BTB: Books by Allie Ritch

Behind the Books: Switching Positions, Husbandry, Tribal Shift

Switching Positions, the first novella I published with Loose Id, was inspired by a conversation with a friend. We were discussing how hard it is to be a woman in today’s society, and that got me thinking about the difficulties men also face. How would I feel if I were the one expected to make the first move, pop the question, serve as the main breadwinner, etc.? Today, women are taking over a lot of these roles, but these tasks are still predominantly expected of men. The next thing I knew, I was writing a story about a planet where gender roles are reversed and the heroine is trying to make a relationship work with an off-world man. My editor encouraged me with a lot of the world building and details, and so Switching Positions was born.

The inspiration for my books often starts small like this. Husbandry, my first novel-length work with Loose Id, was inspired by a comment from a family member who suggested all women should have more than one husband—one to be a good provider and father and another to be romantic. We women are multifaceted, so why shouldn’t we have a man for every occasion? That’s exactly what Fila gets in Husbandry with her three genetically identical husbands, Chuck, Chad, and Charles.

Tribal Shift arose from my love of nature. The variety of shapes and sizes and colors that animals come in never ceases to amaze me. I thought it would be great to see a shifter who could change into almost any animal rather than just one, so I created Kalya, who is an omnimorph. And wouldn’t a rare shifter like her have trouble finding a mate? Or making a relationship work with a regular shifter who could only turn into, say, a cat? Then the first line came to me, as if the hero had whispered it in my ear: “Kalya, my catling.” And just as clearly, I could imagine the heroine snarling back at him, “I am neither a cat, nor am I yours.” I didn’t know where I was going with the plot when I started, but I was sure of those two lines. The entire story flowed from there.

Muses surround me in the form of people I meet and things I see. There’s really no predicting where inspiration will strike next and where my imagination will take me. I’m grateful to all the readers who give my work a chance and come along for the ride.

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