A Whisper of Wolves
The main inspiration for the Great Forest – Alice and Storm’s home in A Whisper of Wolves – came from my travels in Canada.
An interesting thing about Canada is that it’s much, much bigger than the UK (38 times the size, in fact), but there are only about half as many people living there. That means a lot more space for animals.
I was lucky enough to see some incredible animals over there, mostly in the wild, but sometimes in wildlife sanctuaries as well.
I saw a humpback whale - which passed right below our little boat and treated us to a smell of its fishy breath! - and then a pod of orcas surfacing some distance away. Back on dry land I saw some wolves who had been rescued and were living in a wolf sanctuary. They were beautiful creatures and there was one with dark grey fur just like Storm.
I also caught a glimpse of some bears out in the forests of the Rocky Mountains. They were black bears – my absolute favourite – and there was a mother and at least one cub, feeding on berries only about 5 metres away from where I was walking.
The mother bear just looked at me for a moment, but she wasn’t really interested. Instead she carried on rummaging for food in the bushes. As I moved away (quickly but not too quickly) and crossed a nearby road I looked back and saw a bear cub that had climbed a little way up a tree and was watching me go. It was amazing to see, and very scary, too, because bears are incredibly dangerous when they want to be.
The sense of all the unseen wildlife around me in the forest was something I always had in mind while I was writing A Whisper of Wolves. The way the pine needles felt under my feet and the eerie calm that descended on the forest at dusk. I felt very lucky to have gone there and experienced a small part of the wild first hand. It was a real inspiration and I did my best to bring the atmosphere of the Rocky Mountains to the pages of A Whisper of Wolves.