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Monday, February 07, 2011
Pocket author based new book on 2009 ice storm experience
An ice storm. Stranded in a strange, isolated place without power. Children with an unsettling ability to win staring contests. This is how horror movies start.
Watching the news coverage as cities across the Midwest are pelted by the much-touted historic blizzard, I’m having strange sympathy pangs. In January 2009, an ice storm ripped through Kentucky, taking out power and phone lines for thousands of homes, including mine. The first night I spent camped out in my in-laws’ darkened living room with my two young children, I was sure this was just a temporary blip. It was going to be a funny story we could tell the next winter. As in, “Remember that night we had to sleep on an air mattress in front of Grandma’s fireplace and cook on a gas grill in the garage?”
By the sixth night, I was no longer amused.
Over the next week, Kentuckians were cold, cranky and progressively ill-groomed. I returned to my dark, cold house to forage for supplies one afternoon, only to find my neighbor shaving his head in his driveway. I sincerely hoped that was related to the lack of electricity and not just a personality quirk I'd never noticed before. Neighborhood block parties have been stilted and awkward since.
But I managed to channel my cabin fever, before going the full fire-ax-through-bedroom-door and elevator-full-of-blood route. I started writing. Having recently published the Nice Girls books, a vampire romance series about an undead librarian in small-town Kentucky, I’d already decided that I wanted to write a werewolf story. And being isolated, in the dark, in an increasingly crowded, enclosed space, I decided to set the story in the frozen regions of Alaska.
While we waited for the power to come back on, I wrote about twenty pages of notes by candlelight. What emerged was the story of Mo Wenstein, a woman who moves across the country to escape her intrusive hippie parents and make a life for herself in the remote town of Grundy, Alaska. Cantankerous neighbor Cooper has been giving Mo a hard time about her place in her new community since day one. But when Cooper stumbles onto her porch, naked, with a bear trap clamped around his ankle, she realizes there’s more to him than a surly- though attractive- surface. A series of werewolf attacks, for which Cooper may or may not be responsible, dysfunctional werewolf clan drama, and romantic hijinks ensue.
The manuscript grew over the next few months and became HOW TO FLIRT WITH A NAKED WEREWOLF, which is due to be released by Pocket Books on Feb. 22, wherever books are sold. The sequel, THE ART OF SEDUCING A NAKED WEREWOLF, will follow on March 29.
So, while the encroaching claustrophobia is frustrating, make the best of your snow days. Use the milk, eggs and bread you hoarded to make French toast. Plow through the To-Be-Read pile of paperbacks on your nightstand. Write journal entries about the sights, sounds and emotions you’re experiencing as a blizzard survivor.
You never know. You could turn this experience into your first manuscript.