Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Belinda Burke for taking the time to talk with us today about their retro title from Pride Publishing Wolf Of The West.
Retro Reads Spotlight with Belinda Burke
We are here today to talk about Wolf of the West. What can you tell us about it?
Wolf of the West ties Irish mythology together with the primal struggle between life and death, in the form of a pair of warring gods and a pair of lovers. Marcas and Connor have to find space for their own feelings in the clash between duty and desire – and perhaps also save the world from Crom Cruach!
Please tell us more about our main characters.
Connor is the son of the king of Connacht, just reaching marrying age and with a preference for men that doesn’t make his father very happy. We meet him in the aftermath of his first battle, as Ireland is thrust out of a peace and into troubles no one expects. Connor finds himself burdened by many new responsibilities as a result, but at the same time he has also found Marcas.
Marcas is faoladh, a type of Irish werewolf that’s unique in folklore. They are willing shapeshifters, the protectors of lost children and wounded warriors, but they are also trapped in their werewolf shape for seven years once they take it on. Marcas’ duty is to protect Connor, and ultimately to help him restore the peace – but he is also falling in love, despite his commitment to his task and his fear that Connor won’t return the feeling.
What about Wolf of the West makes you the proudest?
I would have to say…Marcas himself. In the sense that, while I have read many werewolves and written many myself, he is faoladh. The mythology that tells the stories of the faoladh, while sparse and hard to work with, was also a lot of fun. I feel he is the most interesting wolf-shifter I have written yet, because of that!
What is next for these characters? Is there more to this series? If so who will we hear from next?
Ah…a very good question! I have been playing with the idea of a sequel for some time, exploring the further adventures of the faoladh – and Marcas and Connor too, of course. All I can say with certainty at the moment is that after Wolf of the West, there are still three treasures of Ireland left…
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Write all the time! Constantly! Keep a notebook in all the places where you won’t want to get up but where ideas will strike. Especially by the bed. Everything is inspiration, so make sure you don’t miss out on life and the universe, or the opportunity to make a note about it.
What is the nicest thing a reader has said to you in a review, email, in person, or on social media?
I think the nicest comment I’ve ever gotten was also my first ever review. One wonderful reader said that she had ignored husband, children, and life in general because she couldn’t stop reading until she got to the end.
What part of a new story comes to you first? Characters? Plot? A scene? A theme? Or does it vary from book to book?
Every book starts with a single scene, which usually comes out of nowhere but sometimes can be traced to…oh, a song I heard recently, or an event or an image. Once I have the scene, the characters and place and plot start to grow outward – but I need that first, clear moment, a sensory snapshot, to start with!
Do you have a character in your head that you have yet to write a story for?
Oh my yes! Dozens, in fact. Some are secondary characters from stories or series that are already in progress – some are brand new and just panting for a chance to get onto paper. The worst of the lot are probably Loup de Moreau, a French wizard, and the Lleu Llaw Gyffes, the Welsh mythological hero. They’ll have their time eventually, though!
What book do you keep by your bed?
Lately, a copy of The Tale of Genji and the Silmarillion. But beneath those is Dune – Dune is always there!
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
Control over matter and energy! Then I could make coffee out of thin air, make myself capable of flight, turn invisible or travel to Mars! It’s almost cheating, because really It would be all the powers in one!
If you had to be a cat, dog, or a rat, which would you choose and why?
Cat! One hundred percent cat! The highest level of care…and the lowest level of consequences. When a dog knocks over the trash, it gets scolded. When a cat does it, a vague shout comes from the area of the trash. The cat, far away and probably under a bed, snickers to itself. I will join the coalition of cats in knocking things over for no apparent reason and then being elegant about it.
Do you remember a character talking about a particular food and it made you want to eat it RIGHTNOW? and if yes, what was it?
Anyone who has ever read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe should remember the Turkish delight Edmund got from the White Witch. As a wee American girl, I thought that stuff sounded like god in a box. An edible, sugary god. My adult self, having tried it, agrees!
What are you reading right now and what is next on your to-be-read list?
I’ve just finished reading Frank Herbert’s “Destination: Void” as I dive ever deeper into the world of science fiction! Next up is a series of short stories, mostly Asimov and Bradbury – and I am being slowly talked into reading The Handmaid’s Tale, so I expect that will be on the list too.
Rapid Fire Time
- Morning or Night? Night!
- Hamburger or Hotdog? Hamburger for sure!
- Rain or snow? Rain, rain, every day!
- Coffee or tea? Coffee!
- Summer or Winter? Winter!
- Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Trek!
- Jazz or Pop? Feed me with Jazz!
- 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future? 1916 would be terrifying! 2216 it is!
- Whips or Chains? Chains all the way!
What are you working on? What is next?
I’ve just finished work on book five of my long-running Eight Kingdoms series, A Harvest of Dreams and Embers, so that should be out soon!
The next big projects on the list is Snow, an m/m retelling of the Snow White fairy tale, set in Tang dynasty China.
Earthbound, also set in Tang China, explores Chinese mythology and the entanglements love creates in mortal lives, and is also in the works!
Title: Wolf Of The West
Author: Belinda Burke
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Cover Artist: Posh Gosh
Rating: of 5 Stars
Genre: Action/Adventure, Bisexual, Erotica, Fantasy, Fiction, Gay, Gay Fiction, Gay Romance, Historical, Horror, Paranormal, Romance
Eire is a land of gold and bronze, bought with fire and blood. Yet for thirty years, there has been peace in the name of the High King. Now, his quest for immortality has unleashed Crom Cruach, the bent one, Crooked King of the void.
The faoladh, wolf-protectors of man, have sought to suppress those that would bring Crom Cruach into the world. It is Marcas, one of those wolves, who will confront darkness in the name of duty–and beside him, Connor, prince of Connacht.
Connor is a wounded warrior, marked with brightness to foil the dark–a mark that means Marcas must protect him. Yet the longer Marcas spends at Connor’s side, the more he finds himself wanting Connor for his own, and from the moment Marcas shows himself to Connor as a man, not a wolf, the attraction between them is obvious.
Connor wants just what Marcas wants, if only he can convince him of that in time, but the same question is before each of them, waiting to be answered. Which must they serve–love or duty? For Marcas, the weight of his service may prove too much–a deadly burden. For Connor, only son of a king, even victory may have its price in separation.
In the end, it may not matter either way. The shadow is already moving…
Connor blinked, surprised. When he laughed like that, Marcas seemed, for the first time, completely human. There was nothing of the panting wolf in the sound, just the rich tones of a man overcome by amusement.
He bent at the waist, and his cheeks were flushed, and the smile he wore had nothing more wild in it than his own humor. It was both reassuring and disturbing. How could so much that was different exist in one person, one being? And the things he said!
For the second time, Connor felt the flush of his own embarrassment rising to the surface, warming his skin. Had he been wrong, to think that there was something heated, something wanting between them?
How could he have been, when Marcas had wanted him to run? And that kiss… Yes, that kiss. Unconsciously, he licked his lips, tasted Marcas on them. There had been no hesitation there, no pulling back, nothing to suggest anything like waiting.
Then again… What did he know? There hadn’t been slowly with Connor’s previous lovers. He hadn’t had the chance nor the inclination to take his time, whatever that meant. More than lingering over pleasure, obviously, or why would Marcas pull away?
His palms tingled with the memory of those chaste kisses, so strong in contrast to the powerful desire that had been in the lips moving against his mouth, the tongue that had played so skillfully against his tongue.
Again, Connor licked his lips. Marcas’ laughter faded into a few chuckles that made themselves known between shakes of his head. “Connor, you’ve got much to learn. I’ll tell you that now—but maybe not so much as I thought, about some things.”
About the Author
Belinda currently lives on the New England coast with her fiancé, their room mate and her cat. When she’s not writing, she’s working toward degrees in Philosophy and English, embroidering or reading.
Belinda writes in several genres, but a little lust and love always work their way into her stories.
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