Tag Archives: I Am Wolf

Tapping into the Universal: Child Missing

I watched the new BBC drama last night Missing, anyone see it? A child goes missing while people are distracted, in this case watching the football, and he is still missing 8 years on. Good premise, she says with a smirk, I might know a novel that uses that device. What? Not read my novel yet? But, and here’s my point, won’t be the first, won’t be the last.

I really enjoyed this and look forward to next week: good writing, good acting and I am not a huge fan of the crime series I see on the TV, although the Beeb often get it right. But the point that I am making is there are only so many themes can be explored in our literature and in our TV shows. We talk in industry about high concept, something I have talked about here before and this is one of those concepts — something universal, it has the intrigue that will appeal to the masses. Oddly this idea of missing, also used a lot in stories, seems to be a theme I have explored in different guises in at least three novels and for sure in a way in short stories although often missing in these contexts might mean something more metaphorical.

In While No One Was Watching clearly the theme is that of a child went missing, at the same time President Kennedy was assassinated, and is never found — or is she? So very much this idea of the horrors of a child missing, every parents’ nightmare, is explored. The theme being what happens when you turn your back for a second. Also explored in the current scenes with the classroom shooting in the novel. So all big themes but universal, right?

In I Am Wolf Amy is missing. But she’s a reporter, not a child and she is missing in the wilds of Alaska, possibly misadventure or maybe it’s something more. But while this drives the actions of her ex-lover who leaves his life in New York behind to come to Alaska to look for her, the premise and the theme is very different. This novel is about identity, and the feral child and Amy’s obsession with wolves a huge part of it. But I hope it also has something that has universal connection — but in a different way. Who has not wondered about walking out of their life?

Isle of Pelicans returns to a missing child, but handled in a totally different way to Eleanor Boone.  Eight-year-old Tommy is gone, his mother dead, a country singer whose body is found in Golden Gate Park. But where is her son? It’s a hight profile case, one suspect, but he’s an old man and he’s dying. Enter our unwitting, ex-con Frank, affectionately known (to me anyway) as the reluctant clairvoyant  who knows about the kid long before he goes missing. This one is pacey, contemporary and has a ticking clock, where is the kid? But with no real leads, only Frank and his college side-kick, and a bad case of cross wires, will he be found?

So you see how this theme of missing is used in my writing but in very different ways, I hope anyway.

I loved Gone Girl, yet to see the movie though.

These themes of lost or missing are huge and think how many times you have seen them used. But like so many other themes we return to, and this notion there are only seven basic plots — it doesn’t matter. Do it well, own it, make it unique and you have something.

And right now I have to now return to the exciting climactic scenes in Isle of Pelicans to see if they find Tommy …

Have a great day! Don’t get wet! Unless you want to!

And good luck to my old writing group in Bangor who celebrate with a showcase of readings tonight — so if you’re in the area, do go along! Wish I could be there!

Showcase Poster BCWG 2014


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Character Blog Hop

I was tagged to do this by the very talented Kirsty Ferry who I met through Bridge House and we have been involved in a number of projects together. She has gone onto great things. She was In The Spotlight on this blog and has now been signed by ChocLit.

Please have a look at Kirsty’s fabulous blog here: http://rosethornramblings.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/character-forming/

I am a little late in this and my apologies as I have been crazy busy as you know. But many thanks to Kirsty for asking me to take part. I did tag people but it seems those I asked are too busy so not sure if this will keep the chain going #fail. However I did ask Gill James so I will include the link to her blog too!

I will tell you about I Am Wolf

What is the name of the main character? Is (s)he real or fictitious?

Amy Green and she is most definitely fictitious.

When and where is the story set?

The story has two threads of narrative. Part is set now in Alaska and is narrated by Mark Zander. The other thread is set six months ago and is narrated by Amy, set in New York initially but mostly Moscow.

What should we know about him/her?

Amy is a reporter for the New York Sun. She doesn’t need anyone. Her father is dead and her mother is an alcoholic who she hasn’t seen her in six years. She doesn’t feel connected to anything or anyone. She uses the number of likes on Facebook and the number of retweets on Twitter as a measure of who she is.

What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

Amy has f##ked up again. When her boss, Jonathan, ends their  less than secret office affair, she bribes him to let her go to Moscow to cover the story of Volchitsa (Russian for She-wolf) a child allegedly raised by wolves and with no language skills. Amy does not expect to find herself on the trip with photographer Mark Zander — her ex (and perhaps the only man after her father who really loves her), or to find herself drawn to the little girl she sees on a screen at the press conference. Initially she is convinced it is all part of some elaborate hoax — until she sees her. Now the rest of the world claim it’s a hoax but not Amy.

It’s only when Amy sees the scars on the child’s wrists, like her own, she realises they are connected by the same disconnection.

What is the character’s goal?

Amy wants to help Volchitsa. But Amy is as lost as her — so maybe she needs to find herself first.

Mark wants to find Amy who is missing in Alaska — but why? What happened after she returned from Moscow? She is gone with no shoes, no cell phone, none of the trappings of her old life. Mark hopes the truth can be found in the ramblings of her time in  Moscow scribbled in a journal.


I want to thank Kirsty for the tag and invite Gill James, my business partner at Bridge House, Lecturer in Creative Writing at Salford University to tell us something about her character in her latest work. Gill has been a mentor to me and given me many opportunities with my writing when I was starting out. She has a string of novels, mostly young adult and you have to check out her blog here: http://gilljames.blogspot.co.uk/




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Why tell your story?

I host my discussion tonight about self-publishing and more specifically eBooks and how this changes the industry so comments from last weeks Blogs are still most welcome. And many thanks to those that have commented. I will Blog about this after my discussion.

In the meantime, I think what we need to address, and what is perhaps fundamental to any discussion about the fate of our work, is not just what we do with it and how we get it out there, but do you want to, and why? Or perhaps this comes down to THE question,  perhaps even the only pertinent question and that’s WHY DO YOU WRITE? Is it personal satisfaction, the joy of the process, some primeval instinct to make sense of a seemingly often senseless world or are you in it to make a fast buck? If the latter you are probably in the wrong job!  We all have our own reasons, but essentially most of us, which includes those of you who are there at 5 am immersed in making little miracles every day before the day job with only the cats there to see your joy and pain (and that was me and sometimes still is) it’s about not being about to live without it, right? And the more you write, as I have said many times, the more you improve and the satisfaction is overwhelming, even if it keeps getting rejected 😦 But that’s what makes you want to be better, right? What makes you keep at it? And then when you see the MS take shape it becomes something of real beauty. Even if you are the only one who really sees it. But on you fight to be the best.

Perhaps I am talking about me, but I know I am talking about many of you too. I get it. And I get how hard it is. I’m not an egotist, but I don’t write just for me, I write for me sure, to make sense of that senseless world I talked about, but I also write to make a connection to someone, to what Stephen King calls his imaginary reader.  I don’t know that I imagine someone, but I do want someone somewhere to get what I’m saying and why I had to tell this story.

There are many stories to be told, and for me, and this is my opinion, I want to say something to someone in a different way. One of my mission statements that I have on my wall says: I want to have changed the world, even if only on a small way in the mind of one reader.  Perhaps that’s being too Hollywood and too idealistic and what I really want is for that change to be multiplied by  a whole lot more readers! I want to see my books on the shelves in WHSmiths at the airport as I jet off to New York for my book signing, with international bestseller slapped across the front -of course I do! But for this reason — not because I want to be rich. Really truly honestly (though it would be better to not have to work as hard as I do and live on beans on toast sometimes!), but because it means I have something people want to hear, I have a story that connects me to those readers. And while some might think that sounds idealistic and maybe I am laying myself bare here, but I mean it. I want to move people, to make them laugh. I want my stories folded into their brains like a sleeping cat, often to be re-awoken and recalled … there’s this great story I read about …  Imagine that? Being about to rewire someone’s brain!

I am almost finished the second (although in places it has changed so much, so more like a first) draft of my 4th novel Isle of Pelicans.  Unlike the one now seeking a publisher it’s a more pacey, more traditional psychological thriller. I am excited about it, but worry that it doesn’t say enough about the world that’s new and changes thinking.  There are of course several edits to go. It has taken a few attempts and while there have been many moments of excitement when I thought I had something, and I still think I do, it didn’t come with the blind to everything else obsession While No One Was Watching did.  I think it’s about what I want to say. I have read so many shorts and novels that while engaging at the time, were all too easily forgotten, too ordinary. I want more from a story and I want more in a story I write.

While there are a few ideas buzzing for new novels and I want to rework Coloublind, what really excited me this weekend was the realisation that is one short story in particular with a message that I think has to get out there. I think a novel will work so well and I have decided to rework I Am Wolf  from the Gentle Footprints book. It’s the story of Volchitsa (Russian for female wolf) the feral child allegedly raised by wolves and the unlikely connection the flawed heroine Amy, reporter for a New York newspaper makes. Even when Volchitsa is reduced to nothing but a captive dying animal in a hospital near Moscow Amy gets it. She envies the connection the abandoned child has to something, and the image of her clasping onto and pressing the fur of a stuffed animal to her cheek is one that will haunt her forever. With her father dead and her mother in a gutter somewhere from the booze, Amy gets what no one seems to and she herself becomes obsessed with the wolf.

What I think helps a novel along, from the experience I’ve had writing While No One Was Watching and Isle of Pelicans, is the difference between one that was a short story and one that wasn’t. I think it’s easier to write something that already has a voice and a shape.

My mission now (if any of you really care about my ramblings!) is to finish Isle of Pelicans  this week and before embarking on the next edit, playing with I Am Wolf and some more research (although I did a lot for the short story!) – I have a feeling from the way my fingers are buzzing this morning (0ne of the signs!) that this will write itself and in less time than I think!

The short story is available if you buy Gentle Footprints … here! Shamless aren’t I but there are some fab stories in here and for every sale £1 is donated to Born Free. Or I might (only if my audience demands it – wait, now no one will and I really will know no one wants to hear what I have to say!), print some of it here. Click on cover to see it on Amazon!










I feel really excited about this novel, but I think it’s going to become my new obsession.

And what do I say to that? BRING. IT. ON.

So in short, I write because I have something I want to say. And it has to come out or I will EXPLODE.

How about you? And isn’t that what it’s really about?

Because I am Wolf …


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