Tuesday, 10 November 2015

WOLF BY WOLF: Five Minutes with Ryan Graudin

Hello readers, and happy Tuesday! As the days get shorter and mornings and evenings are darker, November is the perfect time to curl up with a hot drink and a great book. Luckily for me, so many amazing titles are coming out this winter, so I won't be stuck for choice! 

One of these incredible titles is Ryan Graudin's Wolf by Wolf, which was released on 5th November. Here's the blurb:


Code Name Verity meets Inglourious Basterds in this fast-paced novel from the author of The Walled City.


The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin's brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?


Intrigued? Want to learn more about Ryan and her inspiration for writing Wolf by Wolf? Luckily, Ryan Graudin is on Delightful Book Reviews today to talk everything Wolf by Wolf!



How were you inspired to write Wolf by Wolf? How did you come up with the idea for the novel?


As I’m sure it’s easy to tell, Wolf By Wolf is a mixture of many different inspirations. The setting—a world where the Axis Powers won World War II—was the result of many, many years of studying the era and always wondering what if? The motorcycle race came to fruition after I watched the Long Way Round, a mini series where Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman ride from London to New York on the motorcycles via the Road of Bones in Siberia. (It’s SO FASCINATING. Go watch it now!) The idea of writing a competition set around such an epic journey was instantly appealing. These two things grew and grew, blending together in ways I never could have predicted.


Did you have to do a lot of historical research to write the book?


Absolutely. Research is just as important to writing alternate history as it is to writing straight historical fiction. You have to know the history well enough to manipulate it. In the case of World War II, I had to do a lot of reading and research on Adolf Hitler’s vision for his New Order. He had great plans for Berlin: including renaming it Germania and giving the city a complete architectural re-haul. His plans for the wider world were… disturbing. To say the least. I wasn’t prepared for how emotionally straining it would be to mentally dwell in this landscape for the better part of two and a half years. Most writers of WWII fiction that I’ve talked to express a similar toll/exhaustion. It was a horrific time in our world’s past, and yet it’s so necessary to remember.


I did tons of reading. I also did some hands on research with WWII firearms. My friends are actually professionals in the field. They made sure all of my firearms terminology and technique was correct. They also gifted me a Higonokami blade, like the one my character Takeo uses during the race.



Tell us a bit more about Yael. Do you see parts of yourself in her character?

Yael is a survivor. She’s been through far more than I or most people (hopefully) ever will. When I created her, I knew I wanted a strong heroine who was also emotionally vulnerable. She’s an assassin, but she’s constantly questioning the moral implications of killing. (Is a wrong deed wrong if it’s in the name of the greater good?)


As for parts of myself I see in her. Perhaps persistence? Yael just doesn’t give up, and neither do I, if I’m truly committed to something. 


Was it hard to combine both historical and fantasy aspects into one book?


When I first became an author, I was really afraid of author “branding,” or the idea that marketing people would want me to stay within a single genre for my career. Many writers do this quite successfully, but I’ve never been a one genre sort of girl. Fortunately, my publishers recognize this, and have actively encouraged my desire to jump genres and even blend them. The combination of alt history/fantasy/action adventure that is Wolf By Wolf came quite naturally to me.


Describe Wolf by Wolf in three words.


Whirlwind. Resonant. Battlecry.


Thank you, Ryan, for appearing on my blog!


A review of Wolf by Wolf will be published on my blog soon. In the meantime, check out all my links below:


Check out the Wolf by Wolf cover reveal and blogger's tea here


Check out Ryan's last takeover of Delightful Book Reviews here


Check out my review of The Walled City here


Check out Ryan Graudin here

Buy Wolf by Wolf here