Author's Comments

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I wrote Wolfsbane after When Demons Walk and before The Hob's Bargain. It wasn't a smart thing, professionally speaking, and I knew it at the time. But Aralorn and Wolf were characters that I'd been living with for most of my life. And I knew that I hadn't done them justice in Masques. With three books under my belt, I felt like I could do a better job -- and since it was unlikely to see print (Ace had refused When Demon's Walk as my editor, Laura Anne Gilman, had left for another publishing house and Masques's sales figures were abysmal.) I felt like it was okay to write the book I wanted to write.

The biggest problem with writing a second book was that Wolf was so powerful. The solution was to find a problem that his magic would not be useful. So I took him and Aralorn and dumped him in the middle of her very large family. One of the necessary processes of writing is making decisions. Should my character be male or female, young or old, warrior or spy? The results of those decisions are something I have to live with for the remainder of the book--or series of books. In Masques I gave Aralorn a huge family as a character building thing, I didn't have to write about them so who cared if it was four children or twelve? In Wolfsbane, I had to live with that decision and I cursed myself roundly as I set out to write. But there are many children and if I named everyone, then there would be too many characters for people to keep track of, especially for a, by fantasy standards, relatively short book. In Wolfsbane I learned how to use a few characters to imply more -- how to make a few characters feel like crowded keep. It is something that stood me in good stead when I wrote The Hob's Bargain which had a similar problem with Aren's village.

Wolfsbane was the last book I wrote in which my craft took a big leap in competence as I wrote. My voice became more consistent and my pacing smoothed out. Because of Wolfsbane, The Hob's Bargain was a much better book. The Hob's Bargain is the one I consider my first professional quality story, because it did exactly what I wanted it to.

I revised Wolfsbane again, after I wrote Raven's Shadow. When I pulled it out to actually put into print, all I had to do was dust it off a bit.