"It is rare to find a paranormal story so rooted in reality." This is how the review for debut author Amanda E. Alvarez's Hunting Human begins. The author's paranormal romance impressed RT's Dawn Crowne with the way that this novel is very much a story about people who happen to be werewolves. So with that in mind, we went straight to the author to find out how she made her paranormal characters so real, so human.
Braden Edwards, the hero from my debut novel, could totally be the guy that you’d meet on Match.com. I he had a profile, it might read: 6’0”, brown hair, athletic. His summary might tell you that he lives in Portland, works for the family business and has a fierce addiction to coffee. He’d tell you he’s the oldest of four kids, that his parents are still married, and that family is important to him. And somewhere, down at the bottom of the list behind his love of a good steak and appreciation for old architecture he’d tell you he’s a werewolf. Not because he’s necessarily trying to hide that fact, but because that’s where being a werewolf ranks in his life. Between steak and architecture. It doesn’t define him; it’s just a part of the whole.
When I started writing Hunting Human, I knew that the story I wanted to tell was not just about werewolves. The story I wanted to tell was about people who happened to be werewolves. So often in urban fantasy and paranormal romance readers get a glimpse into the lives of men and women who seem defined by their status as a shifter and their status within their pack. While these stories are complicated, interesting and fascinating, I really wanted to write a story that focused instead on the human lives of werewolves.
Most of the werewolves in Hunting Human are just like your friends, co-workers, and neighbors. They’re the men you meet on Match.com, the women you meet in the coffee shop. They have jobs, routines, and hobbies. And once a month, when the full moon rises, they shift forms. Their lives are defined by the choices they make and the experiences they live. They date. They marry. But there is no destined mate. No fated person to complete them. They, like the rest of us, have to struggle through the awkward first date, learn to deal with past baggage, (be it the size of a carry on, or in the heroine’s case, a full fledged set with all the accessories). And ultimately, though they may not have a choice in love (who does) they do chose what do about it. Embrace it or run from it, it is their choices, their human choices, that define their lives.
This holds equally true for the villains of the story. Though they would certainly tell you that it is their right, by virtue of being a werewolf, to act as they please, they too are driven by human emotions. The wolf doesn’t ever rule the human in my mythology. Not even on the night of the full moon. At times, this makes the werewolves all the more dangerous, an evolved mind inside of an apex predator. But as with the heroes of the story, the villains are equally driven by human emotions and ruled by human decisions. Lust, vengeances, malice… all human emotions that you and I are familiar with. They can’t blame the wolf for their choices and actions because at the end of the day, they do have a choice.
Of course, there are a few things that we mere mortals don’t have in common with the werewolves in Hunting Human. Last time I checked, I can’t shift into a wolf at will and go dashing about the woods. And I don’t have increased senses. I can’t eavesdrop on conversations a room away and I can’t smell what’s for dinner a mile away from home. And I can’t rely on heightened senses to aid me in weeding through prospective dates. The hot guy across the coffee shop doesn’t smell like anything but coffee to me.
But then again, I don’t have to worry about containing an ability, or abusing it. (Come on ladies, how many of us would love to be able to morph into a fierce predator and snap our jaws at the guy in the bar that just won’t take no for an answer?) I don’t have to worry about meeting someone who’s allergic to pet dander (I can only assume that could be seriously problematic in werewolf/human relations). And as far as I can tell, being a werewolf wouldn’t fix any of my regular day-to-day issues. Could it help me find my keys? Both brown dress shoes? As Braden will tell you, the answer is no.
So as far as I’m concerned, werewolves are people too. And at the end of Hunting Human, I hope that readers will be surprised to find that they have more in common with the werewolf family that fills the pages than not.
- Amanda E. Alverez
Want to learn more about Amanda E. Alverez's very human werewolves? you can download your own copy of Hunting Human from Carina Press now!