I have the huge honor to have Jennifer Lynn Barnes by my cyber-side today! Her book, Raised by Wolves is releasing today, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy, it just sounds so amazing! *happy dance*. Before I give her the lead, I just wanna post a little resume of her book (from her website)=D
Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it. That doesn't mean that she's averse to breaking a rule or two.
But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian's basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents' murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs.
But in her drive to find the truth, will Bryn push too far beyond the constraints of the pack, forcing her to leave behind her friends, her family, and the identity that she's shaped?
At my very first author event for my very first book, a thirteen-year-old girl asked me if I could see auras. A week later, an executive at Random House asked me the exact same thing. As most of you will probably have guessed by this point, that first book was about a girl… who saw auras. With every book since then, I’ve gotten similar questions from readers wanting to now how much of my books are based on my own experiences and how much of me there is in my characters. So for my new book, Raised By Wolves, I thought I’d pre-empt these questions by putting it out all out there, right off the bat.
Confession the first: I was not, in fact, raised by wolves.
Then again, neither was my main character, Bryn— she was raised by werewolves. After her family was killed by a rabid werewolf, Bryn was adopted by the local werewolf pack and taken under the protection of its alpha. Over a decade later, Bryn is fifteen, fully human, and used to fighting for her independence in a world where almost everyone but her is (a) a werewolf, and (b) male. She’s tough and she’s stubborn and she could, without question, take me in a fight. I have occasionally seen her referred to as “badass.”
Confession the second: Nobody has ever, in my entire life, accused me of being badass.
But Bryn and I do have two things in common, and I think those things really shaped the themes and events of the book. The first thing we share is that, like Bryn, I grew up surrounded mostly by guys. I was always the youngest, always the smallest, and a lot of the time, I was the only girl. I had to fight not to be left behind, and sometimes, that meant biting off more than I could chew, just to keep up— and I literally still have the scars to prove it. Bryn is well aware of the fact that she’s slower, weaker, and more breakable than any Were, and she’s trained her entire life in an attempt to level the playing field, even a little. She’s gotten used to the fact that werewolves tend to be overprotective of their females, but she doesn’t have to like it, and she continually fights to show that she is fully capable of protecting herself.
Confession the third: in the acknowledgements for Raised By Wolves, I thanked my older brother for teaching me everything I know about overprotective alpha males, and I was only kind of kidding.
I didn’t sit down to write a book about what it means to be a girl coming of age in a guy’s world, fighting for the right to be who she wants to be and to do what she thinks is right, no matter the cost, but because of the way Bryn grew up— and because of the way I grew up— that’s part of what came out on the page. The other thing that Bryn and I have in common— and the other thing that surprised me when it started showing up on the page— is that we’ve both spent a lot of time around pack animals, and as a result, we see things in their behavior that other people don’t.
Bryn’s area of expertise is, obviously, (were)wolves. Mine is monkeys. In my non-writing life, I’m a cognitive scientist, and I’ve spent a lot of time studying non-human primates, the way their minds work, and how they behave in the wild. Like wolves, the monkeys I study live in social groups. Within each social group, there’s a distinct hierarchy, and interactions between two individuals really depend on where those individuals fall in the ranking. On the island where our monkeys live (colloquially called “Monkey Island”), human researchers are outnumbered at least 100 to 1. You step foot on the island, and suddenly, you’re surrounded by animals for whom hierarchy is everything, for whom cues like posture and facial expression can mean the difference between a peaceful interaction and a fight to the death. You learn very quickly that sometimes, you have to think like a monkey, and after a while, all of it— the hierarchy, the importance of eye gaze, the little signals that can mean the difference between submission and a threat— becomes second nature.
For Bryn, growing up around werewolves, the animal aspects of her pack aren’t even second nature— they’re her entire world, and she knows more about werewolf instincts, pack dynamics, and how to see a Shift coming or read a Were’s seemingly impassive face than she does about the kinds of things normal girls take for granted. She’s human, but she hasn’t grown up like a human, and through the course of the book, that matters.
Confession the fourth: For a paranormal blog-fest, I appear to have spent a lot of time talking about things that aren’t paranormal, but I’m a big believer that writing paranormal means melding together the everyday and the fantastic: werewolves and animal behavior, pack-bonds and gender dynamics, first love and the kind of bone-deep connection that brings you back to the same person, over and over again.
And besides, this way, the next time someone asks me if I was raised by wolves, I can just send them a link!
Thank you so much Jennifer for taking the time to write this great post for us! I really can’t wait to learn more about Bryn!
I wish you best of luck with the release, even though you don’t need it *winks*
Don’t forget to drop a line for Jennifer!