Please give a warm welcome to Kate Douglas!
Please tell us about your books and what inspired the stories.
The original Wolf Tales was a 1000 word freebie for a readers’ list. When Margaret Riley started Changeling Press and wanted something “hot, kinky and over the top,” I took the original short and lengthened it. Shapeshifters were popular then and I liked the idea of wolves that weren’t traditional werewolves. After a bit of research into wolf species, I found canis lupus laniger, the Tibetan Wolf, known by the common name “Chanku.” My story evolved from that, but since I was writing a 12,000 word novella as a serial every six weeks or so, I originally had no idea where it was going. The relationship between Stefan and Anton was a huge surprise to me when I first wrote it!
Can you tell us more about the series? Do these stories need to be read in order?
The series follows various Chanku shapeshifters as they learn about their previously unknown heritage. Their history is that of a small group of shapeshifters who eventually migrated out of their birthplace on the Tibetan steppe millennia ago. As they moved away from the area, they lost the ability to shift because their diet lacked certain necessary nutrients. Now that hidden past has been discovered by a wizard named Anton Cheval and he and the other Chanku he has found are searching for more of their kind. The ability to shift is not tied to phases of the moon or anything beyond their desire to choose their form–the only drawback, if you consider it such, is that the Chanku are a very sensual species. They are driven by their powerful libidoes, and while they bond for life with a chosen mate, they remain sexually active with other Chanku. An ongoing plot has a secret group within the government trying to capture female Chanku for breeding–the genes are carried in the female line and can only be passed on from mother to child.
I try to write each story so it will stand alone, but now that I’m writing number thirteen, I can honestly say it would be better for a reader to start at the beginning and read them in order. Each novel and even the novellas in the anthologies adds another layer to the series, and while an individual story will be entertaining, the characters’ backgrounds make the plot more interesting. I’ve reached the point now, with so many characters and ongoing issues, that it’s become like a TV series where you have more fun if you know each character involved. For instance, I’m writing Wolf Tales VII, a story that brings all twenty-one adult Chanku (and the two babies that have been born during the series) together at one time. If I were to include each character’s backstory, there’s be no room for the new plot!
What is your favorite part of being a writer? Least favorite?
Most favorite? Starting a new story. Least favorite? Starting a new story…and yes, that really does make sense. I love the surprises when I sit down to start a new book or novella. I write with my characters in mind, but very little idea of the plot. I let that evolve through my character’s actions and that means I’m as surprised by what happens as my readers. There’s also that moment of panic when I wonder if my characters will be forthcoming–what if they decide NOT to let me in on what’s happening? That worry is always in the back of my mind, but so far it hasn’t happened. For instance, the story I’m writing now took a totally different track than I originally expected. As always, I tried to herd my characters back into line, but there are so many now that they easily overpowered me and the story is happening they way they want it to. I sometimes feel as if I’m merely the typist, but that’s probably a good thing, as the characters are much more interesting than I could ever hope to be!
What would you like to tell aspiring writers?
Never, ever give up. Not if you believe you are meant to write. I’ve been a writer all my life, but I didn’t start writing fiction until the mid 1980s. I fully intended to be published right away, but obviously that didn’t happen. Instead I started collecting rejection letters. I took a circuitious route, writing for ebook publishers when that industry was first beginning in 1998 with my first sale to Hard Shell Word Factory. I discovered Ellora’s Cave and realized then that I loved writing the hot and sexy romances–my StarQuest series with EC continues to do well after more than five years. I always believed in myself and knew that I was meant to write, mainly because I don’t think I had a choice. Writng literally consumes me–it’s what I choose to do in my free time as well as when I’m on deadline, and I know there are a lot of others out there just like me. If you believe you are meant to write, stick with it. Keep honing your craft and keep your goal in sight. My fantastic Kensington contract came almost exactly twenty years after I wrote my first (really AWFUL) category romance, but that contract has led to more, and they have literally changed my life. You can do it, but only if you keep at it.
Which of your characters is most like you?
Actually, none of them. I think they all have parts of me–they’re outspoken and loyal and love their mates. Some are klutzy, others are really athletic and they’re all very caring, traits I either have or wish I had! I think my heroes are actually stronger characters than many of my heroines, mainly because I just love to write those hot men! Anton Cheval is obviously my favorite–he’s older and definitely the “uber alpha” of all the Chanku because of his knowledge and the fact he’s a powerful wizard as well as a shapeshifter. What I love is the fact he hasn’t got a humble bone in his body, except when it comes to his mate. He will always defer to her becuase he loves her so much. It’s fun to write a man who is inherently good, and yet has an ego the size of Neptune.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
funny, smart and stubborn…and I probably should have put stubborn first!
What is next for you?
More Wolf Tales, for now. I’m currently contracted for eighteen in the series, nine have released and I’m writing #13 (counting novellas) and I have yet to grow tired of my Chanku. I’m still as excited about the series and the characters as I was when I first started. While I have a lot of ideas percolating in my head, I’ve not actually got anything else going right now.
Is there anything you’d like to ask readers?
I would love to know what my readers want to see in future stories. I’ve gotten some great suggestions, mainly in the form of questions, and those questions have led me to plot twists I never expected. Sometimes I think my readers know my characters as well as, if not better than, I do!
Thank you Kate for a fabulous interview!
You can learn more about Kate and her books at her website: http://www.katedouglas.com
Readers, how about answering Kate’s question…
Kate has donated a lovely prize for one lucky winner!
One lucky winner drawn randomly from those that comment will win their choice of Wolf Tales IV or Sexy Beast III and a stuffed wolf.
Winner will be randomly chosen and announced on January 21!
It is up to you to return to see if you won and to contact me if you see your name!
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