Sunday, October 06, 2013

Dog-shifting Librarians

Author Amber Polo enjoys incorporating serious issues, research, and humor into her fiction, and she was my guest on "Crazy Tuesday" ( ) to talk about her Shapeshifters' Library series. The show can be heard "On Demand" for the rest of this year.

I put my foot in it immediately by asking what Amber Polo's extensive experience with doggy Obedience Training brings to her writing about romances between shapeshifters who happen to be part-time dogs. I was hoping that Amber might compare and contrast leash-and-collar wearing, and themes of dominance and submission.

Not so fast. Amber's dogs are closer to The Lady And The Tramp than to anything Dark Castle, and obedience training is more about understanding how dogs think than alpha/beta/top-dog machinations. Moreover, Amber hasn't (or hadn't) heard of the British dog trainer Victoria Stilwell and the series It's Me Or The Dog.... but no matter. The love affairs are all dog-on-dog (or dog-shifter on dog-shifter) so there is nothing to offend any gentle reader. However, Amber Polo offers interesting insights into how an author can build a plausible world where the shape-shifters retain human consciousness (at least in POV), even in dog form.

Once a librarian, Amber opines that dogs and librarians have a great many traits in common. They are smart, resourceful, persistent, and fun, for instance. Her villains, to date, are werewolves whose goal is to ban all anthropomorphic books. The werewolves' career paths are more varied, but still logical choices for bibliophobes.
Their day jobs include banking, demolition, armed forces, and architecture.

Apparently, according to Amber Polo, a librarian's greatest enemy is the person in charge of the purse strings.... funding.
We discussed guidelines for the suspension of disbelief. For instance, if an imaginary location is necessary to the plot, perhaps it can be based on a germ of truth, for example, a real Mississippi island further downstream. Location is important, especially real locations for anchoring the reader, and one of Amber Polo's favorite settings is the Chaco Canyon.

The third novel in the series, "Recovered" features a female greyhound. A couple of print copies are being offered in a GoodReads giveaway to members (membership is free) of, as long as the members reside in the USA. The draw is Oct 15th. All authors who run giveaways hope very much that readers who enjoy the book will take a few moments to write a review.

All the best,

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a fun series! I'm presently rereading some of the books in Susan Conant's dog mystery series. Like the heroine of her novels, Conant breeds and shows Alaskan Malamutes, so the books are packed with information about breed and obedience showing and other dog-related subjects. If Amber Polo's books contain similar material, I'm sure I would like them. And librarians for heroes, what a great idea.