Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Guest Post: Jaime McDougall

UFI welcomes Jaime McDougall Author of Echo Falls. Thanks for Joining us!!

Investigating Werewolves

In the original version of Echo Falls, chapter eighteen didn’t exist. Oh, there was a chapter eighteen, but it didn’t contain the wolf hunt that makes the chapter now…

The night Phoebe Martin came crashing into my head, sending me searching out the nearest pen and piece of paper, I couldn’t help but shake my head in confusion. Phoebe’s story had werewolves in it and I knew very little about werewolves. Wolf shifters, maybe, but not quite the give-you-a-bite werewolves.

Why had my brain given me a subject I didn’t know much about?

Yet it was a story I had to right. That kind of clarity didn’t come to this writer for no reason.

One of the beauties and fun of writing any story is the research involved. The investigation combined with imagination to give your story the flesh it needs to draw the reader in and never let them go. But werewolves? To say I was a little intimidated by the subject matter is putting a very soft light on it.

Even in the first draft, I didn’t have it quite right. I’d done research, decided which aspects of werewolf lore I wanted to keep and which I didn’t want to deal with. I wanted the silver allergy, but I didn’t want shifting to hurt. I wanted them to have to change every full moon, but I wanted their inner wolves to be a presence during human times, too.

But my investigating still hadn’t gone far enough, and it was only when a good friend and beta reader told me this that I finally got it:

“What? No hunt scene? You can’t have them transform for a hunt and then skip over the hunt. That’s like sex with no orgasm!”

(You can see why I love this beta reader.)

Then and there, I finally let go of my intimidation and plunged fully into my werewolf investigations. I watched documentary after documentary about actual wolves in the wild, I stopped at every website and blog I could find about werewolf lore, I researched wolf body language and read old myths about werewolves and how they got started.

It was only when I threw myself into the investigation part of writing my book that I began to truly feel like I had a wrong story. My print off of the first draft became lost in a sea of red as I tightened, changed and strengthened my story. And as I wrote chapter eighteen – what turned out to be one of the most fun chapters to write in the book.

Were I to give any new paranormal writer advice about the craft, I would say to enjoy the investigation. Having your book in your hands is a wonderful thing, but it’s the journey that can be the true bliss of the experience. Once you through yourself into the paranormal investigations, you’ll find yourself in an even stranger world than you ever imagined.

Jaime McDougall is a citizen of the world, currently loving life in beautiful country Victoria in Australia. She loves eating sushi, kidnapping her husband and naming her pets in honour of science fiction authors.

A love of fiction has always coursed through her veins and she told stories as a child even before she knew how to write them. Settling into one genre was never her style and she has plans for novels in women’s fiction, urban fantasy and more – all with a touch of romance.

She has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: High School: The Real Deal and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Campus Chronicles. She has also enjoyed writing the So You Want ebook series for authors looking to establish their names online.
Find Jaime and her books

Echo Falls
July 15, 2011

 Running from a nightmare stalking her every move, Phoebe Martin arrives in Echo Falls hoping she has finally found a safe place to stop. But trouble has a way of catching up and soon the signs are there.

After a vicious attack in an alley, policeman Aidan O'Bryan is left with Phoebe as his only path to understanding why the Echo Falls werewolf pack - his pack - is being attacked. When another pack member is killed, Phoebe is forced to confront her past before she loses Aidan and everything she has come to love.

Love and duty become one as Aidan strives to prevent Phoebe from becoming the next victim. But with Phoebe just as determined to protect Aidan and her new home, secrets from her past threaten to tear them apart.

Will love give Phoebe the strength to trust Aidan and face her fears, or will her past destroy her future?

*Warning: Contains adult situations and language