Dancing with Wolves by Terry Spear
Okay, we really didn’t dance with wolves, but while talking about wolves at the International Wolf Center on my Facebook page that I had visited last year in Ely, MN, a man who works with wolves at Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary contacted me about coming out and seeing theirs.
Ironically, my co-worker at the library had wanted to go with me to visit the sanctuary in New Mexico some years earlier, but we couldn’t take off from work at the same time. So fast forward a few years, and now with an open invitation, I asked her and I asked my Facebook friends if anyone else wanted to go. I had four more takers—all fans of my writing. Only four of us ended up going, but we actually stayed at a cabin on their land, and got to listen to the wolves howling in the morning and at night, and sometimes during the day. They even brought two of the ambassador wolves up to the cabin and once they accepted us, we got to pet them! We visited the Sanctuary and bought gifts in the shop that helps to pay for the wolves, and we took day trips from there to see volcanoes, ice caves, and a couple of Reservations, including the Chaco Anastasi Ruins.
So what has this got to do with writing? Craft? Promoting? Marketing?
I write my wolf stories based on real wolves. I use the trips to wolf reserves in an attempt to document something of how wolves behave in captivity, as several stories of mine talk about this.
But some of the behavior exhibited by captive wolves still holds true for wild wolves. Even my Havanese puppies display the same kind of wolf behavior when they’re playing—play-fighting, hunting each other. I use the pictures to share with my fans.
And now that I’ve seen some of New Mexico, though I’d driven through it as a kid, I could set a story there. I also autographed books in Albuquerque, Lubbock, and Abilene. It was fun doing the drive-by signings, and then I take pictures of the books I autographed and share them on FB and my blogs in case anyone lives in the area and wants an autographed book. I’ve tried to meet up with fans too, but we had a ten-hour drive home, so coordinating things like that are kind of hard to do.
The best part? I had a blast and the ladies all want to know where we’re going to next! I’ll have to find another wolf reserve to visit!
I often set my stories in places I’ve visited or lived. In one that I’m currently revising, it’s a romantic suspense, and set during a tropical storm in Galveston, because I was there during that tropical storm that flooded Houston horribly and we weren’t sure how we were going to be able to get home. And I set it in Salado, Texas, one of my all favorite places to visit just south of where I live. And I set it at Fort Hood where she and he are stationed, just like I was. And I set it in Amarillo, or actually, Canyon, Texas and included the backdrop of Texas, the outdoor play in the Palo Duro Canyon, because I lived in both Amarillo and Canyon and saw the play. You can’t beat going to the place where your story is set, or even use a setting and making it your own, like I did with the Silver wolf pack of Silver Town. It’s not a real town, but it’s based on Telluride and Breckenridge where I skied. So if you’ve been someplace, or want to visit a place where you think a story would be perfect, go for it!
For years, I had thought how much it would be fun to have a wolf visit Grand Cayman Island where I went with my mother some years before I was published even. I kept thinking how much fun that would be. So in Howl for a Highlander, I wrote about a fish out of water scenario. I would have loved to have been there with him! But he got to do all the things I did-swim with the rays, snorkel, take a dinner catamaran cruise, take a pirate cruise and actually walk the plank, and much more. So imagine my fun to show would it would have been like to be running with a wolf there in such a fun and romantic spot.
No matter what you write, where you visit, take pictures, document, and use it for your stories. Even for a fantasy setting, it can give you some really wonderful ideas!
But most of all, remember that all of this—the writing, the settings, the promo, and marketing, it should be fun.
About the Author
Bestselling and award-winning author Terry Spear has written over fifty paranormal romance novels and four medieval Highland historical romances. Her first werewolf romance, Heart of the Wolf, was named a 2008 Publishers Weekly’s Best Book of the Year, and her subsequent titles have garnered high praise and hit the USA Today bestseller list. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry lives in Crawford, Texas, where she is working on her next werewolf romance, continuing her new series about shapeshifting jaguars, having fun with her young adult novels, and playing with her two Havanese puppies, Max and Tanner. For more information, please visit www.terryspear.com, or follow her on Twitter, @TerrySpear. She is also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/terry.spear. And on WordPress at:
Terry Spear’s Shifters http://terryspear.wordpress.com/