DJ Swykert is an amazing author and a very close and good friend of mine, I proudly call him family. Today I wanted to invite him to post here in “Stories of me ePen” blog and share us some of his inspiration to write the beautiful romance novel “Alpha Wolves”.
My Inspiration to Write…
I began writing Alpha Wolves intending to write a historical story about a lonely woman who has lost the love of her life. It’s been ten years since Tommie Stetter’s failed promise to return for Maggie Harrington. Then he returns. The first Alpha Wolf in her life has come back to Central Mine to bury his father. He breaks her heart once again when she finds he has brought with him a wife and a young daughter. Enter Jeremy Paull, a second Alpha Wolf with an interest in the beautiful young Maggie Harrington.
Jeremy is equally as strong and handsome as Tommie, but he has an edge, a white wolf pup he finds and gives to her. Maggie Harrington’s affection for wolves was well known, as a teenager her and Tommie fled Central Mine with a pack of young wolves being pursued by a bounty hunter. It ended in disaster. They were ultimately discovered and the wolves slaughtered in Mandan, a deserted mining village on the tip of the peninsula. Maggie never quite got over the loss of the wolves, and Jeremy presenting her with the pup cemented their relationship. Now there were three Alpha Wolves in Maggie’s heart. Bringing a wolf into the story furthered my own interest in wolves.
This led me to do some research on wolves, including the studies by a professor at Michigan Technological University, Rolf Peterson, who has written extensively on the wolves of Isle Royale for thirty years. Here is a brief history of Michigan wolves. There was a time when there were abundant packs. A bounty existed on them in the early 19th century and into the twentieth century, thirty-five dollars for the head of a female, and thirty for a male. The population was decimated and for most of the second half of the twentieth century were non-existent in the state. They became protected in 1974 and the population has increased steadily since. There are about 687 recorded now that live only in the Upper Peninsula, there are still none in the Lower Peninsula. I saw my first wolf up in 1994, two of them roadside near Copper Harbor howling at the Fourth of July fireworks. I have seen perhaps a half dozen since. They have been removed from the endangered species list and managed hunting is currently allowed once again.
The relationship between wolves and human beings is very ancient. We shared similar survival techniques; living in organized societies for protection and hunting in packs. Rather than compete for food sources we simply joined forces. I believe this is the origin of the bond between man and wolf, and now dogs, which are simply domesticated wolves. The gray wolf, canis lupis, and a domesticated dog, canis lupis familiaris, share the same DNA profile. You cannot forensically differentiate one from the other.
Alpha Wolves ultimately became a novel about a young woman with two men and a wolf in her life, and a powerful love for all three. I see the book as crossing genres between Historical Romance and Literary. The narrator is twenty-three and very independent, making her attractive to a romance audience, but the book’s multilayered themes, concerning social and environmental issues, are profound enough to engage literary readers.
I have since writing this book made three major observations about wolves: They work together, mate for life, and protect their young. They have a loyalty within the pack hierarchy that is beyond ours. There is no divorce in a wolf pack. Only the alpha’s mate, but they mate for life. If one of the pair is killed, the next highest ranking wolf in the pack, a beta, takes its place. They protect their young, whether it’s the alpha parent, a beta, or the omega wolf, which although relegated to the bottom of the order in the pack, does participate in pack duties, often playing the role of a babysitter while the rest of the pack hunts.
I have raised and grew up with dogs all my life. It was my own experience, that Mikee and Maya, my two arctic wolf hybrids, when compared to a dog were more like a cat, very curious, playful, and didn’t respond well to training. They make poor watchdogs as they are quite friendly and more likely to lick an intruder than bite them. The generally are not aggressive, but you can’t trust them around smaller animals, which would include children. They are predators, and like a cat, it’s their natural instinct to hunt, which makes smaller animals rather unsafe around them. I would not advise acquiring one for a family pet, especially if you have small children. In many states, including Michigan, it is illegal to keep them.
Links to the book:
DJ Swykert is a fiction writer living in Cincinnati. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Monarch Review, Lunch Ticket, Gravel, the NewerYork, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Alpha Wolves, The Pool Boy’s Beatitude and The Death of Anyone. You can find him at: www.magicmasterminds.com/djswykert. He is a wolf expert.