Full Moon of Werewolves: There’s a werewolf born every minute by Lori Handeland

April 21, 2009 | Werewolves | 31 comments

Full Moon of Werewolves Schedule

About today’s guest: Lori Handeland

Lori Handeland has written over forty novels, novellas and short stories in several genres—historical, contemporary, series and paranormal romance, as well as urban fantasy—for such publishers as: Dorchester, Kensington, Harlequin, St. Martin’s Press, Harper-Collins and Simon and Schuster.

She is a New York Times, USA Today, Waldenbooks and Bookscan Bestselling Author and the recipient of many industry awards, including two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America.

Or at least one in every culture. Did you know that every culture has a shapeshifter legend, which is what makes it so fun and fascinating for me to mine them all for my books? I like to twist and turn actual legends, combine them with others, and add a little of my own imagination to come up with a villain, or sometimes a hero or heroine.

For instance, in Hunter’s Moon, the second book in my Nightcreature series, I used the Ojibwe legend of the Weendigo—a shapeshifter with an insatiable hunger for human flesh. The more it eats, the larger it becomes and the more it needs to eat.

In Dark Moon I borrowed the Ojibwe legend of the Witchie Wolves. The legend states that a spirit animal–half wolf/half man protects the graves of Ojibwe warriors from desecration.

When I moved the series to New Orleans I studied the legends of the people there—the French, the Spanish, the Cajun and the Africans.

In Crescent Moon, I made use of the French legend of the loup-garou, twisting it a bit to fit into the Cajun tradition found all over New Orleans. In my legend a loup-garou is cursed not bitten, which creates some interesting issues.

In the next book, Midnight Moon, due to the devastation in New Orleans after Katrina, I moved the setting to Haiti and made use of the rich legends of voodoo. The Haitians tell tales of the egbo, a leopard society from deepest Africa, which was used to keep the slaves in line by actually turning into leopards on occasion

For Rising Moon, the final book in the New Orleans/voodoo trilogy, I investigated the voodoo legend of the lougaro, a shape-shifting sorcerer, who can become anything he desires.

The final two books in the Nightcreature series were set in the mountains of Georgia. In the first, Hidden Moon, the heroine must deal with strange animals haunting her town, which oddly enough show up along with a band of Gypsies. The Rom have a legend of the strigoi de lup, or Romanian sorcerer. Usually a pretty young woman in a white dress, she is said to lead the wolves. In some legends she does this by becoming one beneath the light of the moon. She protects her identity by killing anyone who sees her in that form and talks about it.

For Thunder Moon, I studied the Cherokee Legend of the Kalanu Ahyeli’-ski or the Raven Mocker. The Raven Mocker robs the dying of life. Flying through the night with arms outstretched trailing sparks, the raven mocker announces its approach with a horrible shriek. The Raven Mocker eats the victim’s heart, stealing whatever days the person had left on the Earth.
Because I learned so much about shape-shifters while writing the Nightcreature Novels, I had no problem continuing the fun in my new Urban Fantasy series, The Phoenix Chronicles.

In the first book, ANY GIVEN DOOMSDAY (November 2008) we meet Sawyer, a Navajo skinwalker. Skinwalkers are both witch and shape-shifter, one of the most powerful beings in Navajo lore.

We also meet Jimmy Sanducci, a dhampir—half vampire, half human, able to “feel” vampires and possessing the uncanny ability to kill them. The dhampir is a Gypsy legend.

I had so much fun adding beserkers—Norse shifters-sometimes bears, sometimes wolves, Budas—hyena shifters and so on to ANY GIVE DOOMSDAY, that when it came time to write the second novel, DOOMSDAY CAN WAIT (available April 28, 2009) I kept it up.

In DCW you’ll meet the Nay’i, another Navajo spirit—a witch who controls fire, smoke and lightning—as well as many of the characters from the first novel. The heroine, Liz Phoenix, a psychic ex-cop who is trying to stop Doomsday—the end of the world—from happening on her watch, with the help of the two men in her life—Sawyer and Jimmy.

There are some great books that explore all these legends and you can find a list on my website under the “resources” tab at the bottom of the home page.

Tell me, do you prefer your supernatural legends to be completely made up or based in fact? What draws you to shape-shifter books? What is it that you love about them?

Buy Lori’s books:


  1. kanarytx

    I like shape shifters based on fact,and at times a tiny bit of make believe. What draws me to them, is the facts and the made up parts that put them in our world. Writers that can make them seem so real, you can see them fading into our world,(thats the made up part, that they are real).
    Also when you are drawn into their lives as if you know them.

  2. Becky Ward

    What a great post. I knew every culture had a shapeshifter legend, but you mention some that I have not heard of before. I will have to check out your resources page.
    I like to have my supernatural legends to be both. I love reading about legends that are based on fact, which keeps that legend alive. I also like it when legends are made up because some of the legends that are imagery sound so real that you what to believe that they exist too.

  3. Lori Handeland

    That’s the way I usually create my creatures, Kan. Research plus make believe. Later, I have a hard time remembering which was which!

    Thanks, Becky. Glad you enjoyed the info. I love finding obscure legends and “living” with them while I write a book. It’s so interesting.

  4. bobbi

    Thanks for the post, Lori! What an interesting creature history, and I just took a peek at your resource list, too. Wow. sometimes research is an interesting as writing.

    Thanks again – and Lori, the other one ;) – thanks for a month of werewolves, what every girl needs to get through the last days of winter in WI.

  5. Zita Hildebrandt

    I believe that the legends have changed so much over the generations from telling and re-telling that any changes writers make are not only fine, but perfectly within the tradition. I suspect that, like the kids game of telephone that we all played, today’s legends bear only some resemblance to the original stories. It would be interesting to be able to go back in time to hear the first telling of these stories, don’t you think?


  6. Kate Douglas

    April 28 is just one week away, ya know! I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the Doomsday series, and I loved every single one of your werewolf stories–you’ve got almost an entire shelf in my “keeper books” section–and I even found a really old Harlequin of yours awhile back. I’m definitely a fan.

  7. Samantha Hunter

    Hi Lori — I just started reading Blue Moon on recommendation from a friend, and I’m loving it so far. Can’t wait to read more. :)

    I enjoy shifter stories if there is some basis in factual legends or histories, and for me, it’s the exploration of the wilder animal nature of our human selves that makes them attractive.

    But there’s a delicate balance there, that I have read some shifter books that went a *leetle* to far into the animal nature side of things, and that’s when I kind of lose interest. I enjoy that the shifter enhances or elaborates what’s human, if that makes any sense, but I don’t like if there’s too much “animal” (characters having puppies instead of babies or acting too much like animals in the more basic ways) — like the quote from a movie from a few years ago “You can love your pet, you just can’t LOVE your pet,” LOL.

    Looking very much forward to your books,


  8. Lori Handeland

    I agree, Bobbi. Love the research. Are you getting any snow today? We aren’t here and they’re promising 80 degrees by Friday. Ha!

    Zita-I too would love to be a fly on the tepee wall and hear some of the original legends. I bet they’d be totally different.

  9. Lori Handeland

    Hey, Kate!! Thanks so much. I can’t wait until this book comes out. I love everything about it and I’m hoping the readers do too.

    Hi, Sam. Glad you’re enjoying Blue Moon and hope you like the others too. I agree about the delicate balance. It’s a fine line and what works for some doesn’t for others.

  10. Colleen

    I love the creativity an author brings to their books. Whether based on legend or made-up, the story has to be enjoyable and the author needs to keeps my attention. Thanks for sharing with us today! :D

  11. Ashley Madden

    I like my legends a bit of both. It’s interesting to learn what legends different cultures have come up with. It’s also great when some are made up, because there’s no limit to a person’s imagination.

  12. Lori Handeland

    Nice to be here, Colleen. Thanks for stopping by.
    It’s interesting because two different authors could take the same legend and come up with a completely different world. That’s the fun of it.

    Ashley–I’ve found it interesting to compare the similarities in a lot of legends. For instance, there are many creation legends that mimic the Old Testament. I can’t tell you how many versions of the flood I’ve read!

  13. Carmen R

    I enjoy both based on fact and made up legends. The fun of making up one is it may become a well know legend in it’s self.

  14. Jody F.

    As long as an author sticks throughout their whole series to the edicts that they place on their paranormal creatures initially (like if you say they can’t go out during the day, don’t change that later on), then I’m okay with it being made up or based on legend.

    And I love the atmosphere of these kinds of books. They’re wild and exciting.

  15. Estella

    Fact based or fiction—I like them all.
    I have enjoyed all of your books and am looking forward to DCW.

  16. Venus Cahill

    Great post!
    I can’t wait to pick up Any Given Doomsday.

  17. Lori Handeland

    Good point, Carmen and wouldn’t that be fun!

    Jody–I always get freaked out if something changes when I’m reading a book. I think I remembered it wrong and spend too much time backtracking.

    Thanks, Estella and Venus!! Hope you enjoy DCW.

  18. Jamie

    I enjoy either one in a good read. I enjoy shape shifters because they are just so dam sexy!! lol

  19. stacey smith

    I must say that i like it bout ways.i like all kinds of paranormal books cant wait to get Any given Doomsday I just love all the other books i have by you.

  20. Linda

    Hi Lori, I beginning to feel like a stalker, I am following you all over the net. As I have been telling you for years, I love your characters. I like the fact you blend fact with legend and pure fantasy. I am so looking forward to your new Doomsday book. I will miss the people from your Moon series and I hope you re-visit them at some point. See you on TGB evlqn.

  21. Lori Handeland

    What’s sexy about them for you, Jamie?

    Thanks, Stacey. Hope you like DCW!

    Hey, Linda/Evlqn! We’re traveling all over the web hey?

  22. ann marie

    Hi Lori,
    Thanks for the great post, I will have to go back and check out your resource page. I like a mixture of fact and fiction. If the story is to way out there then I will start skipping pages and I get turned off with the book. I love reading books where I can envision the world that the author has written. Now I am off to finish reading Any Giving Doomsday. :D

  23. Barb P

    Hi Lori! Fantastic post! I have really enjoyed reading on Lori’s Full Moon of Werewolves month, all of the blog posters ideas of where they get their stories from. I too hope that you visit your MOON series sometime again in the future. I have read and enjoyed all of your books, and you are always on my TBB list.

  24. bridget3420

    I like a little of both. I like shapeshifters because it would be so neat to be able to morph into something. I’m not sure why I’m so drawn to the paranormal stuff. I just can’t get enough of it!

  25. shannel james

    hey lori amazing blog can’t get enough of the night creatures it’s fasinating and it get’s me pumped up find out what happens next in the books. i like both fact and fiction because it gives you something to think about in this world today the history the legends from all over the wrold it’s amazing to find that something that man didn’t drive to extinction. like a secert society that you and a few others know about. it’s cool and makes you want to learn more. SO. keep it up lori you never know when the real thing comes knoking at your door . :D :D :oohh: :oohh:

  26. Pam P

    I like both, partly based on fact and the fiction, just make it somewhat believable or imaginable to us, and I’m all forit.

  27. flip

    I love both. I love a fresh take on an old archetype and I love a traditional view. It is refreshing to have a mix of old folktales placed in a modern setting.

  28. Ley

    As long as the author is consistent, and of course builds a believable world, whether the characters are based in legend, fact, or complete fantasy, I’ll read it! :-)

  29. Jackie B

    Either way, I love supernatural legends, but it makes it more interesting when they’re based on fact. It shows how much effort the author put into the story and gives me an excuse to research. : )

  30. Karin

    I think I like to have a little of reality, or as real as the legends and myths are, mixed in with the made up parts of the stories. There’s just something about the fact that the myths and legends can be found across cultures that draws me to them.


  1. Daily News About America : Best links about America of Tuesday, 21 April 2009 13:17 - [...] Full Moon of Werewolves: There’s a werewolf born every minute by Lori Handeland [...]