How did you come up with the idea for The Wild Hunt?
The Wild Hunt, previously titled Midnight Manor then Finding Harmony (I know ick) is a project I've been working on (and off a lot of OFF) for almost four years. I can't say where the idea came from exactly except that I was researching monsters, and stumbled across a cult of people in 1600 Italy who escaped the Spanish Inquisition unscathed. Meaning simply they survived, were not burned at the stake or put to death. They even admitted to dream walking as werewolves, and still were not put to death, they claimed they were not witches but instead fought against evil witches and did so in the name of God, GOD, as in the Christian father of Jesus. Yes that God, and so began my hunt for more information about "good" werewolves. Oh yea the werewolves called themselves benandanti which translates to something like "good walkers" and were also considered, the hounds of god. Benandanti is the last name I gave Duncan, as a nod to the cult that started it all.
My Hounds, aren't really werewolves at all(see below), but you get the picture. My Cwn Annwn, which translates to "hounds of Annwn" (Annwn is the name of the otherworld) is a Celtic myth about the Hounds that chased down the souls of the dead that escaped from the Otherworld. The Wild Hunt. If you want to know more, read the book, which will be out October 31st 2012.
A longer explanation about why my hounds are NOT Werewolves
The Wild Hunt IS NOT another book about werewolves, shifters yes, Celtic mythology intertwined with an actual Fertility Cult in Italy hell yes, but werewolf it is not. Although I can say that in my story hounds are the origin of the werewolf myth, and hounds hate, HATE being called a werewolf, it's a thing, they aren't wolves, they aren't even dogs really, they are Cwn Annwn, hounds of the otherworld.
What made you decide to start writing?
Ever since I was a kid I have wanted to be a writer. When I went to College (the few semesters I actually attended) I studied Early Childhood Education. In the beginning I wanted to be a teacher, and write during the summers. Life, as always, had other plans for me. For years I struggled with balancing my dream, my day job, and spending time with my family. My opportunity came after my second son was born, and my Fiance and I decided that instead of spending a fortune on Daycare, I would stay home with the boys. After working for years, this was a very hard decision. Being a mom is a lot harder than filing appeals, and talking to irate Providers. I'd trade dirty diapers to screaming Doctors any day.
I still miss my day job, but staying home gave me the chance to raise my sons, and really devote my time to exploring and developing my writing. Somewhere on my old computer, there are dozens of idea's for stories I got while working, (I'm sure my old boss would love to know that.....). I glance through them every once in a while and laugh at my early attempts. Needless to say, I kind of have to agree with that theory about writing 1,000,000 words. Luckily at this rate (ugly failed attempts and all) I'm at least a third of the way towards that goal.
What inspires you, and gives you ideas for stories?
A couple years ago I joined Wattpad. Back then Wattpad was a small forum for writers. You could write what you want, share, vote, and provide feedback. Really its a great place to get your feet wet. I can remember having discussions about inspiration, and the same thing I said back then, applies now....mythology, folklore, and history inspires me. It inspires me because it is the birthplace of stories to begin with. Those old superstitions and stories about monsters had a real basic beginning, an explanation for the unexplainable, for the sinister and scary. Where the bumps in the night and monsters had a very real place in the world.
Every idea I have starts as something small and easy. A serial killer (The Hollow), a scary immortal woman (Lilith), a girl connected to the dead (The Wild Hunt), an explanation for the seven deadly sins (The Seven Deadly Kings), a book about supernatural summer camp (Camp Temperance). All of these ideas started small, until I intertwined the mythology and folklore inside them. Daily I wish that I lived closer to a University where I could take a class on Mythology and Folklore, but here in the Valley, such things aren't possible without a good five hour or longer drive.....sigh. I'll just have to continue my research at Libraries, and the world wide web.