inspirations: wolf point

I talk a little about my inspiration for the first book in the Wolf Point series over on the Hitchhikers page, but as I continue the series I feel the need to talk about an inspiration that has actually helped me to build the world of the Wolf Point series.

One day, I was looking at a map, and saw the town of Wolverton (located somewhere in England).  I had this idea that there could be a town like this that got its name because werewolves lived there.  I’m not sure how much time passed between having this idea and when I discovered or searched for the town of Wolf Point, Montana, which seemed like the ideal place in the U.S. to have such a town full of werewolves.  Nearby are the Wolf Mountains, yet another ideal location.

Coupled with the idea of a town name, I thought about surnames like Wolf.  Wolf, Woolf, Wolfe, etc. would be fairly obvious, but there are many surnames from other countries and languages that essentially mean the same thing.  I liked the idea that families were given this surname because, in actuality, they were werewolves, and perhaps through the years, this knowledge was lost or hidden to the general populace so that today, we don’t think that a person having this last name is a werewolf.  In researching various names that mean “wolf,” I got the idea for The Five Families who emigrate to the U.S. and settle in Wolf Point:

  • Connor (Irish, meaning “Wolf Kin” or “Lover of Wolves”)
  • Loupe (French: loup means “Wolf” – although I’m discovering that loupe might be derived from louppe which means something else entirely)
  • Roulfe (Scottish – apparently my own spelling – from Rolfe, meaning “Wolf Counsel” or “Renowned Wolf”)
  • Randell (English, meaning “Wolf’s Shield”)
  • ???? This branch of the family I have not decided on a surname yet.  I would like this branch to be Danish, for which the word for wolf is ulv (you’ll see why later)

So as I wrote Hitchhikers and Dreamwalkers, I envisioned these families coming to the U.S. due to persecution against werewolves in Europe.  When I began to write The Beast, I wanted to see if I could work some of the real werewolf executions into the story of the real life Bete du Gevaudan, a wolf some believed to be a werewolf.  Instead, I discovered that wolves were hunted to near extinction in a number of European countries right around this time period:

  • 1500: the last wolf was killed in England
  • 1680: Scotland’s last wolf was killed (but possibly existed until 1888)
  • 1770: Ireland’s last wolf was killed
  • 1772: Denmark’s last wolf was killed
  • 1927: last wild wolves in France killed
  • 1966: Sweden’s last wolf killed (a wolf bounty was in place from from 1647)
  • 1976: Norway’s last wolf killed

The story of The Beast takes place right around 1770, so I imagined now that all these wolf families were being displaced from their country of origin and seeking refuge in France.  Because of the Beast’s rampage, France became unsafe for them, and they moved to the New World and settled far west, which by the time of the second prequel novella brings us to 1870, during the Westward Expansion.

I briefly mention in Hitchhikers the Five Family’s relations with the Native American tribes of the region, basically that they settled and kept to themselves.  I imagined this relationship to be similar to the French-Canadian fur trappers’ relationships, a working relationship that did not bring conflict.  I also mention in Hitchhikers the belief of the Five Families that the werewolf gene is passed through bloodlines, although it is later shown in Dreamwalkers that their belief that they are the only bloodlines with the werewolf gene is false.  In Scavengers, I want to bring in the story of the Native Americans in the area, especially since I’ve been conscious from when I first chose Wolf Point as a locale that the town is located on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and the racial makeup is about 50% Native.  Now I am tasked with researching the tribes of the area and how to weave a werewolf pack into that.

It’s been completely fascinating for me how one small idea has led me to build this entire world…

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