2011/2012 Feature Book of the Week #5
Shifter by Janice Hardy

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Nya is an orphan struggling for survival in a city crippled by war. She is also a Taker—with her touch, she can heal injuries, pulling pain from another person into her own body. But unlike her sister, Tali, and the other Takers who become Healers' League apprentices, Nya's skill is flawed: She can't push that pain into pynvium, the enchanted metal used to store it. All she can do is shift it into another person, a dangerous skill that she must keep hidden from forces occupying her city. If discovered, she'd be used as a human weapon against her own people. 

Rumors of another war make Nya's life harder, forcing her to take desperate risks just to find work and food. She pushes her luck too far and exposes her secret to a pain merchant eager to use her shifting ability for his own sinister purposes. At first Nya refuses, but when Tali and other League Healers mysteriously disappear, she's faced with some difficult choices. As her father used to say, principles are a bargain at any price; but how many will Nya have to sell to get Tali back alive? (Publisher's summary from Goodreads)


Hi guys! I’m so excited to be part of your Book Battle this year. I wish they had these when I was in school.

People always ask me where I got the idea for my trilogy, The Healing Wars, especially the first book, The Shifter. How did I ever come up with shifting pain from person to person? Well, it was actually inspired by a movie.

I went to see the first X-Men movie, and Rogue is my favorite surperhero of all time. (If you don’t know, her power is that she accidentally steals other heroes’ powers when she touches them) After the movie, I started thinking about stealing things from people by touch, and that led to me wondering what would happen if someone could heal by accidentally bumping into people. Would they feel all the injuries they healed? Get sick? What would they do with it afterward?

I wrote up a ten-page outline for this story and it was terrible. I mean really, really bad. So I stuffed it in a drawer and forgot about it for years. But one day I found it again, and while the story idea was still ghastly, the idea of taking someone’s pain stuck with me. I kept thinking about pain and healing, and suddenly realized I’d rarely seen anyone portray healing as anything but good before. What if it could be used for evil as well? Could there be a dark side to healing? What would be the consequences?

I couldn’t stop thinking about this. I knew my hero for the book had to be a healer, but how was she unique? What made her different from “normal” healers?  And thus Nya was born, a girl who could heal, but only by shifting pain from person to person. She wanted to help others, but her skill was better used to hurt people, so to help one she had to hurt someone else.

Once I had Nya and knew how her powers worked it was easy to put her into the story and get her into trouble. Because stories are all about interesting people, solving interesting problems in interesting ways.

I hope Nya’s story (and her problems) are as much fun for you to read as they were for me to write.

Battle on!


Janice Hardy always wondered about the darker side of healing. For her fantasy trilogy THE HEALING WARS, she tapped into her own dark side to create a world where healing was dangerous, and those with the best intentions often made the worst choices. Her books include THE SHIFTER, and BLUE FIRE. DARKFALL, the final book of the trilogy, is due out October 4, 2011. She lives in Georgia with her husband, three cats and one very nervous freshwater eel. You can visit her online at www.janicehardy.com, chat with her about writing on her blog, The Other Side of the Story (http://blog.janicehardy.com/), or find her on Twitter @Janice_Hardy.

A warm thanks to Janice Hardy for the lovely guest post written especially to all of our book battle teams. Shifter is a wonderful book and I hope you all enjoy reading it as you get ready to strut your stuff this May.

2 Delicious Comments:

Anonymous said...

I love your book. Thanks for writing it.

Anonymous said...

North Middle!
I love it even more now that I know you were einspired by Rogue! Now that I think about it Nya and Rogue share a difficult struggle! I LOVED YOUR BOOK!

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