For a story like The Stray there is a lot of research involved when it comes to the folklore of it. There are werewolves, vampires, gods and many more creatures yet to be introduced further into the series. It takes time to shift through all the history and folktales to create a history for each set of creatures. I know in the second book The Lost there is going to be more information about the history of my different creatures so I won’t be going into detail in this blog as I don’t want to spoil the storyline. But I can explain to you how I chose my history.
First I looked up the different histories, such as French, Greek, Native American. Each of these have very close ties to the werewolf and shapeshifter myths. To me the French myth is a little over done but there is still a bit of mystery in it where you can create your own origin as the origin of werewolves isn’t fully clear where they came from of how they became werewolves.
I also considered Native American folklore, however it is difficult to accurately portray the Native American skin walkers and it is important to get the history correct or risk causing an unintentional upset. I also decided that since I am an Australian living in Australia and have never been to America I can’t accurately portray such a culture. Then I came to Greek mythology, it provided an origin and reason, it was open to interpretation and was not used as much as other werewolf mythologies.
I believe that the most important thing to think about when choose the history for a novel is to make sure it works for your story, if it is mythology, not real history then it is easier to alter and give explanations in the story for those differences. I have another series of books that I plan to write which will require just as much research as the White Wolf Trilogy, maybe even more.
I use books and the internet. First of all get the common facts about that mythology. I literally have a copy of “The complete idiot’s guide to werewolves” in my desk. I spent hours viewing websites such as Wikipedia, and forums of people who love werewolves and started up a chat with questions. Watch movies read other novels, work out what you want and what you don’t want to include. But always make sure you have an explanation for the change in the mythology, otherwise you could have people questioning your research skills.
Make sure you write down everything and where it came from as well, this way you can refer to it later if you forget something or are running a consistency edit. I’m a big fan of browser bookmarks, I have so many of them that it became a big task when I got a new computer in the last few weeks.
When it comes to implementing the information to your story make sure you stay true to the history you created otherwise the story will become a mess and there was no point to all that research.