We are very happy to welcome Kari Gregg to the Smoocher’s Voice blog today. Kari’s latest release is the novella Tame a Wild Human. Kari Gregg lives in the mountains of Wild and Wonderful West Virginia with her Wonderful husband and three very Wild children.
When Kari’s not writing, she enjoys reading, coffee, zombie flicks, coffee, naked mud-wrestling (not really), and . . . coffee!
Connect with Kari:
Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 25th. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.
Jodi: Hi Kari, welcome to the Smoocher’s Voice Blog. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. Your latest novella, Tame a Wild Human, has an intriguing plot. What was your inspiration for this story?
Kari: I always have a few shifter ideas knocking around my hard drive – that mythos offers writers an embarrassment of creative riches. While this was one of my darker ideas, very true, I like the dark sometimes. I wanted to explore a world in which shifters are apex predators, but also one in which humans are predatory too. How might wolves and humans interact, not only with the other species but among their own?
Jodi: This book has some disturbing motifs. Yet as brutal as the wolves in the book seem to be, there is also an underlying message that humans are the most brutal of animals. While Cole represents both the brutality and compassion of the wolves, it is Andrew who shows the brutality of humans. Is there an underlying message for your readers?
Kari: That’s probably as much about my personal worldview and journey as anything else. People who are demonized, those we consider not a member of “us” however we choose to define “us,” may surprise us once we meet and interact with them. We fear those who are different, don’t understand those differences, and tend to reject the not-us out of hand without making an effort to understand those beliefs, motivations, etc. I’m not saying we should share and agree with beliefs that differ from ours, but I think we often throw up walls when we should instead build doors and windows. I’ve learned more about my Christian faith by talking to and debating with atheists than probably anywhere else, for example. Do I believe atheists are wrong? Of course, I do, LOL. But I’ve found that if opposing parties can cut the snarky contempt/disdain and genuinely talk to each other, there’s ample room to learn and grow on both sides of the equation.
Jodi: Cole is an alpha male wolf. He is a strong dominant character, cruel, self serving and also compassionate. Can the concept of love and romance fit into his world, or is companionship and submission the end goal?
Kari: Love can certainly fit into this world, but that will develop over time. Insta-love isn’t a parameter of this world. Insta-lust, you bet, but not insta-love. Love is something to be worked toward in this world, precious, something that needs nurturing and an opportunity to grow. I would’ve thought less of Cole and Wyatt both if they’d proclaimed undying love at the end of their first full moon together. Their commitment to one another, Cole by choosing Wyatt as his own and Wyatt by choosing Cole over other humans (and wolves), are both selfish and self-serving, but commitment is an important first step. In this world, wolves typically wait to take their chosen humans back to their dens, over the course of many full moons. Why? The human hasn’t committed to that wolf yet. Both wolf and human are still too wary and distrustful of each other.
Jodi: Tell is about Wyatt and why he is so submissive despite his fears.
Kari: Wyatt isn’t naturally submissive. He submits because he thinks that’s his best chance of surviving, pure and simple, LOL. In the cities, people believe humans who fight the wolves will die, that humans who resist aren’t as appealing to wolves. Challenging a wolf won’t win a human a token of protection, so they think. But city folk are wrong. Wolves crave submission, that’s true, but they like to be challenged.
Jodi: Despite the shortness of this book, you are able to do some world building for this story. Was it difficult to create this world in so few pages?
Kari: I have serious, serious problems getting my worlds on page, LOL. I don’t think that’s a secret to anybody at this point. Doesn’t mean I haven’t done the world building. I have. I just have trouble relating that to the reader and Riptide’s done an excellent job at helping me with that.
Jodi: Do you outline your characters and plots before starting, or do you just write and fill in any holes later?
Kari: I keep a file during development in which I explore that world and the characters who live in that world, revisiting the idea often to build what is usually a rather predictable idea into something worth pursuing. Deciding how best to approach that idea takes time too. False starts are common for me, but if the story isn’t delivering what I want, yeah, I’ll scrap it and start over from another angle. That makes me a slow writer. I plod while others sprint. But that’s okay. In the end, that’s MY name on the book and if it takes me longer to get where I want to be, fine. Just a part of my process, no sense crying about it. Yes, I outline. I even outline the false starts, LOL. I revisit the outline at the halfway point to adapt it so the outline tends to be fluid, but I know where I’m going and generally how to get there.
Jodi: Do you have any future plans to write more about this world or these characters?
Kari: Not really, no.
Jodi: What prompted you to write in the fantasy and BDSM m/m genre?
Kari: I only consider one of my works, In the Red, as remotely like BDSM and that one’s even a questionable proposition to me because Brian in ITR is so emotionally damaged whether or not he is in a healthy space to give genuine consent is an issue. Consent is VITAL to BDSM. I play with consent issues so often, writing dubious consent or noncon, I honestly wouldn’t consider anything of mine as BDSM. Fantasy...I love to get lost in a world not our own, to be carried away. Exploring real-world issues in another context feels safer, I think? More freeing, definitely.
Jodi: Would you characterize your books as being “romantic”?
Kari: Yes and no. Some of my stories are wildly romantic. Others are erotica.
Jodi: What is your next project?
Kari: I’m working on a high fantasy novel plus called For Whom the Heart Stone Burns and having a lot of fun with it. Very challenging. I’m uploading chapters of the first act of Heart Stone on my website at: http://www.karigregg.com/?page_id=2102 on holidays leading up to and including Beltane on May 1st. Right now, the first two chapters are live. On Beltane, six chapters will be live, or roughly 30K words. They aren’t edited and I haven’t decided yet if I’ll continue uploading freebie chapters or if I’ll focus on editing & packaging the book then. I’m just enjoying the process for the moment.
Tame a Wild Human
Drugged, bound, and left as bait on the cusp of the lunar cycle, Wyatt Redding is faced with a terrifying set of no-win scenarios. Best case: he survives the coming days as a werewolf pack’s plaything and returns to the city as a second-class citizen with the mark—and protection—of the pack. Worst case: the wolves sate their lusts with Wyatt’s body, then send him home without their protection, condemning him to live out the rest of his short life as a slave to the worst of humanity’s scorn and abuse.
Wyatt’s only chance is to swallow every ounce of pride, bury his fear, and meekly comply with every wicked desire and carnal demand the wolf pack makes of him. He expects three days of sex and humiliation. What he doesn’t expect is to start enjoying it. Or to grow attached to his captor and pack Alpha, Cole.
As the lunar cycle ends, Wyatt begins to realize that the only thing to fear more than being sent home without the pack’s protection is being sent home at all.