Throughout time writers have gained inspiration from places they’ve visited. Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express after taking a journey on this iconic train. Daphne du Maurier stayed at Jamaica Inn on Bodmin Moor in 1930 and used it as the setting for her popular gothic novel Jamaica Inn.
Following in the footsteps of these famous writers, I decided to set one of my books in Yellowstone National Park after visiting the park with my husband.
Several things factored into my decision for the setting:
1. It is beautiful with a varied landscape ranging from mountains to prairie grasses and thermal regions. A large portion of the park is a volcano caldera.
2. While we were there we stayed in cabins at Tower Roosevelt. In the early hours of the morning we heard wolf song. The howls were both eerie and beautiful.
3. Yellowstone is a wilderness area, but there are lots of tourists too.
I’d wanted to write a werewolf story for ages, but was having trouble coming up with a concept that made the writer inside me wriggle with enthusiasm. The second I heard the wolf song, the spark of an idea came to me. I stored it inside my head to pull out during a quiet moment.
We met up with friends in Albuquerque, and one of our weird conversations was about what would happen to nail polish when a werewolf shifted. We decided it wouldn’t end well, and I filed that snippet away too.
By the time we arrived home, my head was stuffed full with bits and pieces of several prospective stories. It was time to get to work.
Taking all the collected elements, I sat down and started writing, our visit to Yellowstone spawning my m/m story Lone Wolf.
Once upon a time werewolves took drugs to suppress their natural inclinations to shift to wolf. Current werewolf law forbade unregulated shifting.
The door stood wide open when he arrived. He clattered up the two wooden steps leading inside and came to a halt in the doorway. His three roommates had already chosen their beds and stowed their bags. He claimed the last remaining spot—the top bunk nearest the door.
“Making a kill is a natural thing and part of nature’s controls,” R.J. said. “The game populations swell to unnatural numbers if the regular cycle isn’t adhered to. It’s a fine balance.”
Another one of the girls raised her hand. “You mean we have to kill a Bambi?” Her voice rose to a squeak toward the end of her sentence.
R.J. slowed and came to a halt behind a line of cars, waiting for a herd of bison to meander across the road. As usual, a couple of dumb-ass tourists parked haphazardly, intent on approaching the animals, stalking them with digital cameras in hand. They wanted a souvenir picture to show the folks back home. Idiots.
“See those people over there,” R.J. called out.
“Yeah,” a few of the kids replied.
“They’re setting an example of what not to do with bison. The herd might appear slow and friendly, but they move fast if the desire strikes them. If they’re in the mood they can also take exception to vehicles.”
Corey tailed the group, taking in the trees and other surroundings with pleasure. He’d fought coming to Yellowstone, protested bitterly to his father, his mother and anyone who’d listen to him. The camp was okay and nothing like the prison he’d conjured in his imagination. The sights, the smells. The colors of Yellowstone. They spoke to the artist in him. His fingers literally itched to capture what he saw on paper.
What are your favorite places and settings for armchair traveling?
When you fall out of step, that’s when everything falls into place.
R.J. Blake begins a new session tutoring young werewolves in the old ways—before the introduction of the shift-suppressing drugs that allow their kind to live secretly among humans. He expects nothing out of the ordinary. Until sexy, smart, aggravating-as-hell Corey Wilson arrives. Older than the others, son of a powerful Los Angeles pack leader, Corey is an instant temptation he cannot afford.
The last thing Corey wants is three months stuck in the Yellowstone wilderness, followed by the stifling life his father has all mapped out for him. One glimpse of R.J., though, sparks a determination to seduce the older man before he leaves. Yet as R.J. guides him through the sometimes terrifying process of rediscovering his heritage, a deepening respect calls to his artistic soul and fuels a burst of creativity.
When their time comes to an end, Corey senses hesitation behind R.J.’s insistence that theirs was simply a summer fling. Inspiring him to take a leap of faith with consequences neither of them saw coming. A dangerous plot that reaches from the heart of their love to the highest office in the land…
This book contains a young werewolf intent on seduction, an older werewolf determined to resist said seduction, werewolf politics and brutality, a little spilled blood, and hot, naked manlove in the great outdoors.
Lone Wolf is currently available in print and e-formats from Samhain Publishing and most online retailers. Purchase Links available here.