Kelley Armstrong is the author of Frostbitten, the 11th book in her Women of the Underworld series. In this short interview, we discuss werewolves and real wolves, and the difficulties that one might encounter as a werewolf in her series. (Interview follows the description of the book.)
Smart, sexy, supernatural—the men and women of the Otherworld live and love, fight and die, among us. Unseen and unsuspected, this realm of witches, ghosts, and werewolves is now threatened with exposure by a brutal series of bizarre murders that has left even the supernatural world baffled—and cold with terror….
Being the world’s only female werewolf has its advantages, such as having her pick of the Otherworld’s most desirable males. And Elena Michaels couldn’t have picked a more dangerously sexy and undyingly loyal mate than Clayton Danvers. Now their bond will be put to the ultimate test as they follow a bloody trail of gruesome slayings deep into Alaska’s frozen wilderness.
There’s nothing the werewolf community dislikes more than calling attention to itself. So when a pair of rogue man-eaters begins hunting humans, it’s up to Elena and Clayton to track down the predators. But any illusions their task would be simple are quickly dispelled. For even in werewolf terms, there’s something very disturbing taking place in the dark Alaskan forests. A werewolf more wolf than human and more unnatural than supernatural is on the hunt—a creature whose origins seem to spring from ancient legends of the shape-shifting Wendigo.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, Clayton and Elena find themselves confronting painful ghosts from their pasts—and an issue neither of them is eager to discuss. For one of them has been chosen to become the new Pack leader, and as every wolf knows, there can be only one Alpha. They’ve always been equals in everything. Now, when their survival depends more than ever on perfect teamwork, will instinct allow one of them to lead…and the other to follow?
How does one become a werewolf in your series? Would you ever consider making the leap into werewolf life? Would you be an alpha female?
Most are hereditary through the male line. A few are bitten and survive. I would love to be a werewolf—very temporarily. What better thrill than to experience life in a different form? The secondary characteristics would be cool, too, even if those “extras” also make it hard for werewolves to blend. I wouldn’t want to be Alpha, though. Too much responsibility.
What’s the most difficult part of being a werewolf in your series?
Dealing with the changes to personality and the urge to hunt, with little regard for what you’re hunting.
Wolves are fascinating creatures, but they’re so different from people!
How did you handle making your werewolves sufficiently “wolfy”?
Lots of research combined with observation of them at refuges and discussion with naturalists.
Alaska offers its share of rugged, unforgiving terrain. What kind of research did you do to capture this environment?
I was in Anchorage, decided it’d make a good location and did my research on site while I was visiting.
Elena travels into the wilderness to track down a couple of “mutts”. What are “mutts”?
They’re werewolves who aren’t part of the Pack.
Frostbitten sounds like a fairly ferocious book. Will Elena come out of this the same person? Will we still see more of her in upcoming novels?
If a character ever comes out of a book the same person he/she went into it, then I haven’t done my job. The goal is always some evolution of character. She continues to appear—and evolve—through the rest of the series.
I know you don’t want to give anything away, but if you could sum up Frostbitten in one word, what would it be?