Join us as we learn more about The Wolf and the Rain and ask author Tanya Lee questions about her process, her characters, the plot, and everything in between. What is the most difficult part of writing this series?
The most difficult part of writing The Wolf and the Rain trilogy is also my favourite part: the research. My series is set in a post-climate change dystopia, book one in the flooded ruins of a northern city and book two in the eerie remains of the Waste, a region hit by wildfire after wildfire until nothing remained but ash and dust and shadows.
It was a challenge to find experts who: a) would talk to me, an unknown indie author; and b) were both knowledgeable and imaginative. While no one can envision our future climate with absolute precision, I wanted to give readers a dystopian landscape grounded in real possibilities.
Dr. Barry Smit of the University of Guelph, an expert in climate change, environment and resource use and global change, Dr. Ellen Whitman, a forest fire research scientist with Natural Resources Canada, and Dr. Mathieu Bourbonnais of the University of British Columbia Okanagan, formerly a wildland firefighter, were incredible sources whose contributions were hugely impactful in making my dystopian setting realistic, atmospheric and, well, horrifying.
While I don’t often re-read dystopian books the way I do certain classics or fantasy stories, I have found the dystopian genre to be deeply impactful. The first two dystopians that I stumbled upon in my teens were The Handmaid’s Tale and Brave New World, and I haven’t been able to shake them since. Offred, Lenina, John—they’ve all just kind of stuck around in the back of my mind, taking up space.
I’ve also really enjoyed the sequels that Margaret Atwood has produced—The Testaments and The Year of the Flood—as well as Bruce Miller’s TV series for The Handmaid’s Tale. Dystopian worlds are fascinating—and the classic books are often so short! Sequels and TV shows are a great opportunity to deepen the story, especially when they expand to include the perspectives of different characters.
Haha, I actually had no intentions in the romance department! I don’t generally pick-up romance books—my preferred genres are fantasy, science fiction, and literary fiction. Which is fitting, since dystopian is usually place under the umbrella of either science fiction or literary fiction (though neither categorization is a particularly good fit).
In terms of my writing, I’m not someone who plans out my stories ahead of time. I like to go page by page, giving the characters freedom to move and act and have chemistry on their own terms. And this has led to some interesting pairings.
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