I have in my head for the characters aren’t exactly how they’re described or supposed to be. Sometimes my mind takes actors or actresses that are familiar to me and replaces what the characters are actually supposed to look like. It’s weird.
  • The story of the two moons is my favorite story and snippet in the entire book of Shifter (though my favorite scene is the boss fight)
  • The story of the two moons somewhat foreshadows an event later in Shifter.
  • In Shifter, when Nsi decided to leave, I had trouble figuring out why her grandmother and cousin would let her. Or why she would even want to. I wanted to make sure that it made perfect sense and didn’t seem unrealistic or random.
  • When I wrote Rallavast’s lines I used multiple s’s for the words that started with S. The multiple s’s were cut by my editor and instead, we edited the description to describe it.
  • When one of the characters was explaining the Shifter clans and how they worked, I had one of the other characters laugh at the idea of a unicorn clan. The reason why was because I thought it was ridiculous and I thought people would too. So if a character was laughing about it, maybe the readers wouldn’t judge it too harshly.
  • The names of the cat clan characters are all made up but Egyptian sounding. I did that even though I didn’t base their culture on Egyptians, just because cats were important in Egyptian culture.
  • The cat clan is actually called the Pride Clan in the book. I’m not sure why I just say cat clan any other time. Likewise the bird clan is called the Fowl Clan in the book. It sounds weird though.
  • Originally, I was going to include a clan strictly for dinosaur shapeshifters but I thought meshing the two would be slightly odd—fantasy and dinos. So instead, I just included a few vague ones like sabercats. Technically, according to shifter information not in the books, I consider pteradactils—flying dinosaurs—as a part of the thunderbird clan. Which is also another clan but it was unmentioned in the book. These, are now of course, not “canon” to the story anymore.
  • For the final one… Beroan and Nsi’s ship name is…


As a bonus fact: when Shifter was free to read on, it originally got over 30,000 reads!

Are you a book reader who needs something to hold your book open? Or maybe you need one of those little book lights so that you can see better? Maybe you’re just a fan of dragons, or want some cool swag from Shifter.

My giveaway on rafflecopter will give you a chance to win all of that; a book holder, book reading light, a toy dragon, a tote bag and puzzle of Shifter’s cover.

Enter the giveaway!

Oh and naturally, if you want to go ahead and pre-order Shifter, do so here. I’m hoping to get it to the best seller list, so every little bit helps!


Joanna White

I'm a Christian author with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing for Entertainment. I love God and my family and am passionate about writing Christian Fantasy. I'm a total nerd; I love Star Wars and video games and many other TV Shows.

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