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Erin Hunter goes from cats to dogs in 'Survivors'

The latest animal fantasy series by the writing team that goes by the name of Erin Hunter sets its sight on the dog pack in 'Survivors: The Empty City.'

August 26, 2012|By Susan Carpenter | Los Angeles Times
  • Author Gillian Philip's "Survivors" will be about dogs.
Author Gillian Philip's "Survivors" will be about dogs. (Noleen Smith / Harper Collins )

Erin Hunter, author of the best-selling fantasy cat clan series "Warriors," is going canine with a six-book companion series about dogs. "Survivors," launched last week, follows a lone dog whose circumstances force him to join a pack. Like "Warriors," "Survivors" will be penned by a team of authors who write under the name Erin Hunter. We caught up with Gillian Philip — the Erin Hunter who wrote the series kickoff "Survivors: The Empty City."

Why follow a series about cats with another animal fantasy series about dogs?

Dogs just felt like a natural progression. There's so much to explore in canine relationships, with the whole pack structure and the alpha/omega thing. It's got this complex social structure, but at the same time it's a relationship a lot of us are watching every day in our own families.

The main character in "Survivors" is a lone dog named Lucky. Is that an attempt to be relatable to young readers struggling to fit in?

The fitting in thing is one aspect of what we explore through Lucky. It's especially relevant to kids who are just growing up and finding their place in the world and at the same time keeping hold of their own identity. That's something we explore through Lucky and his conflict as the lone wolf character, who's an oddity in the pack structure. It's that lovely contradiction: A lone dog who's almost going against his own nature.

Why are animal fantasies so intriguing to children?

Partly it's the animals themselves. So many kids love cats or dogs or bears or horses or whatever. They get to see a detailed world through a favorite animal's eyes, but they're also getting those human emotions. The kinship, loyalty, rivalry, enmity and ambition and things like that, so you're getting all that in the context of an animal world, and it's animals kids can really relate to. They're familiar domesticated animals living on their own terms, not under human rules.

susan.carpenter@latimes.com

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