There were two things I vowed not to write when I first started writing for publication: werewolves and vampires. At the time, I was really overdosed on vampires from having adapted a version of Dracula for a play. As for werewolves, well, there were just SO many of them out there. And so many of those books are just really, really good. So I decided to stick to sci fi and fantasy.
Well. That obviously didn’t last.
You see, from the time I was four years old, I’ve had a dog at my side. And in 1990 I bought my first Siberian Husky, Nikita. From there, Summer came along, then Bell, Echo and my beloved Logan. I love animals but I really love my Siberians.
Anyhow, I was working on a sci fi story that just wasn’t really gelling for me, the heroine was great but I couldn’t get a handle on her hero. He was quite a mystery and he had me stumped.
It was very late at night that I had an epiphany that changed the course of my writing. It was mid-spring and we were having non-stop, drizzling rain. There was a commotion outside, and the sound of a dog screaming…that kinda scream. The sound that tells you a couple dogs are doing the dirty deed.
I ran outside into the rain and found that several of the dogs had escaped from their respective kennels and were in one of the yards, circling a pair that were clearly in a tie. I got out there and to my amusement, it was Echo and Logan…they were my alpha male and female at the time, and both were well past being able to make puppies. I guess they were just having fun.
But the fun shifted to danger, because the jealous females were darting in and taking nips out of Echo’s hide. One of the males was threatening Logan. Interestingly enough, young Hu Fe, who was Echo and Logan’s son, was patrolling, keeping the other dogs at bay. He was protecting them.
I grabbed Logan to keep them steady then sat there in the mud and rain, watching the whole thing play out. When they were finished and all the dogs were bedded again, I went in, cleaned up and went back to bed, but not to sleep.
How many other writers sit in the rain in the middle of the night, taking care of breeding dogs? I’ve spent hours watching Siberians interact. I’ve hung around wolf sanctuaries and evaluated hybrids for relocation to habitats. I’ve ridden on racing dog teams and as an apprentice, helped dozens of dogs whelp countless puppies.
I am a freakin’ expert.
That night, I visualized this outrageous sex scene where a beta wolf protects an alpha and his mate. It morphed into a silly ménage that made me laugh, and suddenly the pieces of my science fiction story fell into place. Belle’s mysterious lover Armand was a wolf shifter from Earth. And I decided to break that rule about not writing wolf shifters because I know the behavior of canids; they are probably the one constant love in my life.
So. Belle Starr. :) Werewolves in space. That was just the first of many shifter books for me, but Belle is still my favorite.
Today, I’m giving away a signed copy of Belle Starr. Just leave a comment to enter.