Thursday, October 29, 2020

A Solitude of Wolverines by Alice Henderson

Jim, here. Today, we welcome a guest, Alice Henderson, author of a A SOLITUDE OF WOLVERINES. I read an advance copy of this book a couple of months ago and was transported. Simply thrilling from start to finish. You’re going to hear a lot from Alice in the years to come. She writes about fascinating creatures and places. I guarantee you’ll love A SOLITUDE OF WOLVERINES. Here’s what I wrote about this novel.

"Passionately detailed and exquisitely researched, Alice Henderson's A Solitude of Wolverines is a breathless wild ride of a thriller. Animal biologist Dr. Alex Carter is the ingenious, resourceful heroine. She could build an A-bomb out of firecrackers if you gave her half a chance. Set against the forbidding beauty of Montana's backwoods and mountains, A Solitude of Wolverines sizzles from start to finish with shady characters, dangerous wildlife, and the most enterprising heroine I've met in a long time. Superb." 

Welcome, Alice.

​Many thanks to James Ziskin for inviting me to post a guest blog today on 7 Criminal Minds!

​A Solitude of Wolverines, the first novel in my new thriller series is now out, and the virtual book launch is being held tonight at 7 p.m. Pacific Time through Copperfield's Books.

I find myself in a mixed state of exhilarated, hopeful, and a bit of dreamy disbelief. The novel is the meeting of my two passions in life -- wildlife and writing, and it's long been in the works. I've been a professional writer and a wildlife researcher for years, but it's only recently that I've brought the two worlds together.

​For as long as I can remember, I've felt passionately about helping wildlife. When I was a kid, I did chores and sold crafts to earn money to send to non-profit organizations dedicated to wildlife. I mucked out raccoon cages at the local wildlife rescue center. As I grew older, I studied zoology, biogeography, ecology, and spent more and more time in the field on research projects. Now I do a lot of work with bioacoustics -- placing recorders out in the field to record audible sounds such as wolves, birds, and amphibians, as well as species that communicate ultrasonically like bats. By examining these recordings, I can determine which species are using a piece of land.

​And all the while I've been writing.

​While out in the wilds of Montana a couple summers ago, I was setting up recording equipment in the hopes of capturing some wolf howls on a large protected parcel of land. I realized the remote, rugged landscape would make an excellent setting for a thriller. And I'd long wanted to bring my love and wonder of wildlife to my books. Suddenly the character of Alex Carter came into my mind -- a resourceful, dedicated wildlife biologist who could think and fight her way out of dangerous situations. I saw an opportunity for a series, with each book featuring a different species. Possible titles came into my mind -- titles that used the group name and the animal name. A Parliament of Owls. A Murder of Crows. A Pod of Whales. So many choices! But what species did I want to cover first? So many are in need of attention.
That afternoon in Montana, I'd also set out remote cameras in the hopes of photographing the elusive wolverine. The largest member of the weasel family, these rare creatures, though weighing an average of only 35 pounds, have been known to fight off grizzly bears from kills and take down moose. They roam tirelessly over vast territories, climbing near vertical mountains as if they are flat. But they are in trouble. Climate change, overtrapping, and government-run "predator control" programs have reduced their population to less than 300 in the contiguous U.S., and they have no federal protections at all.
I knew I had to feature wolverines in my first book, and started on it immediately. I set out to discover what their group name was for my title. But wolverines are incredibly solitary, and I soon learned that they have no group name. So I had to create one. Because of their lonesome nature, I decided upon A Solitude of Wolverines, and the book was born.

​Thrillers are my favorite thing to read, and I knew it had to be a thriller. I sought to not only entertain readers with suspenseful scenes and action, but to also inform them about the plight of wolverines. The back of the book lists actions people can take to help, and even citizen science opportunities to go out in the field and track these incredible creatures.

​My hope is that with A Solitude of Wolverines, I've created a special world where suspense and wildlife conservation meet, and where people might be inspired to help.

​Please come by the virtual launch party tonight at 7 p.m. Pacific Time! It's being held through Copperfield's Books, and I'll be in conversation with Mary Ellen Hannibal, author of Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction.


Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thanks for dropping in Alice. I like the premise of your book, and I'll try to drop in at your launch.

Brenda Chapman said...

Congratulations Alice! The premise of your thriller sounds fascinating. I wish you much success and have fun tonight at the launch - enjoy every moment.

Frank Zafiro said...

Congrats, Alice, and thanks for stopping by.

Thrillers, it is!

Jason Patnode said...

Congrats Alice. I ordered your book after seeing the premise. It sounds great. Can't wait to dive in. Good luck during the book launch.

James W. Ziskin said...

Thanks for dropping by, Alice. You know I loved this book. Can’t wait for your next one.


Susan C Shea said...

Fascinating - the animals, the research, the setting. And, Alice, if Jim raves about it, I know it will be a fgreat read! Congratulations and thanks for sharing the backstory on Minds.