Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Confessions of a Character's Development: Wolf Cowrie

It was kind of funny how Wolf developed. When I was planning out Sheep's Clothing, the dynamic between the two male leads was intended to be sort of a Holmes-and-Watson-style partnership, with Doc Meadows as Watson (of course) and the bad-ass gunslinger as Holmes (which is why he ended up being so tall and lean). Things didn't quite turn out that way, of course, especially as Wolf started to evolve into his own character.

The first thing that happened was I made him a werewolf--or more specifically, I made him half skinwalker. A skinwalker is a nasty critter from Native American mythology that can turn into any animal it wants, so I had to handwave Wolf having a human parent in addition by saying that his mom (the skinwalker) was mildly fond of humanity. On the heels of that, it seemed logical to also make him half Native American (on his mother's side), and a whole pile of cultural knowledge went along with that.

In a way, this left him still in the same boat as his original inspiration, plus a bit of Simon Belmont from the Castlevania games--with a boatload of relevant information about his monster-hunting lifestyle and not a whole lot more. Rather than an intellectual or an altruist like the Great Detective, however, Wolf was out for one thing: revenge (Back to Simon, depending on the game). He might not have the education, but he has the intelligence and the anger to hunt Alexandre Russeau for five years. Wolf Cowrie is patient, and that makes him a very dangerous enemy.

Of course, by the time we get to Hungry as a Wolf, that mission is all over and done with, leaving Wolf twisting in the wind. He has a pretty complex backstory for what might otherwise be a relatively generic half-Sioux gunslinger wandering the Territories, and that makes him fun to write. He's still going to be a monster hunter--that's kind of what he does--but Hungry as a Wolf is more about helping him get his feet back under himself.

He evolves a lot during the course of this novel, and I plan for him to evolve more in the next novel I have planned, where he has to face the consequences of his past while he's planning for the future. I won't say any more than that except that you can't tear a bloody swath through the monster population for five years without getting some blood on your hands, and his collateral damage is going to trigger someone else wanting revenge.

Because that's how people rolled in the Old West.

Come check out my Kickstarter Campaign for Hungry as a Wolf here!