When I talk about the Ushers, people are really excited about the idea of werewolves and the mythology, and all this paranormal “stuff,” which I love, and I love talking about! One of the things that I decided early on was that my Weres, and the the vampire society of First Blood, would be “born that way” and not “made” or “turned.”
Some have pointed out that this closes down one avenue for conflict in the story, and while that is true, I don’t really mind, because it opens up avenues for a different sort of conflict.
To turn or not to turn is a conflict many authors have handled, some really beautifully (Eden Bradley’s Midnight Playground series, for example), and my decision to make this a non-issue in my books is not a rejection of typical vamp/were lore so much as it’s a desire to explore another side of it.
The predominant theme in the Ushers is societal change, and oh-boy-oh-boy do we have a lot of that to tackle without even touching the fangs. Right now, our culture here in the US is entrenched in a social war for civil rights: simply being “the wrong sort” of human (in other words, non-white, female, gay, trans) is a minefield some days.
Taking the issue of change, and how fear of change impacts the Were society on a macro level is the focus, and later, when First Blood comes on the scene, fear of Other becomes part of it. By having almost no humans in the series, I can tackle these issues in a society completely outside of our own, which gives me a huge freedom to explore.
Do you have a favorite “take” on the turning versus non-turning paranormals? I’d love to hear about it, please share in the comments!