Edward Warren, twenty-four, has been living in Thailand for five years, a prodigal son who left his family after an irreparable fight with his father, Luke. But he gets a frantic phone call: His dad lies comatose, gravely injured in the same accident that has also injured his younger sister Cara.
With her father's chances for recovery dwindling, Cara wants to wait for a miracle. But Edward wants to terminate life support and donate his father's organs. Is he motivated by altruism, or revenge? And to what lengths will his sister go to stop him from making an irrevocable decision?
Lone Wolf explores the notion of family, and the love, protection and strength it's meant to offer. But what if the hope that should sustain it, is the very thing that pulls it apart? Another tour de force from Jodi Picoult, Lone Wolf examines the wild and lonely terrain upon which love battles reason.
Jodi Picoult is the author of 18 bestselling and widely acclaimed novels. She lives in New Hamshire with her husband and three children. Read more about Jodi on her website www.JodiPicoult.com.au
Allen and Unwin Australia
Author: Jodi Picoult
Question: Where do the ideas for your books normally come from?
Jodi Picoult: They come from "what if" questions I cannot answer.
Question: Your books are so well written and extensively researched. How did you go about researching for Lone Wolf?
Jodi Picoult: I really thought I was pretty brilliant, creating a character like Luke Warren, who studies wolves by living with them. Then I found out a real guy was actually DOING that. At that point, it became my mission to meet him. Thankfully Shaun Ellis was more than happy to meet me, to introduce me to the multitude of captive packs he now works with in Devon, England, and to share his expertise. Everything Luke says - and everything I learned - comes directly from Shaun's life, and a good number of Luke's tight scrapes are borrowed from Shaun's actual experiences in the Rockies living with a wild pack.
The ones that really stay with me are the time he went hunting with the pack in winter, and the alpha directed the wolves to suck on icicles. He had thought maybe the other wolves were becoming dehydrated sitting in the snow waiting to make the kill but it didn't seem right to him. Then he realised that the alpha had planned for wind direction so that the prey couldn't smell them lying in wait; that the alpha had set up the ambush perfectly, but that due to the cold weather, the prey would be able to see the breath of the wolves in the hollow where they were hiding. By getting the pack to suck on the icicles like lollipops, she prevented that.
The second story Shaun told me that affected me deeply was a time that his wolf brother suddenly went ballistic, snapping at him and backing him into a hollowed out tree. Shaun was terrified and sure the wolf was going to kill him, although up till this point the wolf had been very accepting of his presence - and that he had assured his own death by forgetting he was still with wild animals. After about three hours of snapping and snarling, the wolf suddenly went placid again and let Shaun out from the tree. That was when Shaun noticed the scat and the claw marks of a grizzly. The wolf hadn't been trying to kill him -- it had been saving his life.
When I went to Devon, Shaun had just had surgery and couldn't enter the pens because the wolves would have ripped off his bandage and licked the wound clean -- so instead, I had to meet his wolves with a fence between us. Unlike normal visitors, though, I was brought through the first fence (there are two) and got close enough for the wolves to get used to my scent and to rub up against my hands. They can sense your heart rate going up and a tester wolf will turn around and nip through a fence, so you still have to be pretty careful and calm! I also got to feed the wolves by lobbing rabbits to them; and yes, Shaun taught me how to howl. It was pretty remarkable to learn the song - and it really IS that, a song. I played the alpha, my son was the beta, and my publicist the numbers wolf. We each had a particular "part" in the harmony, and when we all began to howl our individual parts together, all of a sudden a plaintive howl rose from the six individual packs a short distance away -- each of them giving their location in response to the one we had offered them. It felt like we were having a conversation.
Question: One of my favourite books is Plain Truth; can you talk about the research involved in this title, in regards to the Amish way of living and the legal aspect?
Jodi Picoult: After posting a query on a Lancaster County message board, I got a response from a lovely Mennonite woman, with whom I struck up a research relationship. After many email queries, she suggested I come visit the area and volunteered to find me some Amish friends to stay with. I was there for a week, milking at 4:30 AM and participating in the morning Bible study, as well as helping out with the cooking of meals. I quickly learned that the Amish aren't the one-dimensional characters they're made out to be - like us, there are good people and bad people, tolerant people and intolerant people, lenient people and more exacting people. Just because we grow up taught to live our lives differently doesn't necessarily mean our way is better. It's the fact that to them, confessing is more important than punishment that leads to the central legal difference between their world and ours.
Question: Which of your books has had the biggest affect on you?
Jodi Picoult: Probably Sing You Home, since my son came out to me in the middle of my writing - and since then I have become a very vocal advocate for gay rights in the US.
Question: Can you talk about your writing schedule?
Jodi Picoult: I get to my desk at 7:30 AM and write until about 4 PM - coincidentally, the same hours my kids are in school. When school's out, I turn magically into a mom again.
Question: Can you share with us anything about the book you are currently working on?
Jodi Picoult: Well, there are two! Between the Lines - the tween/YA novel I wrote with my daughter Samantha van Leer, will be published in Australia/New Zealand in July 2012. It was her idea, and frankly, she's got a better imagination than I ever did at her age. It's about what happens when happily ever after isn't. Delilah, a loner hates school as much as she loves books-one book in particular. In fact if anyone knew how many times she has read and reread the sweet little fairy tale she found in the library, especially her cooler than cool classmates, she'd be sent to social Siberia . . . forever.
To Delilah, though, this fairy tale is more than just words on the page. Sure, there's a handsome (well, okay, incredibly handsome) prince, and a castle, and an evil villain, but it feels as if there's something deeper going on. And one day, Delilah finds out there is. Turns out, this Prince Charming is not just a one-dimensional character in a book. He's real, and a certain fifteen-year-old loner has caught his eye. But they're from two different worlds, and how can it ever possibly work? It's an absolutely stunning book - with the coolest illustrations that remind of Arthur Rackham's work from the turn of the century and silhouettes that take my breath away -- in other words, it's a book you want to keep on your shelves and just look at because it's so pretty. But it's also sweet, and funny, and charming, and it was a delight to have the experience of writing it with my own daughter! I'm incredibly excited for its publication and we'll be on tour together in July to promote it!
Then in 2013, I'll return with a new adult novel: The Storyteller. Sage Singer, a young woman who works in a bakery, befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses and then he confesses his darkest secret - he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor. What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who's committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren't the party who was wronged? And most of all - if Sage even considers his request - is it murder, or justice?
Interview by Brooke Hunter