Writers and wolves

by | Jul 10, 2021 | Newsletter

Writing a book is a solitary experience. I’ve seen this written in the acknowledgements section of multitude novels. Yes, I read that stuff, and often flick to the back matter before I start reading, because for some obscure reason I like to see the author photo and read their bio. And I like to note who they are thanking.

Of course, the usual suspects are always mentioned, the writer’s spouse, children, pets, and, more than likely, their writing community. The first three are undoubtedly irreplaceable as support crew, but the value of a writer’s community should not be underestimated. These are the people who know exactly what you are going through with regards to everything from suffering writer’s block to the sticky cobweb that is the publishing world. Particularly the self-publishing world.

When I started out, I felt pretty isolated and had no clue what on earth I was doing. Being a bit of a control freak I thought I could learn how to do everything. What a time-swallower that turned out to be.

The writing business may be confusing, lonely, and a minefield at times, but writers are a hugely supportive bunch. I have since joined Facebook groups and have subscribed to newsletters sent by gurus who are the best in the business. Their support is awesome and heartwarming, with many of the industry’s superstars incredibly generous with their time and expertise.

When writing Dying Grass Moon, I became increasingly confused with the mare’s nest that was the U.S. Marshal’s system in the 19th century, so posted a question on a site for western writers that I belong to. A couple of the responses were near to a page long. Writers are good people.

Originally, I wanted Raven, Hennessey’s wolfhound, to be a wolf. However, after doing a lot of reading about wolves I decided this idea was too far-fetched since, basically, wolves can’t be tamed. Instead, I opted to describe her not as an Irish Wolfhound but simply a wolfhound. I figured this a suitably amorphous term, although I still see as a wolf in my mind’s eye.

Like writers, wolves are helpful and to and supportive of their own. Their family unit is a tight one. Unfortunately, much of what people are led to believe about them is untrue, and as a result these amazing creatures have suffered terribly, and continue to suffer – some species are on the brink of extinction – because of the ignorance of lawmakers and hunters alike.

I love to read. On my bedside table is The City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert.

New York, 1940. Vivian Morris arrives to stay at her aunt’s place with a suitcase of belongings and a sewing machine. Becoming the seamstress for her aunt’s theater company Vivvie mixes with showgirls and young men aplenty and is swept into their hedonistic lifestyle. Then America is drawn into the war.

One of my favourite books of recent times, if not the favourite, is The Nancys, by R.W.R McDonald. The sequel, Nancy Business, is every bit as delightful. No second book judders here.

“I think God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.”

– Oscar Wilde

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