FAQ: Why Werewolves?

August 7, 2007

I honestly didn’t think I had anything new to say about vampires. Werewolves on the other hand have been sadly neglected. I felt like I had a lot more to work with.

One of the cool things about writing werewolves, I’ve discovered, is the ability to pick and choose what traits I want them to have. I think that’s the key to writing werewolves — at least werewolves in my universe. I look at them as being a scale rather than either/or. On one side of the scale is wolf, on the other is human. Some werewolves fall a little closer to wolf, some are a little closer to human.

But the really, really cool thing is both wolves and humans are highly individualistic. So the wolf end and human end of the scale is going to be different for every werewolf. Instead of the standard Jekyll and Hyde werewolf template that has saturated film and literature for the last hundred years, where the whole point of the werewolf has been about losing control of the inner beast, can’t control the monster within, yadda yadda stereotype, I have a whole world of individual werewolves to play with.


I’ve done quite a bit of reading on wolves, and wolves have many personalities. As a result, depending on what combination of personalities you get, every pack is different. This is very cool as well. It means I can keep werewolves in Kitty’s world interesting, rather than using the cookie cutter monster template.


No. I have a whole list of proscribed songs, mostly because they’re too obvious. Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf” is on the list. The Shangri-La’s “Leader of the Pack” is right on the edge. Pretty much anything with “wolf” in the title will probably not ever end up on a playlist. But I did use The Beatles’ “Hey Bulldog” on playlist #4. Is that close enough?

I’ve been promising a chatty FAQ on my website, and I figured this might be a good way to do it. I’ll add as inspiration strikes.

Is that me on the covers? No. I think there’s this thing that happens where all blonds look the same from the back. It’s like you say someone’s a blond and you don’t have to say anything else about them. Also, I wonder sometimes if I was part of a secret government cloning program (ala Mildred Ames’s Anna to the Infinite Power), because I’m always being told, “I have a cousin who looks just like you!” So who knows. The artist, Craig White, uses a model for the covers. Maybe she’s one of those cousins.


A related question that I’ve been asked a few times: how similar am I to Kitty? And that’s a good question because all my characters basically start out being me. I ask myself, “What would I do in this situation?” But that gets tempered by “If I were this kind of person what would I do in this situation?” Which in turn gets tempered by “What would someone go through to become that kind of person?” So in the end I have a lot of different characters who are quite different from each other and me.


Back to Kitty and blonds. I made her blond (like me) because that is one of the last great acceptable stereotypes. Lawyers are slimy, blonds are dumb and popular. And I actually get quite pissed off at the blond stereotype. How many novels (esp. in the paranormal/urban fantasy genre) have you read where the heroine has some flavor of dark hair, is insecure about her appearance, and often compares herself to someone of her acquaintance who is blond, glamorous and kinda dumb?


Or maybe I only notice that sort of thing because I’m blond. And not glamorous. And not dumb. So mainly I made Kitty blond because I think Buffy Summers may be the only blond heroine in the world of paranormal fiction and I wanted to change that. I also made Kitty an English major — like me — so I could throw in the literary allusions I love so much. But I’ve never worked as a DJ, unlike Kitty.


As far as how similar we are in other ways: people who only know me a little say we’re a lot alike. People who know me very well say we’re not. Oh, and I have a pretty good internal editor. Kitty doesn’t.


But I did know I was in trouble one evening when I couldn’t decide what to wear to go out with friends and I found myself thinking, “What would Kitty wear?” What’s scarier is that I knew what Kitty would wear and could pick it out of my closet. Heh.