Mariposa Cruz is here today to tell us about her new release, Howl and give us some insight into her werewolf world. Let's give her a warm welcome.
Tell us a little about yourself. Do you use a pen name? If so, why?
I’ve written a number of freelance interviews and music reviews for a local independent weekly under my legal name. I use my pen name, Mariposa Cruz, for my romance writing. Since I work in a conservative environment (corporate law), it made sense to keep my twilight pursuits separate from my day job.
You’ve written a werewolf story. Tell us about the werewolf lore surrounding your characters? Do they age like humans? Are they aware of their human side when they are in their wolf skin? Do they have control of when they shift and when they don’t?
The werewolves in Howl age like humans, but they heal quickly. In Howl, strong emotions can trigger a shift. Seasoned werewolves, like Jack, are fully aware of their human side and can resist the impulse to shift under pressure. For newly turned werewolves, like Kate, it takes awhile for the wolf and human psyches to mesh. Aside from discovering feline carcasses on her kitchen floor, Kate has no idea of what her four-legged self does at night, she fears she's losing her mind.
Tell us a little about your characters in Howl. Are they looking for love?
Both Kate and Jack are lonely and yearn for love, but the circumstances in their lives make it difficult for them to actively seek it. Kate struggles to make ends meet as single mom while Jack is in pursuit of a rogue werewolf.
Are you anything like your character(s)? Are they based on anyone you know—werewolf or human?
Kate and I share a profession (corporate paralegal) and a love of baking, but she's her own person like the other characters in Howl. Though I suspect feeding a pack of wolves is not unlike feeding a house full of teenagers.
You’ve written a paranormal tale. Why this genre?
I fell in love with monsters while watching their classic movies I'm also intrigued by the werewolves' struggle to remain true to their beastly nature while living in the "real" world. as a kid.
What inspired your story? Give us behind the scene view.
Howl was an on-going WIP during two very tumulteous periods in my life. I started Howl shortly after my family moved to Reno from Northern California. Though it was a positive move in many ways, I missed my CA family and friends. My divorce became final three weeks after I submitted Howl for publication. Though our marriages ended for different reasons, Kate's rage came from a very real place.
Would you like to be a werewolf or a shifter, who can chose any animal shape? Why?
As a writer I love to work with a variety of forms (interviews, articles, flash fiction and creative non-fiction) From a beast's perspective, I'd prefer to be a werewolf rather than have the ability to shift into different animal forms. A shifter with a single animal form would be more likely to connect with a community. I believe a sense of community is essential to survive in any world paranormal or otherwise.
You have a family and you work. How do you find time to write? Do you have a schedule?
My regular writing schedule is weekend mornings before my kids get up and those rare moments that I have the house to myself. During the week, I squeeze in my writing projects on my lunch hour. Right now I'm writing from my car "office" with a view of snow-capped Mt. Rose.
Is Howl a stand alone story or part of a series?
Right now, the sequel to Howl is in the works.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
I love the process of discovery involved with writing. The more I delve into a story, the more particular character traits emerge along with possible plot directions. Also writing is one of the few pursuits that requires daydreaming as an essential skill, no doubt the reason my English grades were higher than my math scores.
What are your current projects and works in progress?
In addition to Howl's sequel, I’m working on a full-length novel about an accountant and a social worker, former high school buddies who re-kindle their friendship when their marriages hit bottom. Both women experience betrayal, but take different paths toward resolution.
Tell the readers where they can find you:
Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers?
Karen, thank you so much for inviting me.
“Pierce called me this morning. He’s here. He left cigarette butts near your window. I spent all day tracking him.”
Kate hugged her knees trying to shake a sudden chill.
“When I think about what he did to you…”
“I’m all right. I want to be with you in any way, shape, or form.” Kate put her arms around him. His shoulders were rigid with tension. Kate turned his face toward hers and kissed him slowly, her free hand stroking his beard.
“I never realized you could be such a tease,” Jack murmured into her ear.
“I never knew you could be such a beast,” Kate replied and kissed him again.
He returned her kiss, pulling her onto his lap. His hands slid up her shirt caressing her bare back while she snuggled closer and wrapped her legs around him.
The first howl startled them.
“Damn,” Jack muttered.
Kate sighed. “We can’t be late for dinner?” she murmured.
“No. I’m not going to rush this time. We’ll continue this later in bed. I’ll wait for you outside.” His fingers traced the curve of her bare thigh when he released her. He kissed her hard on the mouth then turned and left her to change alone. If he lingered much longer, they would miss dinner.
Jack paced outside while he waited for Kate to join him. Changing in the chilled, night air cooled his ardor. He heard the others in the distance and his stomach growled. Searching the forest for Pierce all day, he hadn’t slowed to eat. What was taking her so long? It wasn’t as if she needed to freshen up her make up or curl her hair. Finally, after several long minutes, a small, silver wolf joined him. She nipped at him playfully as they raced to meet the others.
The hunt seemed to take longer than usual while they chased their prey deep into the forest. No longer overwhelmed by sounds and scents of the forest, Kate appeared exhilarated by the hunt. Several hours later, slightly winded from their pursuit, they slipped into Jack’s room. He had changed and waited for her in bed when Kate crawled through the side door and burrowed under the covers. A faint cry came from beneath the blankets while her limbs shifted and reformed. Breathlessly, Kate emerged beside him, her blonde hair tousled. With an exasperated groan, she held up her arms, the silver wolf’s paws still splayed from her wrists.