As I was pulling together some ideas for my new book, Heart Of The Pack, a friend asked me why I was so interested in wolves as a theme, why the Wolfpack? She had noticed my social media regularly featured wolf pictures, and werewolf posts and quotes. When I thought about it, as much as I find the wild wolf beautiful, I really think it’s the mythology of the werewolf that speaks to me.
I only discovered paranormal romance a few years ago. The vampire mythology was good but it never really hooked me in the way werewolves do. Werewolf mythology, which has grown over time in books and TV, seems to fit naturally into the romance genre.
So why does it seem so attractive to me, and countless others? Here are my thoughts…
- Mate for life – I think this is the biggest and most attractive rule of wolf fiction. What woman wouldn’t find the concept of mating for life utterly romantic? To live in certain knowledge that your chosen mate is destined to be by your side until death, so different from the reality of real life. That’s what romance fiction is all about to me, an escape from real life into a world of fairy tales and happy ever afters.
- Pack hierarchy – In the strict regime of a wolfpack everyone has a role and knows their place. To most that strict regime would be restrictive and suffocating, but to some it can bring comfort and certainty. As someone who has is introverted and doesn’t like change, I can easily understand the attraction to that kind social structure.
- Non-traditional gender roles – This is something that has featured, and grown up in lesbian paranormal romance, and something I have tried to take a bit further in my book.
Each writer tackles this in their own unique way. In my world of Wolfgang County, each wolf is categorized not by the sex they are born in, but by the natural programming they display as youngsters to be either dominant or submissive. This allows the characters to be who they were truly born to be, a philosophy that I think would be truly wonderful if our human society could come to terms with it.
- The Pack, the family – We all have a need to belong. Whether we have a wonderful family, or a dysfunctional family, there are times in life when we all feel alone. How wonderful would it be if the town where you lived and everyone in it looked at you as if they were your pack, your family? You would never have a reason to feel alone and you would always have people who would laugh with you, mourn with you, protect you, and love you, and that’s exactly what the pack gives you. I for one believe that would be a wonderful feeling.
Imagine then a human walking into this alien world? That’s exactly what my protagonist does in Heart of the Pack. Selena Miller is a human who is extremely introverted, suffers with anxiety and body image issues, brought on by a critical, controlling and overbearing family. How could someone like this find freedom in a werewolf pack?
Firstly in contrast to her rich superficial upbringing, where people married for money or position, the citizens of Wolfgang County, mate for life with the one who their heart yearns for. They prize their mate and their offspring above anything, enjoying a simple life of loving and playing with their children, something that is far removed from Selena’s childhood.
Despite the apparent rigidity of the Wolfgang’s community, they do nature and support the natural talent an individual has. Lifting them higher and not judging them. This follows into the concept of non-traditional gender roles.
Selena has always been forced to by family expectations to work in the high powered, Alpha male/female business world, and all she has ever wanted was to be a teacher. What she finds in the Wolfgang world is that everyone is allowed and encouraged to follow their natural inclinations and talents, whether that be a tough ranch hand, a teacher or a stay at home mom.
It’s only when she enters this world and meets the extremely confident pack Second, Caden that she begins to see new possibilities for her life. The book is not only a love story between the two lead characters, it’s also a story about a human falling in love with a community and a way of life, and finding her place in the Heart of the Pack. I suppose this mirrors my own love for werewolf mythology and my belief that we all have a lot to learn from the Wolfpack.