[Blog Tour & Interview] Shadow of the Wolf by S.M. Pace0
In S.M. Pace's novel, Shadow of the Wolf, Toby must learn to survive. His own people have outcast him to live amongst the werewolves and never to see his family again. But he never fit in at home and he most certainly doesn't know how to fit in with the werewolves. When his loyalties are tested, he must decide whether he is on his family's side or the werewolves' side.
Toby has always felt like an outcast in his village, but he thought winning a game at the Summer Fair was the answer to making friends. The local boys disagreed and literally threw Toby to the wolves. Stranded in enemy territory with a broken leg, he’s offered two options by the resident werewolves; death or permanent exile from his race.
Although Toby longs to return to his family, he chooses to live. But the werewolf children torment him just like the boys and girls back home. When he fights back and discovers he can wield magic, a crime in his old kingdom, he realizes he’s safer with the werewolves than he ever was amongst his own kind. He even finds happiness and acceptance, until his real sister contacts him with her own forbidden magic.
Fearing for her safety, Toby must decide where his loyalties lie; with the family he grew up with or the werewolves who took him in when his own people discarded him?
I've discovered over the years of reading books that some of the greatest books out there are self-published. These books get little recognition of their literary worth because so few know about their existence. I am determined that self-published books are no longer in the 'unknown books' category. This book is definitely no different. This book is filled with well written narrative, beautiful settings, and magical characters that seem to jump off the page. I adore this tale of a boy who is struggling to find acceptance in a world that just isn't ready for him yet.
Shadow of the Wolf by S.M. Pace is the story of Toby, a boy that everyone seems to dislike for some unknown reason. No one is willing to accept him, no one is willing to be his friend. The only people that seem to care for him or show kindness towards him is his own family but even then, people seem to accept his family just not him. Why? In an attempt to gain everyone's acceptance, he enters the games at the Summer Fair and wins one of the events against the village bully, Noah. But instead of gaining the village's acceptance, he instead gained their fury and desire for revenge. The boys, including Noah, who had once been the people he wanted to be friends with suddenly lash out and attack him. With a shove down a hill and a broken leg, he finds himself in werewolf territory and he can't do anything about it. It is in the small village of werewolves that he first experiences the kindness of a stranger and maybe, just maybe, he might find the acceptance his heart has been longing for. But contentment is not meant to last as problems begin to arise in the village he once called home. His sister is in danger as a war begins to develop between his old home and his new one. He is faced with a choice that very well might ruin him. Will he stand with his new family, the ones who brought him into their lives without a second glance, or his old family, the ones who could not accept him and did not try?
Toby is the main character of this beautifully written fantasy novel. I like to think of him as an innocent young man in a world that many do not understand and few try to. His heart is in the right place in everything he does which makes him an admirable character. All he ever wanted in life was to be accepted by the people who seemed determined to hate him. The reason behind their undeniable hatred for him seems to be just out of his reach. The resounding question that he faces is 'why?' and what he will do once he discovers the reasons. He goes through a lot of character growth in this story as he matures and finds his own place in the world that the author has created for him. I think the greatest growth he faces as a character is accepting himself and realizing that what everyone else thinks about him is moot. His opinion of himself is the most important. He illustrates the greatest example of realizing that what everyone else thinks isn't that important. He could be the most incredible magicker in the world and yet if he places so much value on what everyone else thinks of him, he would never grow. I love him because he shows how important self-acceptance is in this life.
Ora, his twin sister, stands as his only connection back to the village that he once called home. From the beginning, I could tell that she was his greatest ally and his voice of reason in the insanity that would be their lives. She knows his deepest and darkest secrets and needs. Somewhere underneath everything that the village heaps upon them, she knows that she and her twin are different from everyone else. Magic is not accepted in their village, in fact it is shunned so greatly that those found guilty of using it are put to death. So when she realizes that she can use magic and so can her brother, she knows that their safety is in danger. She may be able to hide her talent but she cannot say the same for her brother. When he is taken to live with the werewolves, she fears for his safety but she also knows that he is safer where he is than where he once was.
The last two characters I want to talk about are Kyat and Saura, both of which are werewolves. I know, I know, I haven't talked about a lot of the character that are introduced in the process of the story but I just want to focus on the key characters in the beginning. I mean, that's where I pick my favorites. Anyway, let's start with Kyat, the werewolf that first found the young main character. He is a dominant werewolf but not the alpha of his pack. Many are required to show him respect because he is on the council, even those on the council still regard him as above them. For me, he seemed to break apart Toby's perceptions of what a werewolf is. Kyat is a genuine person, kind, confident, and strong. In fact, I think of him as the strong and silent guy. He only wants what is best for Toby which means he is willing to help him succeed in anyway possible. Saura is definitely a mother figure. I can see her giving him that mom look, you know the one that strikes the fear of God into any child that dares to challenge her. I was excited that the author introduced such a genuine character like Saura and she definitely is the other half of Kyat.
I really love this story. Sometimes fantasy is overwhelming and unrealistic but I found myself relating very well with the characters and the world. The best kind of fantasy is the ones where you could see it actually existing and that was what I could see with this story. In fact, I want this story to be real because it is so great.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
- I know a lot of authors hate the question about what inspired them to write a story but I’m always curious. So here’s my question: what led to your interest in writing the story?
- Are there any messages in the story that you want the readers to grasp by the time they finish the book?
- Now, I am going to ask a question that typically isn’t a favorable question. I’m going to ask you to pick favorites. Who is your favorite character to write and why? Which character do you relate the most to?
I love Ora, and I love to write Ora because she’s very different from me. She speaks her mind and doesn’t hold back her opinions, making her an awesome character to write dialogue for. I probably relate to Toby the best because he’s a bit quieter and more willing to please others even if it won’t make him happy, more like myself.
- The process of creating characters seems to be very complex and different for each writer. Did you base any of your characters off of people you know in real life? Did you have them go through similar experiences that people you know or you have gone through?
I’ve sometimes based my characters on other people, but for Shadow, they were all purely made up. I love everything about creating a character, asking the right questions to tease out the sort of person they are. I put them through crazy scenarios to see what sort of decisions they will make, sort of like those old moral scenarios you might have seen if you ever took a sociology or psychology class.
- What was your favorite scene to write? I’ve always liked that authors seem to never favor the same type of scenes. Some are all for the action and suspense scenes while others prefer the complex, deep, and emotional scenes. Which type of scenes do you prefer to write?
I much prefer those complex emotional scenes. I’m never sure with actions scenes if everything is making sense, whether characters are doing things that are physically possible. With the emotional scenes, I’m more in my element, diving into the characters’ psyches to see what they are feeling and decide how they would express it.
- Most authors place a lot of value on pre-writing rituals to help them prepare for writing different scenes and getting into a character’s mind. Do you have any?
I’ll often freewrite for five to ten minutes before sitting down to actually write. Sometimes with a focus on the particular scene I’m about to work and sometimes just about things at random. Just to get words flowing through my brain
- What books have influenced your life the most? Or rather what characters have made the biggest impact on you?
One of my favorite books was the great Gatsby, and my favorite character was Daisy. She is such a mess, I ached for her. I wanted her to see how much Gatsby loved her, and stop being such a stuck up twit. I think a lot of my writing reflects on characters being very set in their ways, in whatever is comfortable to them and being forced out of that comfort zone.
- Because I’m a huge fan of reading and love different authors because of their different writing styles, I’m curious about whether you have that same experience. I like certain ways that authors word things and it seems to influence the way I write. Do you have any authors that you would consider influential on your writing?
Probably too many to name. I already mentioned that Great Gatsby was a favorite, but I also loved Pride and Prejudice and many of Jane Austen’s other books. I also read a lot of poetry and nonfiction. I’m sure all of those have had some impact on my stories, but I’ve never tried to analyze my own writing, so I’m not sure how my reading has reflected my writing style.
- Are there any new books that have come out or are coming out that have caught your attention?
The next Mercy Thompson novel by Patricia Briggs, Frost Burned. It’s actually already out, and sitting on my kindle. I’ve told myself I will meet my writing goal for today before I sit down to read.
- Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Cliché as it sounds, write every day, so you develop a habit. And don’t be afraid to share your writing with others. Input from critiquers might be painful sometimes, but it’s the best thing you can do if you want to improve your writing.