Hey everyone! So as you all may or may not know…I recently held a read along for Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin and 99% of us loved the book! You can read my review of it here.
So after reading the book, I thought it’d be really cool to interview Ryan so without further ado…here are Ryan’s A’s to my Q’s!
What was the most fascinating fact you came across during research while writing Wolf by Wolf/Blood for Blood?
As I’m sure you can imagine there were many things. History is full of fascinating tidbits, and can often be stranger than fiction. Hitler actually did plan to change the name of Berlin to Germania once the war was over and he’d extended the reach of the Third Reich. Another twistedly ironic thing I discovered was that Heinrich Himmler, one of the main architects of the Holocaust, was incredibly squeamish and could not stand the sight of blood. It actually sent him into hysterics. I find it so contradictory that a man who brought death to millions couldn’t even bring himself to look at a body.
Was it harder to write a full length novel (Wolf by Wolf) or a novella (Iron to Iron)?
The novel certainly, if only for its length. There are challenges to every project. In Iron to Iron one of the biggest challenges I came across was writing character arcs out of order. I’d already finished Blood for Blood before I started writing the novella, so I was leaping all the way back to the beginning of Luka’s emotional journey.
Who was the hardest character to write in Wolf by Wolf/Blood for Blood? The easiest?
FELIX. I don’t know why, but Felix Wolfe frustrated me to tears in both books. It doesn’t quite come across on the page, but for the longest time I could not figure him out. He gave me so much writer’s block and was the main reason for several rewrites. I still get anxious thinking about it. Everything worked out in the end though! Yael was definitely the voice I fit into the most naturally, though she also had her challenges.
Is there anything you can tell us about Blood for Blood right now? Will our hearts break? (Metaphorically speaking, of course.)
Oh they will most definitely break. Mine certainly did. A lot of times when people ask what will happed in Blood for Blood I tell them this: think of World War Two. Yes, the Third Reich was defeated and the evil men within were brought to justice, but at what cost? War is an ugly, ugly thing. Blood for Blood also delves fairly deep into the lives and stories of characters that seemed very distant in Book 1.
What do you use to motivate yourself through drafting a novel and editing it?
Deadlines? I’m actually a fairly self-disciplined person when it comes to sitting down to write. I curate lots of different playlists for my books, some based on certain characters. Listening to them helps me get in the mood to dive into the novel’s world. As you can imagine, there are quite a lot of face paced songs on both Wolf by Wolf and Blood for Blood’s playlists.
I noticed that we’re both fans of Lindsey Stirling (a GREAT musician), so, if you had to choose one musician to see live, who would it be?
That’s hard! I would love to see Lindsey, because her performance is so dance and costume based! I also think she’d be an overall wonderful person to just hang out with. Imogen Heap would be a great act to go see. And, of course, Queen Bey.
Possible Spoilers! BUT, what was one thing that was hard to tie together in Wolf by Wolf, if anything? Or did you have everything planned out perfectly before writing?
Many of the major plot twists that you’re hinting at here I had in mind before I ever sat down to write. There were, of course, moments when the characters decided to go their own way with the story, but it only served to make things more interesting. The thing that was the hardest for me was the math of the race. It’s barely noticeable to the average reader, but it was SUCH a headache to figure out each racers time given the incidents they encountered on each distance and adding it up during each stop. UGH. I had the same challenge in Iron to Iron too!
Is there a reason you gravitated towards wolves for Wolf by Wolf? Do they symbolize anything to you or Yael?
I’ve always loved wolves, personally, but in the series they definitely serve a much larger/deeper purpose. Yael chooses to get wolves on her arm because to her they represent freedom and fierceness. They can survive alone, but they also have a deep standing loyalty to their pack. This isn’t mentioned in the first book, but, historically, wolves were Adolf Hitler’s favorite animal. He valued them for the predatory, ruthless cunning. The use of wolves as a symbol touches on the much larger theme of human duality. All of us are capable of good and evil… it just depends on which one you feed.
Your writing is b-e-a-utiful. Absolutely stunning. Who or what do you have to thank for that?
Why thank you! My writing is the product of years and years and years of writing and reading. Though I will say, that reading works by Maggie Stiefvater and Laini Taylor has definitely helped me hone in on my own unique style.
If you had to pick one time period to live in, what would it be?
Which ever one has time machines, because I’d love to go see all of them. I do think though, that for many of the former centuries I’d prefer just to be a visitor, because I can’t imagine the smells and facilities are that great.
Fun question! Go to food at any time of the day?
Black coffee. Is coffee a food? It should be a food.
There you have it folks! I hope you enjoyed reading Ryan’s answers as much as I did!
There would be blood.
Blood for blood.
Blood to pay.
An entire world of it.
For the resistance in 1950s Germany, the war may be over, but the fight has just begun.
Death camp survivor Yael, who has the power to skinshift, is on the run: the world has just seen her shoot and kill Hitler. But the truth of what happened is far more complicated, and its consequences are deadly. Yael and her unlikely comrades dive into enemy territory to try to turn the tide against the New Order, and there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost.
But dark secrets reveal dark truths, and one question hangs over them all: how far can you go for the ones you love?
More about Ryan Graudin:
Ryan Graudin grew up in Charleston and graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in Creative Writing in 2009. She is the author of Wolf By Wolf, The Walled City and the All That Glows series. She resides near Charleston with her husband and wolf-dog.