Includes a new introduction from the author as well as the novella, "Alpha and Omega," originally published in On The Prowl, that inspired the series and tells how Anna and Charles’s story began.
“Fans of the vampire series by Charlaine Harris and Mary Jane Davidson will also enjoy Briggs’ fantasy adventures.”—Booklist
Essay from Patricia Briggs
The genesis of the Alpha and Omega series came in one of those serendipitous moments every writer loves and hates. I was halfway through Moon Called and trying to populate the city of Aspen Creek without adding too many more characters… when Charles walked on. Suddenly, I knew so much about him — all this background that didn’t fit into the story.
Any experienced writer knows that the only thing to do with such a character, is to save him for another story. So I trimmed his bit to the barest minimum and put him aside for another time. When my editor asked me to write a story for an anthology, I knew I’d have to use Charles. When I told Anne, she said something like “Who’s Charles?” Then she read the story and asked me to turn it into a series.
When I agreed, I had no idea that Cry Wolf would be the second most difficult book I’ve ever tackled. Steal the Dragon, which was the hardest, suffered mostly from the lack of skill (it was my second book). Cry Wolf, my twelfth published novel, was just tough.
From the start, I knew I had my work cut out for me. First of all, if I’d known I was going to use the short story “Alpha and Omega” as the beginning of a new series — I’d have ended it differently. I’d have left Anna and Charles on a more solid footing so I could just skip to a few months later instead of having to pick them up again in Chicago, directly after the events of “Alpha and Omega”. I would have made Charles less powerful — high-powered characters are really tough to tell stories about, just ask the writers who work with Superman.
Oddly enough, some of the things I thought would be hard — like wandering around the forest looking for the bad guy — were just fun. The Cabinet Wilderness is wild, high and beautiful, a forbidding, remote wonderland well worth spending a few days in (though I recommend you explore it in the summer unless you’re a werewolf). My husband grew up in that area and ran wild through it as a young man and we also tapped a forest ranger who’d spent most of his career taking care of it.
No, it was something that usually never bothers me that made this book so hard: Anna.
I never have problems with my characters, especially not my major characters. Throughout this book, Charles — who for some reason I really connect to — was easy, as were the various wolves who populate the Marrok’s pack. It was Anna — who had been very well behaved during the short story — who gave me fits. She just wouldn’t talk to me until after I’d already spent days writing a scene, and I’d have to scrap it and try again. It wasn’t until the very last rewrite that Anna settled down and spoke to me.
And all those revisions? All those revisions made the story deeper, better.
Crisper. I learned some very cool things and shared some of them, things that an easier book would never have revealed. I am very pleased with the results. I hope you will be as well.
— Patricia Briggs