While very few people have read my first novel (I pulled it down for editing… Kate is not an editor, as my long time readers know very, very well), most people who read this blog are at least passingly familiar with my shorts, novellas, and webcomic.
I have a few themes that all unite and permeate my work: Found family, doing the right thing, and wolves.
I chose werewolves who turn into wolves and not hybrids for a reason. And then there’s the Pack in my novels, who all have wolf tattoos.
Okay, in all seriousness, wolves have an intriguing and complex metaphysical existence in our culture.
Our ancestors were terrified of them, for good reason. While wolves are not people-eaters on the regular, when winters got long and hard, they would absolutely hunt people. And our livestock was always fair game. More than fair. Penned up animals can’t get away.
Wolves are also scary because we recognize ourselves in them. Not just a family structure that works together, but how they hunt. Wolves aren’t quite as tough as people, but they can do the same persistence hunting thing that we do. Tough bastard recognizes tough bastard.
But as we built cities and moved away from rural life, our fear turned to mysticism and respect. Suddenly wolves weren’t big and bad, but noble and wise.
My personal fascination with wolves started in the third grade. My sister (Likely sick of me bugging her. The best way to shut me up is to give me something to read) gave me a copy of Julie of the Wolves.
Then in middle school, I played the Big Bad Wolf in ballet class for two years.
In high school, I discovered that neighbor owned a wolf hybrid, Sierra. Since he worked swing shifts, I happily volunteered to help him with his animals (he had a lot more than just Sierra). I learned first hand how shy, caring, and deadly a wolf can be. I’ve owned dogs my whole life, but you don’t know how scary a canine is until you see one run down a rabbit.
Dangerous, yet loyal. Beautiful and deadly, but also hunted and vulnerable. Family animals, that can and will take off on their own if they need to. Wolves are great fodder for the imagination.
As an adult, I’ve maintained my fascination with them. My second tattoo was a wolf, and my husband about died when I ran through Paws and Claws, dragging our kids along with me) to find the howling wolves. Turns out they were Australian singing dogs, but yeah… I love wolves.
So, when I started writing about deadly people, who are little rough around the edges, but always come together when it counts, wolves seemed like the perfect vehicle to represent them.
When I created my werewolves, straight up wolves seemed felt more scary and realistic. Most people don’t recognize wolves when they see one these days. I didn’t recognize Sierra as a wolf. My neighbor had to tell me. I just wanted to pet the big, friendly, obviously Shepard-mix dog. So imagine a wolf, an animal that can run down a rabbit, with a human brain…
Yes, I do love me some wolves. Big and bad or noble and wise, or simple apex predators, they are fascinating creatures that shaped our world.
So, now that I’ve waxed philosophical on my favorite animal motif… I have editing to do. *eyes Red Witch with a sigh*