I've never written a shapeshifter character before. It's an interesting change of pace -- minor pun intended. ;) But honestly, I've got to believe that even with the added benefit of changing physical forms, a hero is a hero.
He still has to be sexy, intelligent (Yes, that is a must), gentle with his heroine, tough on the villain, and maybe even a little tough on himself. What else does a hero possibly need? To give him an extra gift -- or maybe curse -- only adds to the drama unfolding. It gives us another conflict that has to be overcome.
Not too far off from real life, isn't it? We all have 'gifts' and 'curses'. Things we have to live with or without. We all have conflict. Life without conflict is impossible unless you're either very deluded or living in a vacuum. Conflict can help us grow even though it causes pain.
But I think that's why so many people love to read -- and why so many love romance. If there's one thing you can count on in a true romance, it's that there will be a happy ending. The "HAPPILY EVER AFTER" fairytale finish that we don't always get in the real world. So we like to read about flawed heroes and heroines... ones with obstacles to overcome. We need someone to cheer on to victory ... confident that the writer will somehow make it work out in the end. The good guys win and love prevails. We need that, because it gives us a little bit of hope, perhaps. Not to mention a small hour or two of escape from the turmoil in our own lives.
Although having a hero who can shift at will from man to beast is a new experience for me, it's not as difficult as I first thought. He seems to relish the power I've given him -- it has completed his personality, his backstory and his conflict.
Just one more thing to figure out ... What happens to his clothes?
LOL! Yes, I am the practical one. ;)