Guest post by Alina Popescu
Hello everyone! A pleasure to be here on Indie Friday and have a little chat with you all about my latest release, Strength to Let Go, the first book in the Tales of the Werewolf Tribes series. Yes, I know, another Romanian author writing vampires, werewolves, and other paranormal stuff! It’s weird, I am close to two Romanian authors (Ioana and Aimee) and they both love the paranormal realm as much as I do. If you see a pattern there, relax, it’s pure coincidence!
As a lot of authors will tell you, things rarely go according to plan. Strength to Let Go, for example, wasn’t even supposed to be the first book in the series! And that’s the least of my problems. It was supposed to have a completely different plot, but things got twisted and the main character, Shiki, was too chatty. So after a lot of plotting and planning, the book was written (mostly during last year’s NaNoWriMo) and here it is today – rewrites and a few rounds of editing later.
The werewolf series was not actually inspired by a wolf, not a real one anyway! The idea sparked because of my White Swiss Shepherd. I was watching all the Cesar Millan series I could find (along with a similar British show), trying to get a better understanding of my dog and how to get him to obey me more. I then thought it would all be so much easier if I turned into a werewolf. I’d be his alpha of sorts and he’d follow my lead :D Another white wolf took the idea further – the Great White Wolf of local Dacian myths spawned the first tribe I envisioned, the Dacian Wolves, then several more followed.
Research-wise, writing a werewolf book was a lot different compared to writing a vampire one. Why? Because I did a lot of research on vampires over the years due to a long time interest in how these creatures are portrayed. I wasn’t as familiar with weres, and I wanted to look into wolves in religion and mythology, not just the lycan stories. I combined a bit of mythology with a lot of cultural and historical references in how tribes are created (and how they fight each other). For example, the Chinese and Mongols aren’t very friendly, there are a lot of tribes covering a relatively small territory in Europe—but they fight each other all the time, and the American tribe is deeply rooted in Native culture.
The best part about writing this was Shiki. I’ve spent a lot of time with this character in role-play writing, so I knew him better than almost all my other characters when I started writing. It’s fascinating to have a complete story on your lead, to know exactly what makes him tick or how he’d react to certain situations. That does not mean I wasn’t in for a few surprises! Oh, he made sure I wasn’t just relaxing through it, so he’d challenge me once in a while.
In the end, turns out what happened was so much better than the plan, and Strength to Let Go became the kind of story I always wanted to tell.
Strength to Let Go by Alina Popescu