|Donna Boyd:The Truth about Humans and Werewolves|
Imagine you enjoyed the finely honed sensory perceptions of a wolf, and the ability to savor and articulate those sensations in human terms. How would those capabilities remake you? Would you apply them to a quest for fame and worldly goods? Or would you live moment to moment, rapture to rapture?
The Passion and The Promise, the first books in Donna Boyd's bestselling werewolf saga, plunge readers into the world of the Devoncroix family, fabulous creatures whose world embraces those of wolf and human. Simultaneously thought-provoking and erotic, Boyd's compelling fiction forces a re-examination of what it means to be sentient and marks a challenging new direction for this author of over 80 novels.
Donna Boyd: I have always been attracted to stories of the paranormal, and I think supernatural fiction is where my strength lies. I loved the idea of doing something different with werewolves, something that had never been done before -- an expose, if you will, in which the truth is finally told.
Crescent Blues: Most recent traditions depict werewolves as victims -- "infected" humans doomed to rend and tear their own kind like rabid beasts. What was the source of your idea of werewolves as a different species in control of their shapeshifting abilities?
Donna Boyd: I have never bought into the traditional wisdom that depicts werewolves as victims. It seemed logical to me that anyone with the enhanced physical, mental and sensory powers of a werewolf would celebrate and exploit those abilities, not allow themselves to be victimized by them.
Crescent Blues: Considering your background in romance and romantic suspense, did the idea of creating the ultimate "alpha males" play a role in the genesis of the Devoncroix family?
Donna Boyd: To be honest, no. The genesis of the Devoncroix came from my amusement with the human conceit we, and only we, are entitled to celebrate our superiority over every other living creature on earth. We share this planet with hundreds of other species; it's time some of them, at least, got the credit they deserve.
Crescent Blues: What experiences/techniques/research/sensations do you draw on to describe the sensory reality of a creature that is both "human" and wolf?
Donna Boyd: I spend hours watching the canines and felines who share my home with me, and who are masters at luxuriating in the moment. Imagine if you had the exquisitely enhanced senses of a dog or a cat, and the human ability to articulate what you perceived? Those descriptions, I think, would greatly resemble what I have written.
Crescent Blues: Since your werewolves belong to a different -- albeit supremely attractive -- species, humans cannot aspire to the condition. Much like the clique in high school you know you could never join, your werewolves form an exclusive club. How have your readers reacted to this exclusivity? Has it served to distance your characters from your readers, or do most people continue to pursue the unobtainable even after high school is a distant memory?
Donna Boyd: On the contrary. I believe that the most appealing thing about the werewolves is that they offer hope that there is, in fact, someone else in control... someone very much like us, but smarter, more powerful, and hopefully wiser. Humans have proven their ineptitude at managing their own affairs; it's comforting to think that at any moment now someone else might take over and do it right, this time. I also have noticed that the "savage" in most people identifies instantly with the werewolf; there is more of a bond there than you might think.
Crescent Blues: How do you reconcile the short Alexander the Great, with the generally tall werewolf genome?
Donna Boyd: How odd. Werewolf history records that Alexander the Great was unusually tall. Which version is right, do you suppose?
Crescent Blues: What prompted you to give your werewolves the particular physical characteristics (lack of body hair, for example) that you did? Do all werewolves share the same characteristics, or are there other "races?"
Donna Boyd: The lack of body hair came from the fact that, in most of the great artwork of the world, the subjects have no body hair. It seems obvious that either the models were werewolves, or the artists were. To werewolves, there are only two races: werewolf and human. All werewolves are fair-skinned, lush-haired, slender and tall.
Crescent Blues: The Passion and The Promise appear to be leading up to the introduction of a very special werewolf. When will we get to meet this werewolf?
Donna Boyd: David will be introduced in Book III but not featured until Book IV.
Crescent Blues: Do you envision taking a set number of books to tell David's story, or do you view your tales of the werewolves as an open-ended series?
Donna Boyd: I had originally envisioned a four to six book series to complete this storyline, but the further I get into it the more I realize that the potential for spin-offs is virtually endless. How many werewolves are in the pack? That's how many stories there are.
Crescent Blues: The main action in both The Passion and The Promise occurs in the past. Present day events seem to function simply as frames to these stories within stories. Will this format carry over into the next books in the series, or will the format change as other characters take center stage?
Donna Boyd: The third book will move the series into the present day, although the distant past will be visited to illuminate certain portions.
Crescent Blues: Given that the Devoncroix series postulates so much interaction between human and werewolf over the growth of civilization, what prompted you to focus on the "recent past" (i.e. the 19th and early 20th centuries) in the first books of the series? Will future novels delve deeper into the past according to werewolves, or will readers continue to receive this past in snatches?
Donna Boyd: The storyline itself demanded that I explore the events of the past 125 years to prepare the reader for what is coming in the new century. I had to explain why, after all these years, the werewolves have broken their silence to address the human population, and what events led up to this monumental decision. Having done that, I would like to think the stage is set for entire books to be set in other, more distant, ages.
Crescent Blues: To date, have your readers responded to one character in particular? What do you think is the source of that character's allure?
Donna Boyd: For some reason, women love Nicholas. Perhaps because he's something of a bad boy? Or it may be because we know so little about him. Mystery has its allure.
Crescent Blues: Do you foresee a single character dominating this series as Lestat dominates Anne Rice's vampire series?
Donna Boyd: If a single character rises to dominate the series, he hasn't done so yet. There will obviously be repeating characters, but I'd like to keep the series open to explore an infinite number of characters, times and places. If you feature one character too strongly, no matter how fascinating he is to begin with, he will eventually become boring.
Crescent Blues: Have your werewolf books developed a cult following? How has this affected your writing? Your personal life?
Donna Boyd: I'm not sure you would call it a "cult", but the fans of this series have got to be the most interesting people in the world (also possessed of extremely discriminating taste, of course!). I get a lot of enthusiastic response from the Devoncroix Web site and I love to meet people who want to "play the game". They send e-mails to Helena Devoncroix, our PR director, and fill out applications to join the pack, and ask for advice on all things werewolf. Of course I find this extremely gratifying, not to mention fun!
Crescent Blues: Did you have any particular models for the Devoncroix properties in France? How do you research your locales?
Donna Boyd: I picture the [Devoncroix] Palais as a combination Versailles and Tuilleries, but I'm sure it doesn't really bear much resemblance to either. I spent some time in Switzerland and France preparatory to The Promise, and I hope to visit the Black Forest before the next book, which is set in Germany for the most part.
Crescent Blues: The style of cover has changed dramatically from The Passion (a black rose against a silver moon on a blood red ground) to The Promise (an image of statue and wolf in a sylvan glade). Is there a story behind this change that you'd like to share?
Donna Boyd: I have no control over or influence upon the cover art. I wish I did! I will say, however, that I love the cover of The Promise and hope readers agree.
Crescent Blues: (Warning: this is one question the writer and publisher in me couldn't resist.) Is it true that the recent mergers in the publishing industry are motivated by the werewolves desire to consolidate pack-owned enterprises and preclude further human intervention in the arts?