Thinking about Wolves
As I’m taking a break on working on In the Service of the King, I decided to do another blog post.
Looking up on my desk, there is a squad of Warhammer 40K Wolf Guard Terminators peering down at me (for those who don’t know, these are plastic one inch tall miniatures of the most heavily armored Space Marines the far future can muster.) Jeff Smith, my co-author when I’m writing as Lee Lightner, once said that there wasn’t a single scene that couldn’t be improved by adding a squad of Wolf Guard Terminators. I’m mostly sure he was joking, but they provide me a spark when I get stuck writing. I don’t want to let them down. After all, they could come off the shelf and shred me pretty easily.
I also have a small statue of a white wolf which my sister brought me from Alaska. He has his head back howling at the moon. He’s been with me since the beginning of my published career. I began my writing freelancing for White Wolf Game Studio, and I owe Bill Bridges and Andrew Greenberg for giving me a chance. My debt to Andrew’s brother Daniel, who mentored me, is far greater, but I’ll cover that story in a later post. Bill really took me under his wing in the early days of Werewolf: the Apocalypse. He sent a wonderful amount of work my way, and I did my best not to disappoint.
Although I wrote DC by Night for Vampire: the Masquerade and worked on several projects later on for Mage: the Ascension, I think most people at White Wolf identified me as a werewolf author. I had an online presence as SilvrFang on aol in those days, and several people knew me better as Silver than as Harry. I’m so thankful for those early morning hours that I spent wondering how a Garou would react to the modern world or what kind of spirits I might find lurking in city streets. It was only natural that when I started playing Warhammer 40K that I’d identify with Space Wolves.
Through a series of strange twists and turns, I found myself working at Games Workshop at age 29. That’s when I met Jeff Smith. He and I were on a sales team named the Blood Angels, another of the chapters of Space Marines that inhabit the 40K universe. Jeff was a senior salesman, something of a sergeant at arms. He was the best of the best, the highest grossing salesman in the world at the time. When our team leader sent him to ask me who my favorite Space Marines were (the expected answer was Blood Angels), I failed to show the proper loyalty and identified myself as a Space Wolf. Now, for anyone who has met Jeff or seen him pretend to be angry, this was an act that took some amount of courage. Of course, I suspect that our old team leader knew what I was going to say, and that answer started a bond between Jeff and myself, because well, Jeff Smith is a Space Wolf through and through.
Within a year, Jeff had his own team – the Space Wolves. There are still friends of mine from those days who refer to me as a Wolf Priest. I never believed Jeff when he told me that one day we might write a Space Wolf novel. I was wrong about that (well done, Jeff).
I can’t help but wonder if there’s a wolf totem from my werewolf days that helped guide me down that path. If nothing else, wolves have certainly inspired me and sparked my imagination. Now, I’m going to get back to writing. Something about those Terminators…