Message From The Author
ONCE IN A BLUE MOON YOU FIND A NEW AUTHOR TO LOVE
LORI HANDELAND MIXES INDIAN LEGENDS WITH IMAGINATION TO MAKE PURE MAGIC
By Kerrelyn Sparks
In a quiet evening in 1993, Lori Handeland was home
in southern Wisconsin, cooking supper for her family. Suddenly…a vicious, black werewolf crashed through the window and gobbled up every last morsel of macaroni and cheese. Oh, sorry. It's not time for the werewolf yet. On with the story…
It was that evening when Handeland received The Call—she had sold her first book. Since then, she's sold 30 romance novels—historicals, contemporaries and paranormals. Handeland is currently busy writing two ongoing series: The Luchetti Brothers for Harlequin Superromance and, for St. Martin's Press—you guessed it—the werewolf series.
Handeland's three-book werewolf series packs a double wallop, combining laughter and suspense for one exciting thrill ride. The first book, this month's Blue Moon, features a sassy, take-no-prisoners heroine named Jessie McQuade—a smart-mouth, no-nonsense cop with a killer body. The hero, Will Cadotte, has a killer body, too—perhaps literally.
Jessie gets an eyeful during their first meet when she's tracking a rogue wolf and discovers Will in the woods, worshipping nature au naturel. Will is dark, dangerous and sizzlingly sexy. He's also a professor and an expert on Native American legends. But has he gained his knowledge by studying books or by traipsing about the forest on four paws?
Blue Moon may be full of humor, but it's plenty scary too. The wolves who've lived peacefully among the Miniwa community are no longer content to lounge in bed, wearing Grandma's nightie. Jessie has to figure out why.
And who is the big black werewolf? Is he the mastermind behind the werewolves' nefarious plan, or does Handeland have a few surprises up her sleeve? "When I began Blue Moon, I had no idea who the villain was," explains the author, a former accountant, photography studio manager and wastewater treatment pipe saleswoman. "For me, half the fun of writing the book is the discovery."
Handeland originally wrote a werewolf book 10 years ago for Love Spell. "But paranormals weren't selling then," she says. "You couldn't give them away, so instead I applied myself to writing historical and category."
But the paranormal kept pulling at her. "There's just something about werewolves that stuck with me," adds Handeland, who also will have a werewolf short story, "Red Moon Rising," featured in Stroke of Midnight, a paranormal anthology that St. Martin's will release in November.
"To me wolves in the wild are beautiful. They have that fascinating aspect of a wild creature where they can be good or evil depending on the moment. They have a very intelligent look to their eyes. In a way, they represent that fine line we all tread between being higher minded and obeying our animal instincts."
Handeland, who has Superromances about Luchetti brothers Bobby and Dean slated for release in 2005, uses her proximity to Native Americans in Wisconsin to create her paranormal world that mixes myth with reality. She incorporates Ojibwe legend about supernatural forces called manitous. "Manitou means mystery, godlike, essence. Legend has it that Kitchi-Manitou, the great mystery, created all. Most of the manitous are helpful. They act as guardians over humans."
But there are two unhelpful, unfriendly kinds of manitous. One is the Matchi-auwishuk, or the evil ones, which appear in Blue Moon. Will is not only an Ojibwe Indian, he's also an expert on Native American totems. "Someone carves the markings of the Matchi-auwishuk onto a black wolf totem in an attempt to raise those evil ones, among other things," Handeland explains.
The second kind appears in the second book in the series, Hunter's Moon (February 2005). Here, Handeland uses the legend of the Weendigos (Great Canabals). "A weendigo, or an Ojibwe werewolf, wreaks havoc on northern Wisconsin and the Jager-Suchers," Handeland reveals. The Jager-Suchers are a secret organization, dedicated to protecting people from werewolves (and any other
monsters that might pop out of Handeland's vivid imagination).
Next June, look for Dark Moon and the Native American legend of the witchie wolves. "These are invisible werewolves sworn to protect the graves of desecrated warriors," Handeland says.
"There's a different legend in every book, along with a different hero and heroine. Although each of the subsequent books is told from the point of view of a different heroine, the romance, suspense and humor continue."
It's enough to make a romance reader howl with joy.
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