The She-Wolf of Kanta
by Marlena Frank
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Release Date: April 17th 2018
Legion Imprint of Radiant Crown Publishing
“A pair of yellow eyes caught the moonlight and locked onto hers.”
Mercy has always dreamed of becoming a werewolf trapper like her father. In Kanta, one must learn how to survive one way or another. A dark-skinned, blue-eyed young beauty, Mercy understands that she brings out the beast in monsters and men. When a routine werewolf delivery turns into a vicious assault from a pair of human traffickers, Mercy’s life changes forever. Somehow she must endure in a dangerous city where women and werewolves are hunted.
Five Fun(?) Facts About Werewolves
I think I’ve always loved werewolves. I can’t think of a time when I didn’t gravitate to them in movies or stories. I remember watching the old 1980s Werewolf TV show when it came on (does anyone remember that?), and got so excited when I found a few episodes online a few years back. Is there a cartoon with werewolves verses anybody else? You can guess who I rooted for. Oh and Harry Potter? You probably can guess my favorite character too.
So of course my brain is jam packed with (useless) fascinating bits of knowledge that I’ve picked up from all the werewolf articles and documentaries over the years, so why not share it? Here are my 5 Fun(?) Facts about Werewolves!
Werewolves Have Stalked Forests For a Long Time… a LONG Time.
The first mention of werewolves is thought to be in Gilgamesh, possibly the oldest piece of great literature from ancient Mesopotamia. You find out one woman turned her previous lover into a wolf. Definitely not a lady you want to mess with! They also appear in early Irish folklore as shapeshifters who turn into wolves and just about anything else. Even in early Nordic folklore, there are talks of pelts that can turn the wearer into a wolf for days at a time.
Werewolves have been looming in folklore and haunting nightmares for many centuries, and our love of them has hardly waned. Perhaps it was the fear of the woods and what could be lurking out there at night that terrified people. Wolves were a threat to livestock and therefore their entire way of life, but where barricades would stop a wolf from getting through, a werewolf was far more dangerous.
The Werewolf of Dole
Werewolves are a beloved part of pop culture today, but at one time they were blamed for unexplained atrocities. The Werewolf of Dole terrified the French countryside during the late 1500s. Children went missing. Sometimes their bodies would be found, but it was never a pretty sight. One day Gilles Garnier was found hovering over the corpse of a child and he was arrested. He and his wife lived as hermits in the woods, barely able to survive, and had resorted to cannibalism. Gilles stated that he was given an ointment that he used to transform into a hungry wolf and prowl the woods on the outskirts of town. He confessed to killing at least 4 children.
This is only one story of several convicted werewolves of this time period. Usually they were classified as hallucinating serial killers. There are a number of excellent film adaptations you can watch to learn more. My favorites are Brotherhood of the Wolf, and the episode on the Lore series on Amazon Prime titled “The Beast Within”.
Vulnerable to Silver
Everybody knows how to kill a werewolf: shoot it with a silver bullet. This is another pop culture fact that has been ingrained in us from every fun werewolf movie we’ve ever watched. But why is this supposed to work? Well one theory digs into the chemistry behind it, and into the properties of silver itself.
Werewolves were considered creatures of Hell by the people who feared them (who were generally devout Christians), and Hell is traditionally linked with brimstone. And what is the only chemical that tarnishes silver? Brimstone. It covers the natural silver sheen with a dark crusty texture, and is why silver must be polished regularly. I09 did an entire article describing this theory.
If you’re lucky enough to have a gun loaded with a silver bullet when a werewolf appears, good luck shooting it. Silver is a soft metal and doesn’t move as expected when it’s fired from a gun. Mythbusters did a whole episode comparing silver bullets to lead ones, and let’s just say the results didn’t pan well for werewolf hunters.
Wolf packs don’t actually have alpha males
This is so ingrained in pop culture that it’s actually quite a shock, but the belief that alpha males exert their dominance through aggression to the underling wolves in their pack is actually based on outdated research. David Mech introduced the idea back in 1970 with his research on observing captive wolves. However this behavior is only shown in captivity. In the wild, mature wolves break off to form their own packs. Mech is actually on record as regretting the popularity of his previous research because it has influenced even dog trainers to use aggression.
So who are the alpha male and female wolves of a pack? The parents. All the other wolves are their children. So all that aggression that they’re expressing is mostly from being cooped up with fellow family members they may not get along with. Kinda makes more sense.
Werewolves are frequently used as metaphors
It’s pretty clear why lycanthropy is often a metaphor for puberty: lots of hair growth, shifting hormones, and out of control emotions. It’s portrayed in plenty of media from Teen Wolf to Ginger Snaps.
In my novella, The She-Wolf of Kanta, werewolves are used as a metaphor for human trafficking. It’s easy to forget the creatures that are locked in cages or abused for a strong, reliable workforce were once humans when they look so very monstrous. Yes, werewolves are dangerous, but they used to be people too. I think that’s something our pop culture forgets about sometimes, and I hope this novella makes that a bit clearer.
About the Author
A writer of both fantasy and horror, Marlena’s work is in a smattering of anthologies. Her stories lean toward weird horror, creature horror, and YA fantasy. She typically thinks up strange tales while sipping sweet tea at her Georgia home, listening to podcasts on her hour-long commute, or while reading a good book with her three cats.
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