Beneath the Covers Past

Susan Krinard Interview
Review: Secret of the Wolf
Enchanting Words
An Interview with Susan Krinard
By Suzie Housley
October 2001

Trained as an artist with a BFA in Illustration from the California College of Arts and Crafts, Susan Krinard became a writer when a friend read a short story she'd written and suggested she try writing a romance novel. A longtime reader of science fiction and fantasy, Susan began reading romance -- and realized what she wanted to do was combine the two genres. Prince of Wolves, her first romance novel, was the result. Within a year Susan had sold the manuscript to Bantam in 1993 as part of a three book contract, and the novel went on to make several bestseller lists. Since then, she's written three other contemporary paranormal romance novels, a "futuristic" novel and novella, a fantasy-historical novella, a contemporary paranormal novella, a time-travel romance, and the historical paranormals Touch of the Wolf and Once A Wolf.  

Susan makes her home in the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico, with her husband, Serge Mailloux, her dogs Brownie, Freya and Nahla, and her cats Murphy and Jefferson. In addition to writing, Susan's interests include correspondence, music (New Age and Classical), old movies, reading, nature, animals, baking and collecting wolf-related items, vests and fanciful costume jewelry.


Suzie Housley: Quentin Forster is displayed as such a dark and tortured soul.  Was it hard to create such a thought provoking character?

Susan Krinard: Quentin was a little more difficult because he was more complex; on the surface, he's very "light" and rather irresponsible, as you see in TOUCH OF THE WOLF. But this is just a mask. The main challenge was to balance that lightness with the dark elements hidden inside him. It comes more naturally for me to write "dark" characters, so getting that balance right wasn't always easy. The intensity had to be slightly hidden except when his secondary character emerged. 

Suzie Housley: What do you think makes a hero attractive to a woman reader?

Susan Krinard: I think it varies quite a bit.  I think all women want a hero who is honorable, devoted, sexually and emotionally loyal, principled, willing to help and defend those weaker than himself, honest, loving, and with a good sense of humor.   How this is presented is what differs. Some readers really like the Alpha male, who takes charge and is a little domineering, but at the same time get things done and is strong and reliable.  Others hate the Alpha and prefer the "new" type of man-- more understanding, gentler, empathetic. 

Personally, I like to vary between the two. Quentin, though he has a dark side, is not by nature a real "Alpha."  He's much more easygoing in his "natural" form and not interested in dominating. In my last book, Tomas was sort of in between, and Braden in TOUCH OF THE WOLF was definitely Alpha.

Suzie Housley: Your descriptions of the wolves of your novels are stunning.  How did you go about researching this aspect of your work?

Susan Krinard: I've always loved wolves, belong to several wolf organizations, and have lots of wolf books. I've done quite a bit of reading, and generally only have to look up specific details now and then. One of my purposes in writing my werewolf books was to present wolves in a more positive light.

Suzie Housley: When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first manuscript?

Susan Krinard: I loved to read and read voraciously, but I never, ever considered become a writer. I had absolutely no confidence and it seemed a million miles beyond my abilities, though I did write "fanfic" based on movies and TV shows I liked.

Then, when I was in my mid-30's, I "fell" into  romance writing by accident.  I'd planned to be a science fiction cover artist and actually made up a portfolio of paintings to take to NY, but didn't get a single call. I found myself unemployed but married to a great and supportive husband when a published friend of mine read a short "fanfic" story I'd written based on the 
TV series "Beauty and the Beast."  She said, "Why don't you write a romance novel?"  Up to that point I'd read a lot of Regencies and Georgette Heyer, but not much regular romance. Most of my reading had been science fiction and fantasy, but I always look for strong relationships in those books--as in Anne McCaffrey and Marion Zimmer Bradley. 

So, I sat down and began to write PRINCE OF WOLVES.  I had no idea that such a book might be too "weird."  I found that I understood how to write a romantic relationship; it just flowed out of my fingertips!  Two years later I sold the book as part of a three-book contract to Bantam, without an agent. 

Suzie Housley: Of all of your books, were there one which was more difficult to write?  If so which one?

Susan Krinard: There were two, really: One was my first historical, TOUCH OF THE WOLF, because I had just barely worked up the confidence to attempt to write an historical after years of writing contemporaries. I was so afraid of getting things wrong!  The other difficult one was BODY AND SOUL, because that was one of the real low points for me in terms of my feelings about my writing career. I wasn't sure I'd even be able to keep writing, and I had to force myself to complete the book. In spite of this, people like the story. 

Suzie Housley: Do your fans' comments and letters influence you in any way?

Susan Krinard: I don't often get requests, and almost never criticism, in letters.  People do ask for more werewolf books, which I plan to continue into the future, and sometimes specifics such as a sequel to PRINCE OF DREAMS or TWICE A HERO. I always consider these requests, though sometimes I know it may take a while to fulfill them. I do, however, rely on fan mail to "buck me up" on those days when I feel that my writing is terrible or I'm just no good as a writer!

Suzie Housley: How has your life as a writer given you freedom?  Or has it given you less freedom?

Susan Krinard: More freedom in controlling my own destiny and setting my workday up as I like; less in terms of less free time.  Believe it or not, working at home means that you can't get away from your work. I always have something hanging over my head--promo, research, e-mail, etc.--that I COULD be doing even on evenings and weekends. Many times I give in to the guilt and don't do things just for fun. 

Suzie Housley: What do you do for fun and relaxation?

Susan Krinard: What relaxation?  Seriously--read, though I hardly get much time to do that .... hiking, gardening (I have quite a large xeriscape garden now), watching old movies, baking ... oh, and shopping!

Suzie Housley: Your paranormals seem so life like, what is involved in the research process?

Susan Krinard: In the historicals, a huge amount of historical research, including being a part of online research groups. I have a very large reference library that takes up an entire room and part of my office as well. I will do quite a bit of research even on a subject that is a fairly minor part of my story. I also do a lot of plotting in advance to try to find the holes before I actually write the story.

Suzie Housley: Was there any one influence which made you decide to be a paranormal writer?

Susan Krinard: Yes. ... my love and long-time reading of science fiction and fantasy.  It was completely natural for me to combine romance with SF/fantasy. I really couldn't do it any other way; if I had to remove the fantasy elements from my books, I don't know if I could continue to write romance.

Suzie Housley: What process do you go through in coming up with your main characters? (For example: their looks, mannerisms, backgrounds).

Susan Krinard: My characters grow and develop as I write, so I get to know them just as I would a real person. Their habits and such reveal themselves as I write.  I know their basic characteristics and what motivates and drives them, what they want, and what they fear.  The rest just seems to grow out of those elements as the story develops. 

Suzie Housley: Is paranormal something you always wanted to write?  Do you find it a difficult romance category to break into?

Susan Krinard: See my response above ... I would originally have written SF/fantasy, but it worked out that I started in romance, and that's where I am now, though eventually I hope to write SF/fantasy as well. I had very little trouble braking in with PRINCE OF WOLVES, but I was rather lucky--I hit an editor who loved my work on the second try.

Suzie Housley: What sort of a reaction have you had from readers so far in response to your werewolf characters?

Susan Krinard: Very positive. I've never had a negative reaction.  These are my most popular  books, but in order to keep from getting burned out, I have to vary with other stories. All of them, however, will be paranormal or fantasy, and most will involved animals, nature and/or shapeshifting in some way.

Suzie Housley: What are you working on at present and what can we expect to see from you in the stores over the coming months?

Susan Krinard: Well, right now (September) OUT OF THIS WORLD, the futuristic anthology from Jove, is on the shelves. My novella, "Kinsman," is a true futuristic romance, the kind I love to write. I've done one before, STAR CROSSED, which is now out of print but may be going back into print fairly soon.  I really love writing this kind of story and hope I can eventually do more.

My novel this year is SECRET OF THE WOLF, the third in my historical werewolf trilogy, out from Berkley in October. (The first two books, TOUCH OF THE WOLF and ONCE A WOLF, are Bantam books but are still in print.)  This is the story of Quentin, the twin brother of the heroine from ONCE A WOLF and part of an aristocratic English werewolf family. This book can be read separately, not just as part of the trilogy. 

I'm currently completing my first Regency-set paranormal, THE FOREST LORD, which may begin a new series that will alternate with my werewolf series. It will be out in about a year, and after that I'll be doing another werewolf novel.

Suzie Housley: Is werewolves your favorite type of characters to write about, or is there another one which holds a dear place in your heart?

Susan Krinard: I do love characters who have some sort of connection with animals or nature. Werewolves are my "first loves," but I like shapeshifters of all kinds.  I also like "outcasts," people who don't fit in, especially if they have some sort of inhuman nature or powers. 

Suzie Housley: Who has influenced you the most in terms of developing your personal writing?

Susan Krinard: The one romance writer who has always inspired me the most is Laura Kinsale.  She is my ideal. But my "voice" really developed entirely on its own and was already there when I wrote my first book.  I think it's an offshoot of my "strong" personality and the fact that I learned so much about writing just through my voracious reading.

Suzie Housley: Have you dreamed of writing a particular type of story or even a story in a different genre that you haven't done as yet?

Susan Krinard: I do want to write "straight" SF/fantasy, though it would almost certainly have a strong romantic element in it. I would like to write "true" crossover romantic fantasy, where the SF/fantasy elements are just as strong as the romance (not window-dressing) but romance is the main theme.  That's still pretty hard to write in the romance genre. I wish I could write mysteries, but I don't think my mind naturally works that way!  I'd also like to be able to write historicals in currently "uncommercial" settings such as ancient Rome, Roman Britain, etc.

Suzie Housley: How can fans get in touch with you?

Susan Krinard: I can be e-mailed at, or you can write to me at:

P.O. Box 51924
Albuquerque, NM  87181

Or visit my web site:


SECRET OF THE WOLF by Susan Krinard
Berkley - October 2001
ISBN: 0425181995  - Paperback
$6.29 US
Paranormal Romance

Reviewed by  Suzie Housley,
Buy a Copy

Step into the dark mystical world created in Susan Krinard's SECRET OF THE WOLF. Be carried away by the rich, colorful descriptive language, which transports you far into California's picturesque Napa Valley.

Johanna Schell is an 'Angel of Mercy' whose main purpose is to help those in need. With the assistance of her father they founded Def Hafen, a haven where the mentally challenged could seek shelter from the cruel prying eyes of the world. Upon discovering a mysterious man unconscious, she quickly takes him back to Def Hafen with the intent to heal what plagues him. Little does she know what evil consumes the inner soul of Quentin Forster. Nor does she realize the chilling tortures life has inflicted on him. Will she have the power to save him - accept him - love him?

Quentin Forster suffers from terrifying spells of amnesia. Seeking out hypnotist Johanna Schell he hopes to discover if these frightening mental lapses are associated with his legendary werewolf blood heritage. Will he have the courage to face and conquer what ails him? Or will he destroy Johanna and everything else he loves in the process?

SECRET OF THE WOLF is an exceptional human drama of the highest magnitude. Readers will find themselves lured into this mesmerizing tale of dark obsessions as Johanna and Quentin fight the dark forces for the chance to live in peace and harmony. Richly detailed and carefully plotted, Krinard's gift of storytelling creates a magical spell which haunts the imagination.

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