Some of you will have heard that Amy Lee Burgess and I will be riding again since I've picked up her The Wolf Within series again with book #7, One Step Ahead. But she's recently celebrated the release of book #6, Across the Line, which is hitting the mark with readers all over (well, of course, they could have asked me and I'd have told the exactly how awesome Stanzie is).
I had to have Amy over, of course, since I had a couple of questions I thought I'd throw at her.
So, Amy , for the sake of readers who've never heard about you and The Wolf Within series, if you have to sum it up to this point, what do you tell them?
Stanzie Newcastle is a wolf shifter who works as an Advisor for one of the most influential men on the Pack’s Great Council, Jason Allerton. She’s bonded to an Irish shifter named Liam Murphy and it is the second bonding for them both. They lost their first bondmates – victims of the conspiracy within the Great Pack. Factions within the Council are debating (sometimes fighting by resorting to murder) whether or not to reveal the Great Pack to the Others – non-shifters. Along her journey throughout the series, Stanzie’s made friends and enemies on both sides of the conspiracy and she is confused about which side is right. All she knows is that murder is always wrong and so in her capacity as an Advisor, she fights to prevent more deaths and punish those who cross that line.
Also, the series is one long love story – Stanzie’s and Liam’s.
What's your favourite thing about Stanzie now that she's come into her own?
I love her wolf. At the beginning of the series, her wolf was like a child – different than the other shifters’ wolves. Yet, Stanzie had a connection with her that most shifters don’t with their wolves. Her wolf’s journey has been as dramatic and satisfying as Stanzie’s.
You recently visited a wolf sanctuary with some friends. Was this the first time you met real wolves? What do you love about wolves? And did anything the wolves do surprise you?
I went here...l
I was lucky enough to be able to interact with both wolves and wolf-dogs. One of things that struck me right away was their wonderful intelligence and curiosity. They are not like dogs at all – even the wolf-dogs. Yet they are so friendly and trusting. Some of them were shy, but they were one and all curious and watched everything we did intently. The first thing that happened to me when I walked into Sasha and Pax’s enclosure was that Sasha (a gorgeous wolf-dog, more wolf than dog) immediately singled me out from everyone who walked in and jumped up to put her big front paws on my shoulders and kissed me. I wasn’t expecting that. I thought she’d take time to assess me, but she seemed to know me right away. Each time I went into her enclosure that weekend, she came right up to me and kissed me.
Isabeau – a gorgeous pure wolf – represented Stanzie’s wolf to me. One of the friends I was with has known Isabeau since she was very young and is a fan of The Wolf Within series. All the ride to the sanctuary she told me how Isabeau reminded her of Stanzie’s wolf – wild, unfettered and joyful and how when I met her she would race around and half knock me over and be exuberant just as Stanzie’s wolf behaves. Inwardly I was laughing because at that point this friend had not read the latest book in the series where Stanzie’s wolf undergoes something of a shift and while still joyous and free, she is no longer quite so wild and unfettered.
So before they let Isabeau out to greet us, my two friends and I sat on a bench and braced ourselves for the rush. The gate opened and…Isabeau strolled out, alert, ears up, tail high and was a perfectly behaved, joyful young wolf. Only after she inspected her surroundings did she turn her attention to us on the bench. Then she came to me, placed her paws on my shoulders and kissed me. She moved down the bench bestowing kisses and then came back and jumped on my lap. Ever have a big wolf on your lap? Not at all like when my dachshunds do the same thing! She kissed me and then rubbed her face against mine – wolves do that to scent mark members of their pack. She moved on and did the same ritual with my two friends. It was one of the most powerful and profound moments of my life. We were a pack! And I thought, wow, Isabeau IS Stanzie’s wolf. She’s grown and changed too!
Another thing that surprised me that shouldn’t have - how deeply wolves care for each other. Siggy, a stunning wolf-collie mix, had recently lost his packmate and he was bereft without her. Always one of the friendliest, most approachable wolves in at the sanctuary, without his pack mate he was dejected and so sad. He crouched in a corner with his head down and then later, began to howl mournfully. My heart ached so much for him.
One of my friends sponsors two wolves and one of them had passed away over the winter. We held a memorial service for him on the grounds and while she was talking about this wolf and sending his spirit to roam, Siggy began to howl and then, one by one, all the other wolves joined in and I stood there crying, tears running down my cheeks. I’m choking up just writing this.
Without giving spoilers, what can readers expect from Across the Line?
An exploration of pack politics and the differences between bigger packs and small ones. The injustices each side suffers. Star-crossed lovers and how the choices they make or have made affect the rest of their lives. And Stanzie’s caught in the middle of all of it – as usual – trying to balance.
Many of the characters in this story are not what they seem and Stanzie uncovers their secrets and their true natures and many times realizes that someone she dislikes is really someone she could be friends with. Or the reverse.
And I hear you've recently made your next sale, this time with vampires. Can you tell us more about this story?
I’m so excited about my vampires!
The novel centers around Claire, a vampire who has been Turned three years. She possesses psychic talents that the other vampires in her Circle do not. She can read minds – both mortal and immortal and influence people to do things against their will. Such gifts are not given without a price and hers is that unless she bonds with one of the other vampires in the Circle who can provide her with a psychic buffer and support, she will eventually be driven mad by her own powers.
The catch is that Claire has to love this other vampire and she comes from an abusive past and consequently suffers from low self-esteem and lack of trust.
Her journey with Andre, her trigger, the man she must bond with, is difficult, joyous, terrifying and soul-shaking – not necessarily in that order.
Go check out Amy's blog or follow her on Twitter @amyleeburgess
Find her on Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, or her series at Lyrical Press
But do go check out Across the Line.