By Andrea Cremer
Published by Philomel/Penguin
Released on October 19th, 2010
Summary:Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice? (quoted from goodreads)
Nightshade was one of my very favorite reads of 2010. It is fast paced and brilliant! Read our five star review here. And a special thanks to Andrea Cremer for joining us as a part of BIR2010
Describe your series and how you were inspired to write it
Calla started it all because I wanted to write a story about a female character who wasn’t being pulled into a magical world – she was already in the middle of it, a leader and a warrior. The world of Nightshade came as I tried to figure out how someone like Calla, a girl who I knew was incredibly powerful, could be afraid and angry. What was controlling her? Why would she be fighting against her own destiny? I realized that she was facing off with something even more powerful than herself. That’s where my background as a historian came in. I teach early modern history (1500-1800) – a period of immense, violent change in human societies. This is the time of witch hunts, religious warfare, colonization, the Inquistion; all types of cataclysmic social transformation that turned the lives across the globe upside down. The more I thought about Calla I thought about the ways in which wolf warriors and witches could have intertwined lives. The mythology in Nightshade is a blend of history and lore plus new twists I imagined along the way.
Tell us about the three packs in your book and the difference between them
At the outset of Nightshade there are two wolf packs (about fifty wolves in each pack): the Nightshades and the Banes. The Nightshades are headed up by the alpha pair Stephen and Naomi Tor, Calla’s father and mother. The Bane pack is led by Emile Laroche, Ren’s father. The main difference between the two rival packs is the style of leadership of their alphas. Stephen is measured and stoic, encouraging loyalty and cooperation within his pack. Emile rules with a rough hand and brutality. He’s much more interested in dominance than collaboration. The third pack will be formed by the next generation of wolves and will be led by Calla and Ren after their union.
Nightshade has an alpha female, how does this change the dynamics of the pack and tell us more about Calla
The fact that Calla is a female alpha doesn’t affect the dynamic of her pack as much as that she models her leadership style on her father. She admires her father’s role as an alpha and she wants her pack to be based on trust and loyalty, rather than fear.
What are the Guardians, Keepers and Searchers?
The Guardians are wolf warriors who serve the Keepers, fighting on the front lines of the Witches War. The Keepers and Searchers are two factions of witches who have been at war since the 1400s.
Did any modern day myths and legends influence your writing?
I have a Ph.D. in early modern history and my research focuses on the intersection of religion, gender, and violence; thus, I spend a lot of time working on the history of witchcraft. Myths and history about witches and the occult played a large part in the world building that went into Nightshade.
What are your favorite all-time reads?
Watership Down, The Mists of Avalon, Good Omens, The Poisonwood Bible, The Handmaid’s Tale, Harry Potter
Any future projects in the works?
Nightshade is a trilogy: Wolfsbane (book 2) will be in stores July 26, 2011, Bloodrose (book 3) will be out spring 2012. Right now I’m working on a prequel to the Nightshade series that recounts the origins of the Witches War. That book will be published in fall 2012.
Team Ren or Team Shay and tell us why?
I’m Team Calla – because it’s her choice not mine 🙂
Andrea has generously donated one signed ARC of Nightshade for our US readers. To enter fill out this form.