What inspired you?
Right from the earliest age, I'd always been fascinated by animals and in
particular by unusual ones. But cryptozoology didn't enter my life significantly
until my early teens, when my mother, Mary Shuker, bought as a birthday present
for me a copy of the 1972 Paladin paperback edition of Bernard Heuvelmans's
classic cryptozoology book On the Track of Unknown Animals. Once I'd read that,
I was totally hooked on the subject, and re-read it so many times that I could
quote great chunks of it. I later bought the bigger, unabridged edition that
contained a few extra chapters, as well as his book on sea serpents, and during
my spare time during sixth form and university I began amassing an archive of
magazine articles, books, and newspaper cuttings re mystery animals of every
kind. When I obtained my PhD in zoology, I decided to try my hand at becoming a
full-time writer and media consultant specialising in cryptozoology, and in 1989
my first book, Mystery Cats of the World, was published and was a big success. I
now have 20 published books to my name and countless articles, most of them on
cryptozoology, and have just completed my 21st book.
What are your aims?
My primary aim with my cryptozoology career has always been to investigate
and document lesser-known mystery beasts. There are so many researchers and
publications re bigfoot, yeti, Loch Ness monster, etc, so I've always aimed to
publicise the more obscure examples, uncovering long-forgotten reports in early
travelogues, little-known periodicals, and so forth, so my books and articles
cover many cryptids that you won't find in other published works. Of course,
with the internet a lot of my work gets copied by others online without even
giving me the courtesy of a reference, but those who read my publications know
that mine are the origin of these online coverages, so that's all that really
matters. Also, I now have my own award-winning blog, ShukerNature (at: www.karlshuker.blogspot.com), where I regularly post new or
updated articles of mine on a vast range of subjects, not just cryptozoology but
also other animal anomalies and mysteries, and it attracts numerous viewers
every day. There are almost 400 articles on my blog at present, and one of them
alone, on black lions, has attracted almost a million hits since I posted it
less than 2 years ago.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are to write more books and articles - I have lots of
ideas in mind, though obviously I'd prefer not to go into details publicly just
in case someone else steals them and gets a book or article out on the same
subject before I do! I can say, however, that the book I have just completed and
which will be published by CFZ Press later this year is my third compilation
volume of extraordinary animals, containing a varied mix of mystery animals,
mythological animals, and bizarre known animals. It's called The Menagerie of
Marvels. So look out for that one soon!
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