“Wolves” or “The Whys and Were-fores Behind the Holloway Pack”


Previously on Ever On Word, I reviewed yet-to-be-released urban fantasy Caged” by J.A. Belfield, the latest in a series following the exploits of the Holloway Pack werewolves. As of yesterday, “Caged” is on the market, and as of right now, the author is here among us as a part of her new novel’s blog tour! Read on for her answer to the frequently asked question, “Why ‘any of large several predatory canids (genus Canis) that live and hunt in packs and resemble the related dogs’?

* * * * *

Why wolves? is a question I am asked a lot, and the answer is as simple as it is complex.
On the complex end of the scale: due to having dreamt of (not just wolves but) werewolves from an early age, I feel a connection to this species. I have dreamt of myself as wolf. Hunted as wolf. Raced as wolf. I’ve also witnessed werewolf changes in others—including in Mr. B—and been hunted by wolves. So, werewolves and wolves are a huge presence within my subconscious.

On the simpler end of the scale: wolves intrigue me. Or more to the point, the ability to become one, whilst still maintaining your humanity, intrigues me.

In my mind, it’s like the best of both worlds.

To have the ability to make conscious decisions not driven by instinctual urges and needs alone. To live amongst the human world, because humanity is a big part of who I am, so I’d be grieved to lose that completely in order to become something else.
But also, to know I could release my inner animal, the wild side of me that allows me to become one with nature, to soar amongst a forest I’ve claimed as my own, to experience the unity that comes from a pack hunt, to mate with the intensity that far too many marriages of today lack (maybe my belief that this is the way to go is why I’m still with Mr. B after 23 years), and to be so perceptive of the world around me as every sense is heightened, adding colour and flavour and sensation to the experience that might normally have gone amiss.

And all of this with the safety net of returning to my human life, and allowing the mundane to connect that less savage side of me to an existence I love just as much.

So, yes, the idea of this draws me, intrigues me, and excites me enough to want to investigate it further.

THIS is why I write wolves. This is also why I chose to write my wolves in the way I do. I didn’t want to head toward the monstrous beasts so prevailing in the dark urban fantasy or horror of today, but rather a creature with the ability to blend into their surroundings, whichever of their forms they took. And so, the Holloway Pack was born.

* * * * *

J.A. Belfield
About J.A. Belfied:

One day, a character and scene popped into J. A. Belfield’s head, and she started controlling the little people inside her imagination, as though she were the puppet master and they her toys. Questions arose: What would happen if …? How would they react if …? Who would they meet if …?

Before she knew it, a singular scene had become an entire movie. The characters she controlled began to hold conversations. Their actions reflected the personalities she bestowed upon them. Within no time, they had a life, a lover, a foe, family … they had Become.

One day, she wrote down her thoughts. She’s yet to stop.

J. A. Belfield lives in Solihull, England, with her husband, two children, four cats and a dog. She writes paranormal romance, with a second love for urban fantasy.

She also book blogs over at Bookaroo-Ju.

* * * * *


You can buy copies of “Caged” here:

Blue Moon cover, J.A. Belfield

* * * * *

Haven’t read “Blue Moon (Holloway Pack #2)” yet? Well, you’re in luck, because during the “Caged” blog tour, Blue Moon” will be on sale for just $0.99! Nab a copy here:

There’s also a raffle going on!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more posts and interviews and giveaways and all that awesome book launch-type stuff, follow along on the “Caged” blog tour. And don’t forget to wave “hi” to J.A., for me!

“Flaw” or “The Shortcomings of Perfection”

Once more Danielle chooses to briefly cede control of her blog’s content in the name of vocal variation.

Her character Bruno had his time in the sun near two months past, and in the process suggested – or, stated outright, rather – that he thought me under-qualified to produce an Ever On Word-caliber post. “Allyn’s not really blogger material,” said he; “deer-in-the-archer’s-sights minstrel”, he called me. And while I shall now state outright that this is utter nonsense, how he came by this impression is wholly understandable; is, in fact, directly related to the topic of this piece: The all-important character flaw. (“Hyperteller,” I’ve been instructed to say, “this one’s for you.”)

Allyn-a-Dale, the famed Merry Minstrel of Avalon Faire.

Why is it considered so vital that fictional characters be given

“an imperfection, oft concealed,

impairing soundness; or revealed

for any and all to detect,

their vague shortcomings and defects”?

(In a minstrel-run world, all dictionaries would by definition include rhythm and rhyme, didn’t you know?)

From all I’ve heard, the reason most frequently cited is that perfection is an odious bore, but I feel that explanation may go slightly astray of the mark. Rather would I say that perfection is inhuman. And while characters may be anything from regular humans, to magically reanimated humans, to Fey folk or Sky folk or some imaginative combination thereof or, I don’t know, talking rabbits, they are all of them by humans written and read. And humans do not relate well to those in which they can see nothing of themselves.

What sorts of flaws ought an author to choose, and how?

Firstly, consider the story. What are the characters needed to do? Which flaws would drive them toward that action, and which flaws would impede them? Does it take an inquisitive person to open the box that transports them to the alternate dimension they’re destined to save? Might that same curiosity compel them to spend valuable time investigating a hidden room when they should have been running for their lives five minutes ago? You want the plot to flow, but never too smoothly – not for the ones who must live it.

Second, consider the backstory. What have your characters’ lives been, up to this point? What people and circumstances have influenced them, over the years? We are none of us made in a moment, but a culmination of all of our moments thus far. Our pasts will inform our present flaws. Goodness knows that’s where the majority of my issues stem from; a repressive apprenticeship under the late greatest minstrel of all time can make deer-in-the-archer’s-sights mental cases of us all.

Thirdly, consider beyond the cosmetic. For every author who’s followed tips one and two and views this third as rightfully redundant, there’s likely another who needs this said loud and clear. One might not think to look at me that I am so terribly flawed. Certainly, you would not think it to hear me. In accordance with retellings of the legend that inspired me, I was given a voice of unparalleled beauty; and, whether Danielle really intended it or not, a face to match. I happen to have little in the way of physical flaws, which I daresay some writers might frown upon. (I’ve not always been terribly pleased about it myself, actually. I’d just as soon not be fussed over and admired.) And certainly a cast full of men and women who all happen to look like the children of Adonis and Aphrodite will severely lessen that relatable humanity we hoped to attain. But to rely too heavily on imperfect appearances to do a proper flaw’s job helps nothing. Superman with an unsightly wart on his nose is still the Man of Steel; unless the wart is full of Kryptonite, you haven’t really accomplished anything.

Lastly, consider the flipside. As in the hypothetical example of the inquisitive fellow mentioned three paragraphs ago, a flaw can be more than a flaw; it can double as a virtue, as seen o’er and again in my world of “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”. Little John’s disinclination to communicate much can make him difficult to talk to (and even more so to drag anything out of), but it adds to his air of Bodyguard Supreme and leaves space for the rest of us to get a word in around Will Scarlet. Talking of Will (who always is), one of his chief flaws is a refusal to stop and think a thing through before charging right in. On the other hand, his manic mind moves so fast that he’s actually the only one able to keep up with himself (…mostly), and so can more or less successfully plan on his feet. As for me, a deep-seated sense of insecurity had me feeling rather weak and useless, betimes; and yet there came a point where that very weakness was my only weapon to wield against the dark forces endangering Avalon.

I shudder to think where my world would be if I had been the strongest, the bravest, confident and capable of anything. It would have lessened the story. Paradoxically, it would have lessened me (…or made me my father; but he has his own failings, never you fear).

When it takes a weakness to make a character stronger, the one flaw you don’t want to write is perfection.