I’m very pleased to announce that today I am conducting my second author interview. I hope this is a feature that will continue, and that it will help to inform readers of great new books available for their reading pleasure.
Today’s featured author is Dee Garretson. Recently I had the opportunity to read her Wolf Storm, a fast-paced adventure story that sent shivers up my spine, for more than one reason. Oh, and as a special surprise and incentive, Dee has most graciously offered to give away a signed hardcopy of Wolf Storm to one lucky reader here on my blog. I’ll explain the details at the end of our interview.
Thank you so much, Dee, for stopping by today and allowing us this time to get to know a little about you and your characters. If I haven't already told you, I enjoyed Wolf Storm quite a lot. Am I correct in stating that this is your second book published by Harper Collins? And did you have an agent for your books?
Yes, my first book, Wildfire Run, and Wolf Storm, were both published by HarperCollins. I did have an agent for them. Since then, I left my original agent, due to some differences of opinion on a career path, and now have a new agent.
I’m sorry to hear you had to change agents, but I realize a writer and agent team has to work well together at all times, and that it sometimes takes a while to find the perfect match. Hopefully this new relationship will work out great for both of you.
Could you give us a short description of your book?
Sure. This is Stefan’s big break. He’s on location in the mountains far from home for his first movie role, filming a blockbuster sci-fi adventure. The props, the spaceships, and the trained wolves on set should add up to a dream job, but acting turns out to be much tougher than he ever imagined, and he feels like his inner loser is all that’s showing through. From the way his famously stuck-up co-star, Raine, treats him, he’s pretty sure she thinks so too. And worst of all, no one will believe his claim that there are wild wolves haunting the forest around the set.
When a blizzard strikes, isolating the young co-stars and bringing hungry feral wolves into the open, Stefan must take on his biggest role yet—working together with his co-stars to survive. With no second takes, they only have one chance to get it right.
Well, there is certainly a lot of great action in this one. I'd like to know what inspired you to write this story. Do you have a background in film? You certainly seem to know a lot about the industry - but since I know nothing, maybe it wasn't difficult to fool me. It was very believable, for me, to feel like you knew what you were talking about.
Harper wanted some ideas for other outdoor adventures with different characters from the Wildfire Run book. I wanted to do the same “fish out of water” kind of characters-kids in the wilderness who weren’t all that comfortable there. I also love movies, almost as much as books, and have always been fascinated with the making of movies. I’ve never had a desire to act, but I find kids who do to be interesting characters. I had already read books and watched many behind-the-scenes dvds on movie-making, so I had a starting point to know what further research I needed.
That’s quite interesting. Your technical language sounded totally believable, and added quite a bit of interest to the story. I can see where it would definitely appeal to kids who were interested in theater or acting. And the fact that your characters were making a science fiction film also added to the allure.
I also love the role the wolves play in the book. I’m a huge dog fan, and even though these were technically wolves, not domesticated dogs, they drew me into the story. Have you personally worked with wolves? Perhaps you've raised them and were able to provide details through your own experiences. Or did you just read about them on-line, or take your cues from other canines?
I have never worked with wolves but I think they are amazing animals. I got the idea to use trained wolves in the story from the first Chronicles of Narnia movie. When I watched it, I was very interested in how they trained those wolves for their scenes, so I did some research on that. I also did quite a bit of research on wolf behavior, because I wanted the wild wolves to be portrayed accurately as well. You can probably tell I’m a stickler for research!
Yes, I noticed that. The ways you portrayed the behaviors of the wolves, both wild and trained, was completely believable to me. I actually became rather attached to Phoebe, and my heart went out to the wild creatures.
Speaking of the wild, I'd also like to touch on the area where your story takes place. Is there such a castle? If not, why a castle? Why not just an old house of some kind? Don't get me wrong, I loved the castle - my first book out with Musa has a castle in it, too.
There are many ruins of small castles in Slovakia, which were more like stone manor houses. I just love the image of a ruined castle, and when I travel to Europe, those sites are ones I try to visit. There’s something about castles that implies a romantic history and untold stories.
I agree completely. It’s hard to find a backdrop more fascinating than a castle, especially one hidden away in the snow-covered mountains. Which brings me to my next question. Are you a skier? Snowmobiler? (I don't know if that's even a word). It just seems like you covered a lot of details that would require research, and I'm wondering where you found your facts or if it's from personal knowledge.
I skied quite a bit when I was younger. Now, because I have asthma that’s gotten more severe, I go rarely, though the rest of my family loves to ski. Last year while they were skiing, I went snowshoeing in the woods and that was almost as much fun. I’d like to get back out on the slopes if I can get the asthma better under control and get my lung capacity back up. I love being outside in the snow, and always have, though I have a healthy respect for the dangers of bad weather. I almost got frostbite as a child when I went skiing in Germany, so I’m very aware of how quickly things can go wrong.
Oh, Dee, I’m sorry to hear about the asthma problems. I hope you get your health back to full power soon so that you can get back to something you love so much.
Another thing I wondered about was your intended audience. Did you target this more toward boys? You did a great job of using the teen male POV, but you have several themes that would definitely also appeal to young girls. Boy actor, wolves, acting, and Raine is a pretty strong female character. I'd love to know your strategic reasons for that, if there were any.
Writing from a boy’s POV comes fairly easily to me, though I’m sure I don’t get it right all the time. I was not a very girly girl growing up, and I started writing middle grade after my son begged me to read some of his books. They were all from a boy’s POV, and the way the stories flowed seemed to fit a style I felt comfortable using. My son is always my first beta reader and he tells me if I’m on target. Right now I’m working on a new story for a girl’s POV and it has been much more challenging.
Well, I’m thankful to your son for providing you with so many opportunities to learn your craft well enough to execute such a gripping story. And it is gripping! Every page is filled with action, or tension, or mystery, or some combination of the three. I applaud you for your ability to keep the reader in such a heightened state of expectation throughout the entire book.
Thank you so much, Dee, for coming by and allowing us to get a closer look at your personal life. I know we all have a tendency to idolize our favorite authors, and it’s nice to know they are still human. I wish you the best of success in your writing career, and I urge my readers to check out your books and see for themselves what we’re talking about here.
Thank you, Melody! I love to have a chance to talk about my stories.
Wolf Storm is available in some bookstores and at all online sites. It's also available in ebook form. Wildfire Run is available in hardcover, paperback, and audio. It may still be in some bookstores, but it is definitely available at online sites as well.
I hope everyone enjoyed my interview with Dee as much as I did. She’s a gifted writer and a very nice lady. To register for an opportunity to win an autographed copy of her book, simply follow my blog and leave a comment. And since this is a hard copy book, you’ll need to provide an email address so that I can notify the winner and obtain mailing information.