"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
July 2000 Issue
Romance on the Wild Side.........ImaJinn That!
Trained as an artist with a BFA in Illustration from the California College of Arts and Crafts, Susan Krinard became a writer when a friend read a short story she'd written and suggested she try writing a romance novel.
A long-time reader of science fiction and fantasy, Susan began reading romance-- and realized what she wanted to do was combine the two genres. Prince of Wolves, her first romance novel, was the result.
Within a year Susan had sold the manuscript to Bantam in 1993 as part of a three book contract, and the novel went on to make several bestseller lists.Since then, she's written three other contemporary paranormal romance novels including Body and Soul, a "futuristic", a fantasy-historical novella, a contemporary paranormal novella, a time-travel romance, and the historical paranormal novels Touch of the Wolf and Once a Wolf.
A native Californian, Susan lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, Serge Mailloux, a dog and a cat, but will shortly be moving to a new home in the "Land of Enchantment," New Mexico.
In addition to writing, Susan's interests include correspondence, music (New Age and Classical), old movies, reading, nature, animals, baking and collecting wolf-related items, vests and fanciful costume jewelry.
Barb S: The books in the new werewolf series have wonderful covers. Do you think that attractive packaging sells more books?
Susan K: Absolutely. But, in my case, while the covers helped, when it comes right down to it publisher support is the one thing you can't do without. The greatest cover in the world won't help without that publisher support, As I've learned. However, I think the great covers have attracted people who might not otherwise have tried a "werewolf romance," for instance. And the new covers are less "romancy" and so might have more crossover appeal.
Barb S: There has been a clamoring on the paranormal list for another Krinard vampire story. I understand that you were less than happy with the cover of that book, do you think that it hurt your sales?
Susan K: Yes. My sales dropped dramatically from PRINCE OF WOLVES, my first book, to PRINCE OF DREAMS, and frankly the cover, and the fact that it wasn't a werewolf book, were the only reasons I could see that happening. Ninety percent of the people I've talked to thought they guy was pretty awful. But every author has at least one dud cover!
Barb S: I understand that your new historical werewolf tales will deal with the ancestry of some of the werewolf families featured in your previous contemporary romances. What are your plans beyond the current trilogy, will you be filling in the blanks between the historical and contemporary werewolf romances, go even further into the past, or do something entirely new?
Susan K: If I have my way, I'll continue with a werewolf book every other book and do all the things you mentioned above. While I probably can't "fill in" all of the details between 1900 and 2000, since that's a tricky period to write about in the romance genre, I do intend (if possible) to write a third contemporary one day, and also tell the stories of Braden and Cassidy's two children, which would be set around the turn of the century; Sim's story; Weylin MacLean's story; and Morgan, Cassidy's brother's, story. There's also the Gevaudan line, which I haven't touched.
I have five major families: Gevaudan, Forster, Holt, MacLean, and Randall--so far. If I'm able, I very much want to go BACK in time with the werewolf families--to the medieval period, to the time of the Reivers on the Scotland/English border where the Forsters make their home, etc. I'd love to do a werewolf stint in Roman Britain, but that's not exactly a "commercial" time period!
Barb S: You have written a futuristic romance, Star Crossed, I believe and you have a futuristic Anthology scheduled for release next summer. Will we be seeing more futuristic offerings? It seems that you like to vary your works. Have publishers and fans been supportive of this branching out?
Susan K: Not into futuristic. That's the one sort of book most traditional romance publishers won't touch. This is why I hope to be writing SF/fantasy in the not too distant future, as well as romance. I need to satisfy that desire in myself, since I have read SF/fantasy most of my life and that's my first love.
I got lucky to be in the Berkley/Jove anthology, so that I was able to write another out-and-out futuristic again. Also, there was a definite fall-off of readership for STARCROSSED, which was my worst-selling book. Loyal fans who'd read everything else I wrote simply refused to read STARCROSSED. Some said they'd tried other futuristics and found them pretty bad; others just couldn't cross that last step into a more SF-type story. I still hope to convince both groups that these stories can be loads of fun.
I have to vary my work. Though I've written three werewolf stories in a row, I couldn't go on doing this without burning out. I need variety. I try to vary each story in setting, theme, "feel." I think that ONCE A WOLF "feels" quite different from TOUCH OF THE WOLF, and from what I can see of SECRET OF THE WOLF (the tentative title of the third book, out in fall '01), it'll be different again in terms of "feel." I hope, of course, that my readers will follow me, and understand that I'd lose whatever ability I have if I had to write werewolf books year after year (especially since I do only write one book a year.) I need to replenish The well and try new things.
Barb S: Your contemporary werewolf titles took place in the wilderness of the Americas. Touch of the Wolf took place in Victorian England. The sequel takes place in the American West, I've heard that the third book will take place in America as well. What made you decide to set TOTW in England? Did you find that limiting in anyway or do you see yourself returning to Europe in future offerings?
Susan K: Not limiting at all. I'm eager to return to England. And I am fascinated by the Victorian period. As with my subject matter, I like to move from place to place in my settings. This means that it takes longer to write a book, since I have that much more research to do than if I stuck to one time period/setting. But it's the variety that keeps me fascinated. If I had my way, I'd set books all over Europe, not just England, but it isn't practical as the romance genre stands now.
I've established that my werewolves live all over the world, any place where wolves existed in the past. It's my desire to return to England that makes me determined to set my first book after the trilogy in England again. It won't be a werewolf book, but it will definitely be historical paranormal/fantasy.
Barb S: The heroine of Once a Wolf, Rowena (Braden Forster's sister) is uncomfortable with her heritage, she also was opposed to her brothers forced "ethnic purity" mating program, so it is quite a twist to find that she actually enters an engagement to "man" who'd been her brother's choice of her own volition. I think it is predictable that she will ultimately accept her nature or was that a red herring to let the reader think that perhaps she would not? It must be a challenge to write an intriguing story where the end is a given. What other strategies did you employ to keep the reader interested in the proceedings?
Susan K: This issue of predictability seems to me a rather moot point. Do romance authors get asked this often, I wonder? All romances are predictable; they all have happy endings. We know the hero and heroine are going to end up together and the villain is likely to get his just deserts. To me, it's not the ending but the journey that is important. Romance is a genre in which we can almost always see the pattern as it emerges. This is largely because of the restrictions in the genre, which are very real. (Ask any paranormal writer!) It's also because we use archetypes and classic structure for storytelling (see THE WRITER'S JOURNEY), which has been powerful for thousands of years.
The pleasure for reader, and author, tends to lie in watching how this takes place and experiencing it with the characters. At least it's certainly that way for me. Predictability is very seldom an issue. I'm the sort of person who'll read the end of a book to make sure it doesn't have a tragic ending before I'll make that journey with characters I may grow to love. I don't have to do that in romance. But no matter what genre I'm reading, be it SF/fantasy, mystery, historical or romance, it's the experience I crave, not wondering what the ending is going to be. (This goes for mysteries as well.)
My job as a writer is to make that experience as meaningful as possible within the restrictions of the genre. With TOUCH OF THE WOLF, one reviewer found the book predictable, while another said she found it completely unpredictable. Several people were surprised to find that Braden was blind, though I wasn't trying hard to hide that fact. It's all in the eye of the beholder.
In any case, no, I wasn't trying to "fool" the reader about Rowena. The very title pretty much tells us that "Once a wolf, always a wolf!" I was setting Rowena up for her own journey, starting her out at the most difficult point of that journey, where she's going to be facing some pretty tough decisions. This is Rowena's "growth" story. It's a story about how one woman, and all women, struggle to free themselves from the chains of expectations and release the "wild beast" in themselves. IN my stories, the "beast" is a largely positive, rather than negative, image. It isn't always safe, and it can be dangerous, but it's an essential part of ourselves. It's part of my own journey.
Featured in this Issue:
ONCE A WOLF - In the unspoiled expanses of the American West, Tomas Alejandro Randall was called El Lobo, the desperado and sworn enemy of powerful financier Cole MacLean.
Few humans knew his true identity: heir to a wolf bloodline that made him as much an exotic beast as a devastatingly attractive man. It was Tomas's plan to lure Cole MacLean's elegant fiancee, Lady Rowena Forster, from her New York mansion to the wild frontier. There he planned to seduce the golden-haired beauty as revenge for the destruction of his family at MacLean's hands. But once she was in his possession, El Lobo found himself unable to resist the call of his own untamed passion--a passion that would claim the beauty for his own.
As for Lady Rowena, she desperately hid her own wolf heritage behind an icy, controlled exterior. Yet the famous "Lady Ice" found her inhibitions melting and her true nature emerging in the presence of this handsome desperado. Both knew the danger of their pairing, but their wild hearts would risk everything--even death--for a chance at everlasting love.
OF THE WOLF
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