Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Wolves of Stormrider - A Novel's Beginnings

 Who’s story is this anyway? Is it the main character’s, Tanith Aesir, aka Stormrider, or does it belong to the wolves?

I’m afraid I have to give it to the wolves. I’ve loved wolves all my life. Not just because they’re beautiful – they are. Not just because they’re intelligent – they are. Not just because they’re loyal – they are, extremely. It’s all of those things along with this amazing aura, this magic that seems to cling to them throughout the ages.

They’re given an exalted place in our art, our history, or mythology, our literature – and on and on. They’re admired, feared, raised to nearly god-like status and dropped to the pit of evil as werewolves. Tell me the sight of a wolf doesn’t move you in some way?

And that’s how Stormrider got its start. The wolves came first, their personalities, their power, and the rest of the story came along after.

A bit of research on our own wolves turned up the fact that there once were over 250,000 wolves in North America and now there are fewer than 5,000. They once had a solid niche to fill having developed side by side with their prey killing and eating the young, the sick and the old, leaving the fittest to survive, reproduce and grow stronger. And, their kills also fed numerous other animals that shared their habitat such as ravens, eagles, foxes, bears and others. Additionally, as is being discovered with their reintroduction to Yellowstone, the wolves even help keep the forest healthy by checking deer and elk populations, thus slowing overgrazing and soil erosion. Surprising, no?

It’s sad (and a little horrifying) that the early settlers equated killing a wolf with the triumph of civilization over wilderness out of fear and superstition. Even more so since the early native Americans regarded wolves as mysterious and powerful beings.

Nature is intricate and beautiful. But what of the savagery you say? Can you claim man isn’t savage? What of his near extermination (and that was the intent) of the wolves? In only twenty-five years more than 80,000 wolves were killed. That’s pretty savage.

So I moved the incredible wolves to another planet, another culture and imbued them with some remarkable abilities. Abilities that Stormrider is swept up in to become a member of the pack.

It was a fun ride and my goal is to have made it as much for the reader as it was for me as the writer. 

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