Interview with Nina Berry

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Nina Berry is the author of Otherkin. You can find more information about Nina Berry at her blog. You can read my review of Otherkin here.

Let’s start with some ice breakers:

Celebrity crush?

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the actor who plays Jaime Lannister on Game of Thrones. Normally I prefer dark-haired men, and Jaime’s not a nice man, but Nikolaj (yes, I call him Nikolaj even though we have never met) is so smart, and seems devoted to his wife. Brains + integrity = hot!

 

Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate, please.

 

Favorite vacation spot? Ooh, tough one. Either cruising down the Nile or eating anywhere in Italy.

 

The Hunger Games or The Mortal Instruments?

The Mortal Instruments! Not that I don’t love a girl with a bow.

 

Now let’s get down to business:

Describe your book in three words. Ready. Set. Go!

Action, friendship, tiger!

 

What made you decide to make Dez’s shifter form a tiger?

First, because tigers are so damned cool. Scientists label them a “charismatic animal” for a reason.

And second, because I wanted to explore Dez’s feelings of anger and aggression, and for her to learn what it means to be a leader. So the animal needed to be an apex predator, and after reading John Vaillant’s amazing non-fiction book THE TIGER, I knew that nobody rules their world like a tiger. In THE TIGER, a real-life wounded Siberian tiger hunts down the man who shot him. He then doesn’t just assassinate the man, he tries to wipe every trace of him from the face of the earth. It’s an astonishing story, and it made me want to explore just how much tigers and humans have in common.

It also strengthened my determination to do what I could to help tigers in the wild. We owe it to future generations not to see this extraordinary creature disappear from its natural habitats. Anyone else who’s interested in that should check out Panthera.org, a wonderful non-profit dedicated to ensuring the future of wild cats.

 

What inspired you to write Otherkin?

Two seemingly separate things collided. The first is that I had to wear a back brace when I was a teenager, and I wanted to write something about how that affected my self image. (Hint: it didn’t do it much good!)

The second was that much later in life I played a game of Dungeons & Dragons (insert a cry of “Geek!” here) where my character was a were-tiger thief. She was tough and confident about her body because she had to deal with her clothes getting shredded all the time. I loved playing her.

Then the two characters collided in my head, and I wondered – what if I’d learned I could shapeshift into a tiger when I had the back brace? How would that have changed my feelings about my body? And what kind of cool adventures would I have?

So it’s counter-intuitive to say that this story about a girl who shapeshifts into a tiger has roots in my life, but that’s the truth. Of course, it grew and changed just a wee bit from there.

 

What can we expect from the second book in the series, Othermoon?

Othermoon is darker, more desperate. The Tribunal still very much exists, and their plans are way bigger and more dangerous than Dez and her friends could imagine. We also learn a lot more about Dez and her mysterious history, as well as more about the lives of her friends. And her enemies. A number of relationships escalate to new levels.

 

Will a second love interest be introduced or is Dez strictly about Caleb?

So you want spoilers, ey? Well, let’s just say that Dez and Caleb’s relationship gets very complicated because she makes some questionable choices when the chips are down. It’s not about someone else, really. It’s about trust. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t someone else out there stirring the pot a bit more. Someone you would never suspect.

 

How many books are going to be in the Otherkin series?

Three are currently planned, but I could see branching out to do stories about other shifter characters. I have a thing for stories about for thieving types, and November (she’s a rat-shifter) could get herself into a lot of trouble that way…

 

Do you have any plans for what you’re going to write after the Otherkin series is finished?

I have two very different ideas percolating in my brain for the next series. One is a thriller, with no fantasy elements. The other one is more historical, with a touch of the paranormal. But first things first – I still have to write book 3 in the Otherkin series!

 

What is currently in your To-Be-Read pile?

So many books, so little time. Can’t wait to start CLOCKWORK PRINCE. I’m also eager to read Brigid Kemmerer’s second book, SPARK, which will be out soon.

 

On the adult book side of the world, I’m looking forward to A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES (yes, I’m behind, the sequel’s already out!) and THE MAGICIAN KING. I adored THE MAGICIANS but haven’t had time to read the second book yet.

I’m currently eating up Tana French’s amazing mystery THE LIKENESS. So I want to read all the other books she’s written too.

I’m planning a trip to Ukraine next spring to visit some friends living there, so I need to get a book that will help me learn a few Ukrainian phrases. Part of the fun of travel is the anticipation, so I’m already thumbing through the Lonely Planet guide to Ukraine.