Creating Fantasy from Reality
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Creating Fantasy from Reality by Terry Spear
When we build our worlds, whether it’s a contemporary romance where the world can be as realistic as possible, real city even, or something much more fantastical, we still create a world that is from our imagination—the suspense, the characters, the conflict, the story.
But when we create urban fantasy romance, we have to create a whole world around the story.
Here are some issues I had to decide on when I first began to write the series.
When do werewolves first shape-shift? Most authors write where their werewolves shape-shift when they reach puberty. Mine are born with the ability. Some suffer pain through the experience. The old werewolf stories showed this. Mine don’t. Do they have werewolf genetics? Not sure about other author’s works, but mine change with the shift so that as wolves they have wolf genetics and as humans they have human genetics. Can silver kill them? Sure, which is explained from a scientific way in Legend of the White Wolf (Book 4). If someone is a werewolf, does he or she have to shift with only the full moon? Some do in other werewolf stories. During other phases? In mine, yes.
We have to have reasons why we create the world we do. Why are mine not like everyone else’s? Shouldn’t we all use the same basic principles?
That’s what’s fun about being a writer. Creating a world that’s unique to your own characters.
Why I have that the shape-shifters are born with the ability to shift: As wolves, from an early age they must learn to live within a pack. If you’ve ever raised dogs, you must be the alpha, teach them not to bite, or to play, or not to chew, or to housebreak them. From an early age, the pack dynamics are established. For humans, it’s the same thing. Parents have to show they’re the ones who are the alpha leaders. Now, at the library some parents let the children rule the roost and look at us like “woe is me, how do I ever manage?” And that’s the key. They don’t. Manage. They let the kids rule. The parents and their offspring would not make good werewolf leaders.
So at an early age, not at puberty, a wolf or human must learn how to behave properly according to pack rules. In Seduced by the Wolf (Book 5), I show a couple of grown werewolves who have difficulty “learning” the rules because of not being made to mind earlier in their youth. Yes, it causes more problems for a pack if the children can shape-shift when they’re young. But to me, it seemed more realistic. What if the mother had to shape-shift into a wolf in an emergency and her children are toddling around as humans and can’t change? Not until puberty? But having young children who can shape-shift at will can create other problems, which is why they homeschool. Now you know why there are so many homeschooling their kids today!
Why make the transition from human to wolf not painful? I understand why it would be painful, the changing of the bones, etc. But to me, it would make the werewolf hate the shift whenever they go through it. Except if the human is newly turned and uncomfortable with the changes they must experience and lack of control, my werewolves love the shift, feel comfortable with it, welcome it. They’re happy with what they are. Being werewolf is natural and the shift is natural. Instead of breaking bones, heat invades their body and it’s like a melting and blending of forms.
When I think of something painful, I think of avoidance and not wanting to do what makes us hurt. So to me, making the transition painful wouldn’t work for my stories.
The shifting during the phases of the moon: In the old stories, werewolves shifted when the full moon appeared. But even if the moon was covered with clouds, the werewolf would shift back to being human. With mine, they don’t have to see the moon’s phases to know what’s clinging to the night’s sky. If they have very few human roots, as in their ancestors were mated with other werewolves for generations, they’re royals and can shift at will. But all others can’t shift during the new moon. I wanted a period of rest for those werewolves who had less control over the shift. A time when they didn’t have to worry about shifting. Or as in Bella’s case in Heart of the Wolf, it put her in a real bind! A woman in a wolf’s pen at the zoo, naked, is not the easiest situation to explain.
I do a lot of research about werewolf mythology and real wolf trivia. In Wolf Fever (Book 6, coming December 2010), I talk about how to change a wolf back into a human, according to myths and legends, and the truth about wolfsbane.
Of course some werewolf legends I keep in my stories. The werewolf who is killed in his wolf form, reverts to his human form. It makes it difficult to explain to the world if ever they see this, which makes it imperative the world doesn’t see this happen. Which causes problems for Faith in Legend of the White Wolf.
I was telling my manager what I'd learned about wolf saliva for some research I was doing for Dreaming of the Wolf (Book 8, coming Fall 2011), and she asked me about my werewolf genetics. She'd read the series, and thought I had where when they shifted, their DNA changed to whichever form they were in. So why do I have this?
Because I wanted them as real as possible. It would be too easy to get their blood under a microscope and determine they were not what they were supposed to be. Neither human or wolf. Why do you think it’s so hard to tell if the hunky guy living next door or working in a cubicle across the office from yours is a werewolf?
Ah, the world of make believe.
I had a commenter on a blog say he was a shape-shifter and to contact him and he’d tell you about it. But you see, shape-shifters live in secret. Otherwise, they’d be sequestered away into some secret government project. So they keep their identities secret. And that’s as it should be!
Thanks so much for dropping by to check out my world of wolves—werewolves, that is! I hope you give them a chance, if you haven’t already. And if you’re already following the series, I hope you love Leidolf as much as I did writing him in Seduced by the Wolf!
So if you were a werewolf, would you rather have your babies as a wolf, or as a human?
“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male.”
SEDUCED BY THE WOLF BY TERRY SPEAR – IN STORES AUGUST 2010
His first priority is to protect his pack…
Werewolf pack leader Leidolf Wildhaven has just taken over a demoralized pack. With rogue wolves on the loose causing havoc and the authorities from the zoo suddenly zeroing in on the local wolf population, the last thing he needs in his territory is a do-gooder female, no matter how beautiful and enticing she is…
She’ll do anything to help wolves…
Biologist Cassie Roux has dedicated her life to protecting wolves in the wild. On a desperate mission to help a she-wolf with newborn pups, the last thing Cassie needs right now is a nosy and entirely too attractive werewolf pack leader trying to track her down…
With rogue wolves and hunters threatening at every turn, Cassie and Leidolf may find their attraction the most dangerous force of all…
About the Author
A retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry Spear has an MBA from Monmouth College. An eclectic writer, she dabbles in the paranormal as well as writing historical and true life stories for both teen and adult audiences. Spear lives in Crawford, Texas. For more information, please visit Terry at these various places on the web:
www.terryspear.com http://www.wickedlyromantic.blogspot.com/ http://casablancaauthors.blogspot.com/ http://fierceromance.blogspot.com/ http://www.facebook.com/terry.spear http://shapeshifterromance.wordpress.com/ http://terry-spear.blogspot.com/