Last week, I had the privilege of traveling to Duluth for Marie Zhuikov’s book release party. As she gave a presentation about the plight of the wolves on Isle Royale and how her book figured into that, I found myself flashing back to moments spent reading the manuscript on my parents’ couch in the middle of the night, making comments by the light of a small lamp; or curled up on the couch of my best friends in the twin cities, cozy indoors with wolves while a Minnesota winter loomed just outside the windows. I’m not sure of all the places life will take me as I read the published version of Eye of the Wolf, but I can’t wait to find out!
Marie is the first writer in my five-member speculative fiction writers group to publish a full-length book, and her success feels like a success for all of us — not just because we worked on the manuscript (and got a nifty mention in the acknowledgments!), but also because we know that Marie is “just like us” — a professional, dedicated, creative writer, yes, but also a woman who holds a full-time job (with freelance work on the side), is raising kids, walks her dog, and loves sweet potato fries. She’s a real person and not an elusive “author,” just as we all strive to be. With Marie’s success, it feels ever more attainable.
Marie’s book might be classified as a “paranormal romance,” but any genre label feels too small for it. Taking place in 1985 and based on Marie’s own experiences as a waitress on Isle Royale and her extensive research into wolf behavior (and the wolves on Isle Royale in particular), the book examines what might happen if the wolves on the island took the matter of their dwindling numbers into their own hands. They need to mate with new wolves to improve their gene pool, but the island setting doesn’t allow them to encounter new wolves. So the alpha male and female decide that they must “join” with two humans who will then help the wolves reach the mainland, their one hope for survival. What follows is a non-traditional werewolf story with such beautiful descriptions of setting that you might be booking a trip to Isle Royale for your next vacation. And when you do, you know the perfect reading material to bring with you.
[The book is still too new to be available online, but you can purchase a copy directly by contacting the publisher, North Star Press: E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: (320)558-9062. I’ll update this post with links for purchasing the book online when they become available.]