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Monday, September 10, 2012

Guest Post: Rooting for the Underdog by J. Bridger

J. Bridger presented the book Shifted Perspective to me with the tagline "What would you do with what you believed was the world's lamest ability?" This resonated with me because I'd been wondering lately about all the characters who are incredibly special. After all, if everyone is special, no one is. There have to be a lot of other characters who are not so special to support these all these people with amazing abilities and powers. What about their story? I have a novel on the back burner about just that subject, but J. Bridger's Shifted Perspective comes out today, so I was keen to ask what motivated the author to write a book about someone who is definitely not the Alpha Dog.

Why I Chose a “Loser” Character

I love a Chosen One. I do. I was an obsessive Buffy fan for years, and of course I’ve read Harry Potter and watched the films. It’s cool to see someone who is the in-charge type, the one who has epic prophecies all about them. You want to imagine yourself as the best, the enhanced warrior or The Boy Who Lived and is destined to stop evil. Who wouldn’t want to daydream about secretly being that special?

That said, I wanted to point out two things about Buffy and Harry. Buffy subverted the Chosen One archetype by sharing her power with every potential slayer in the series’ finale, thus creating a group of possibly thousands of other heroines out there with shared strength. Similarly, Order of the Phoenix started really creating the idea that Harry was important because Voldemort made him so in his own mind. After all, wasn’t Neville, who eventually destroys Nagini, the final horcrux, also born in July? It’s ironic to me that two of the most famous “special heroes” in recent pop culture either decided to share power or might not have been so fated overall.

This brings me to my own story, Shifted Perspective. I made the choice here not to have Caleb Byrne be anything special. He’s a late bloomer at best and never shape shifted until he was seventeen, which is far, far older than the average canine shifter or werewolf. Even as a shape shifter, all he can become is a Cocker Spaniel, which isn’t powerful or dangerous. Often, Caleb laments that couldn’t he at least have been a Doberman or a German shepherd. You know, something with bite? 

So why would I go this route when the story could have had the Alpha’s son as the protagonist or someone in the pack who’s top dog? Well, I think that I wanted to do something a bit different and also subversive in the same way that Buffy and Harry turned out to be. I’ve never been much of a fatalist. I think people end up making their own destinies and all the prophecies in the world don’t mean a thing if you work hard enough to change them. Besides, we always root for the underdog and want to see him succeed. I hope readers feel that way about Caleb, too.

-- J. Bridger

Shifted Perspective is available at Amazon and Smashwords. Be sure to visit J. Bridger's blog for more about this unique series.