Meet the Characters of "The Wolf's Name"
Hey readers! This is going to be a bit different from my usual posts on writing craft because I have something special I’ve been waiting forever to share.
Back in 2018, my great aunt Elaine passed away (peacefully, by all accounts) at a full ninety-six years of age. Unfortunately, I barely knew her, so imagine my surprise when her daughter emailed me a few weeks after the funeral to say she had something my aunt had left for me. Someone must have told Aunt Elaine I was a novelist, because the next thing I knew I was trying to find space for an antique writing desk in my spare bedroom.
It. Is. GORGEOUS! The desk is in amazing shape with only a few scuffs and an “E” I’m guessing Aunt Elaine carved into the surface when she was a girl. (It brings back memories of when I carved letters into my bedroom door when I was little. Pro-tip: if you’re going to try to get out of trouble by pretending it wasn’t you who’d spent ten minutes dulling a sewing needle to scratch your mark into your door, maybe don’t carve your own name into it.)
I couldn’t tell you how old the desk is. It seems to command respect in the way very old things do but best of all: the journal I found in the drawer.
At first I thought it was Aunt Elaine’s—that she’d maybe been a bit of a writer too—but the names mentioned in the book are from farther back in my family tree. It took some digging, but I finally discovered the journal belonged to an aunt with a few extra “great”s before her name: Olive.
She definitely had a writer’s spirit, and an artist’s too. Her journal is filled with almost lifelike drawings of her family and neighbours, and each portrait is accompanied by little snapshots of their lives. It makes me feel like I know each of them personally.
Strangely it’s less Olive’s life she writes about than her big sister Matilda’s, my great-great-grandmother who must have first owned my new-to-me desk. Stranger still, many of her journal entries tell of events so bizarre and sometimes disturbing I can only conclude Olive was inventing a dark fairytale with her sister as the heroine.
I’ve reread the pages many times over the years and am always amused by Olive’s whimsical but grim imagination. I don’t know why she never published her work.
I was so inspired by it that I had—had—to turn Matilda’s fairytale story into a novel. I hope she and Olive would approve.
I plan to share my novel with you very, very soon. In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few excerpts from Olive’s journal that didn’t quite make it into my version of her story. Starting tomorrow, I'll post one excerpt per day, giving you a chance to meet some of the people from Olive's and Matilda's lives.
I’m eternally grateful to my great-aunt Elaine for the amazing gift she sent and to Olive for inspiring me. I hope you find her stories as mysterious and wonderful as I did.
The Wolf's Name is now available for preorder! You can find out more here.