Feeding the Muse
Thanks for the invite to The Bookish Outsider – it’s a pleasure to be here!
BLACK DOG is a bit of a departure for me, as you may know – my first contemporary (or contemporary-ish) fantasy, my first paranormal (or paranormal-ish) fantasy. Even for a semi-established author, it’s hard to break into the urban fantasy/paranormal/werewolf/vampire crowd, and the only reason to try it is because your muse gives you a push you can’t ignore.
As it happens, I know just when I started reading UF and paranormals. It was some years ago, when a convention put me on a werewolf panel. Now, I had nothing in particular against werewolves, but in fact I hadn’t ever read any books featuring werewolves. None. After all, I had no shortage of other fantasy novels on my TBR pile, and who can even begin to know where to start in a genre that has blown up so far so fast? But I didn’t like to tell the convention folks I couldn’t do their panel, so instead I picked up a handful of werewolf stories real quick.
One of those was MOON CALLED by Patricia Briggs.
I probably don’t have to tell you how I fell in love with Mercy Thompson, and with Bran and Samuel and Adam and the whole world of werewolves. I read the rest of the series and then branched out: Ilona Andrews and Kelly Armstrong, Charlaine Harris and JR Ward. But for me, Mercy Thompson was the first – and I still think that this series is the most consistently outstanding. You can bet that I’ll be right there when NIGHT BROKEN hits the shelves this year!
So, indirectly – or actually pretty directly – Patricia Briggs is responsible for BLACK DOG. Because you know how it is, when you fall in love with a series. You hate to leave those characters, that world, that reality. So, in my case, I created my own reality and world and characters.
Of course my world isn’t actually much like the world of the Mercy Thompson series, barring both being contemporary-ish. And my black dogs aren’t much like Briggs’ werewolves, either. I kept the “hot-tempered werewolf” trope, but took it a step further by giving my black dogs an actual demonic twist. I liked the idea of making most werewolves male, but created new reasons for that gender imbalance to occur – I could explain the exact genetics behind my black dogs and the Pure, I worked it all out, though those details did not make it into the book! I loved the idea of one central authority for werewolves, but handed my Dimilioc a recent crushing Pyrrhic victory to reduce their effective power. And, of course, I killed off the vampires in the recent backstory.But Patricia Briggs’ series was the one that acted as a muse, giving me a strong push to write a werewolf story in the first place.
A huge thank you to Rachel for stopping by! I'm ashamed to admit that although I have owned a copy of Moon Called for several years I still haven't read it... I will definitely rectify that - and soon! Look out for my review of Black Dog coming in the next couple of days!