My interest in wolves was not so much in their physical details, though those are amazing (did you know wolves can smell something a mile away and hear something 6 miles away in the forest or 10 miles away in the open?)
I have always been more interested in details about social structure.
For example, subordinate wolves often try to bring peace to the pack after a fight between dominants. The more violent the fight, the harder the subordinates try to diffuse the situation with nose kisses and touching and licking. That’s because a Pack must work together to survive.
When wolves travel, they put the weakest at the front to set the pace, then sandwich strong and weak wolves, with the Alpha at the back so that he can see everything.
When writing about Silver, who is at the dead bottom of the hierarchy, I was curious to read that lower-ranking pack members are often particularly resourceful because they don’t get the pick of the kill and have to use their ingenuity to get enough to eat.
I also wanted to know where some of the misconceptions about wolves came from. Like an article in the Journal of Zoology that found a correlation between the snowpack and wolves killing large numbers of prey, what is sometimes called surplus killing. This seems at least in part because in a harsh winter, wolves are opportunistic. Knowing that there may not be good hunting later, they kill more than they can eat, knowing that the food will keep.
The correlation between the moon and wolves is simply that it offered the most light for hunting and traveling. Wolves don’t howl when they’re hunting, they howl to communicate.
Finally, while I believe strongly that we should have room in the world for everything, including what doesn’t serve our purposes, there is a lot of writing about wolves importance in nature. Mountains without wolves frequently degrade as ungulates defoliate trees and shrubs and the plants at water’s edge, causing the banks to erode and the streams to broaden into troughs.
For three days out of thirty, when the moon is full and her law is iron, the Great North Pack must be wild.
If she returns to her Pack, the stranger will die.
But if she stays…
Silver Nilsdottir is at the bottom of her Pack’s social order, with little chance for a decent mate and a better life. Until the day a stranger stumbles into their territory, wounded and beaten, and Silver decides to risk everything on Tiberius Leveraux. But Tiberius isn’t all he seems, and in the fragile balance of the Pack and wild, he may tip the destiny of all wolves…
Romance Paranormal [Sourcebooks Casablanca, On Sale: February 6, 2018, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492661870 / eISBN: 9781492661887]
About Maria Vale
Maria Vale is a journalist who has worked for Publishers Weekly, Glamour magazine, Redbook, the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is a logophile and a bibliovore and a worrier about the world. Trained as a medievalist, she tries to shoehorn the language of Beowulf into things that don’t really need it. She currently lives in New York with her husband, two sons and a long line of dead plants. No one will let her have a pet.