As with so many things that get away from me, my debut novel, "Man and Wolf" is basically all the fault of my own dog, an overgrown Rottweiler puppy named Mimi.
At the time, I'd just taken in a passel of feisty foster puppies--a trio of one year-old beagle siblings whose favorite activities involved barking, jumping, barking, tussling, barking and tormenting the very long-suffering Mimi.
Now, I'd be the first to admit Mimi spent way too long as a pampered only child, so now that she and I have gotten back into the rescue game, her upbringing has made her a reluctant and slightly confused pack leader. She knows there are things she should be teaching these wiggly wagging younguns, but there are also lots of naps to take in the long warm grass out in the yard. The puppies will never notice if she just takes a quick snooze.
But of course they do notice and they all come bounding over because obviously Lying In The Long Grass is an important developmental milestone or maybe just a super-fun game Mimi's going to teach them. At which point she rolls her eyes and gives me one of her long-suffering looks in which I'm given to understand that steak or possibly a chicken carcass is the only thing that'll soothe her wounded heart.
All of which got me to thinking about what it takes to make a pack leader and more than that, stories of lone wolves. From there the plot bunnies ran wild and free, with Mimi and I chasing merrily after them.
The thing about werewolves is that, in m/m romance at least, there’s a lot of energy expended on pack dynamics: where to find a pack, how to deal with pack drama, being sad about missing a pack, etc etc. But what I really wanted to look at was a werewolf who really didn’t want a pack, who was basically so damaged he couldn’t handle a pack--
Did I mention I’m a big ole hurt/comfort girl? *grin*
--and was just looking for that one perfect man to call his own, that one person he could trust so completely that the fact that he’s a werewolf doesn’t automatically derail the relationship. And that’s a lot of trust.
Now, I have to admit, when I told a friend of mine that I was writing about a werewolf and a veterinarian, she laughed so hard I thought for a minute she might pull something. And on the surface, the pairing has a certain quirky logic to it: who better to take care of Rob while he’s undergoing The Big Woof (and I’m certain he and Jamie refer to it that way, Jamie scrupulously putting on his calendar, “TBW, sundown. Do not schedule patients.”) than someone who specializes in canines?
But then the more I wrote of their story, the more Rob and Jamie became simply more than a new kind of odd couple. That Rob, abandoned as a child and forced into a secret government program that altered his entire being, could be willing to risk everything to build a life with a shy workaholic like Jamie became more and more compelling. It became more believable, more compelling with every chapter. These two boys were meant to be together, I was convinced. Even if their roles had been reversed, or if they’d just been two nice boys from Boise, they’d still have been destined for one another.
Which brings me back to the whole “lone wolf” issue. Is there really such a thing as a truly lone wolf? Or is every lone wolf just a lonely guy terrified he’ll never find the right mate?
I think the romantic in me has to insist that even the most scared and solitary werewolf has a perfect partner, somewhere out there in the darkness.
Werewolves, after all, are awesome creatures. The wolf side brings everything that is primal and sensual to the fore, heightening senses and sensation. Dominance and submission is an undercurrent in interactions, whether as wolf or human. The nature of the beast is close to the surface, even in the human form, and as such, the love and loyalty of the werewolf, while hard won, is not to be taken lightly.
This is one of the many reasons why I love writing about werewolves, and exploring the mating of werewolf and human. It’s a fantastic synergy of natures, and it brings me back for more, every time.
Speaking of coming back for more, my newest werewolf short story combines two of my favorite things: highwaymen and werewolves! The Highwayman of Colby Heath is coming out in Torquere’s soon-to-be-released anthology Mine.
And to think, I learned all this from my dog!
To show my gratitude, both to Mimi the Cranky Lady Rottie and everyone out there reading, I’m going to give away a copy of my Torquere Sip, Tale of the Black Dog, about another lone wolf and the man who loves him, set in a very special pub on the lonely Suffolk moors, where nothing is quite what it seems...
Just visit http://www.kateroman.com/drawentry.php and gimme a suggestion for the name of my new dog! That’s right, Mimi’s getting a sister, a little 6-year-old rescued daschund. We’ve met her a couple times now at her foster mom’s house, but from the first, it was obvious how Mimi felt.
A feeling Rob and Jamie can certainly relate to. :)