You guys, I’ve been wanting to tell you about this since the idea first came to me. Usually, my book ideas come with a bang. I’m driving, or half asleep, or listening to a friend tell a story and suddenly–bam!–I’m reaching for my phone, typing out the plot as fast as that blasted autocorrect function will allow. But not this time. This book came like a whisper while I slept. And it came on wolf feet.

A year ago, as a winter storm rocked the eastern coast, I laid in bed wondering what all those people would do if they didn’t have snow plows, or all-night pharmacies, or giant grocery stores to help them prepare. And I wondered, as my eyes grew weary, what they’d do if the storm didn’t let up. I fell asleep then, finally, and in my dreams, the wolves came.

 

 

 

 

When I woke, I had the spark of what would later become Hear the Wolves. This book, my first ever middle grade work, required an immense amount of research, which included a trip to a wolf sanctuary, and up-close encounters with the animals. I’ll be able to tell you more about this trip, and what went into the making of this book as we get closer to release, but suffice it to say it took a lot of time, and a dash (okay, more than a dash) of fear to get what I needed to make this book right.

 

 

 

 

Hear the Wolves is about a twelve-year-old girl, deafened in one ear, that’s terribly afraid of being alone after her mother abandons the family. Her father, thinking it’s in her best interest to overcome this fear, leaves her behind to attend a one-day festival in the next town over.

This character, Sloan, along with a few residents who also stayed behind–a reverend, an old woman, a young delinquent, and a boy she’d rather forget–are surprised when a blizzard sweeps in, cutting off the roads, the heat, and the other residents from returning. They might be able to withstand the storm, but the wolves that have always bordered their town are slipping in, noses to the air, empty stomachs growling.

Wolves are not a threat to people, the residents know this. But what about when the wolves’ normal food source is depleted because of something the townspeople did? And what if the residents need to travel through the woods to get help for one of their own? Will the pack starve, or turn their curious ears to the sounds of those travelers crunching through the snow, and slowly, hungrily, go from watching them…to stalking them?

 

 

 

 

I’d like to clarify that though the heroine of this novel is twelve, she carries her daddy’s rifle through those woods, and I believe the events that unfold in this story will cut to the hearts of readers, regardless of age. I don’t believe in writing for a particular audience, but rather, in telling a story through the eyes of an individual at a certain point in their life. And for Hear the Wolves, because of the intensity of the situation, and because I love to torture my readers, I whole-heartedly believed the character needed to be young to be truly tested.

But believe me when I say this: there is enough tension, and heartbreak, and darkness, and love, and sharp teeth and frostbite and fistfights and screaming for life and survival to, hopefully, satisfy you all. Oh, and, yes, there’s a dash of first love thrown in for good measure. You’re welcome.

 

 

 

 

Can’t wait for spring 2017!