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Copyright 2005 Tara K. Harper.  All rights reserved.

Tara K. Harper:  FAQ
Books, Movies, Music, Characters...

Do local bookstores
carry your books?

15. How can I order
copies of your books?

16. How can I get
signed copies?

 -- updated!


When is the next Wolfwalker book coming out?  -- updated!


How long did it take you to write Wolfwalker?


Why is Storm Runner darker than Wolfwalker?


Why Did Aranur Have to Die?


How far in the future are the CatScratch books set?


How can you write both CatScratch and Wolfwalker books?


When will you write more books like Lightwing?


Are all your books set in the same universe?


Why does it always rain in your stories?


Why aren't there any poems in some books?


Why isn't the music for your books available online?


Do you think of yourself as Dion, the Wolfwalker?


Is Wolfwalker ever going to be a movie?

"Tara Harper's novels ... Wolfwalker, Shadow Leader, and
Storm Runner
won her critical acclaim."  

1  When Is the Next Wolfwalker Book Coming Out?

Right now!  Wolf in Night will hit bookstores around February 1, 2005.

This story is the first in a new Wolfwalker series -- The Black Wolf series, or Night Runners -- about Noriana and her partner wolf, Grey Rishte.  It also includes Nori's brother, Payne.  (Payne and Nori are the children of Dion and Aranur.)

Note that the Wolfwalker books were published out of order because I wrote them out of order (the writing order made sense to me at the time).  Most listings have the books listed in the order in which they were published.  This may be confusing to some readers.  Here is the story-chronological order of the Wolfwalker books:

The Grey Wolf series (or, Tales of the Wolves):
Wolfwalker  (Dion & Grey Hishn)
Shadow Leader
Storm Runner
Wolf's Bane
Silver Moons, Black Steel

The Black Wolf series (Night Runners):
Wolf in Night  (Nori & Grey Rishte)
[ Black Wolf #2 ]
[ Black Wolf #3 ]

Other Wolfwalker novels:
Grayheart  (Rezsia & Grey Vlen)

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2.  How Long Did it Take You to Write Wolfwalker?

I don't really know.  I had the dream from which the story came back when I was 17.  Over the next two years, I wrote it (longhand, pencil, spiral notebook) out into a semblance of a story.  (Found that notebook a few months ago; it was fascinating to see it in its original form and remember the original dream.)  Then, in college, I took a literary ax to the story and wrote up part of it as a short story.  My professor pointed out that it was really the first chapter of a novel, not a short story, and suggested that I complete it as a work of book-length fiction.  

However, at that time, the concept of writing an entire book was terrifying.  I did not know how to go about writing a book; did not have a clue how one could come up with 100,000 smooth, articulate, interesting words.  I backed off rapidly from that  project, but once the idea was in my head, I could not help but start chewing away at the question of how one wrote a book.  I continued to rewrite Wolfwalker for the next couple of years, eventually finishing it, along with several other novels (Shadow Leader, Lightwing, Cat Scratch Fever), selling it, and getting it published.

Overall, it took much longer to write Wolfwalker than any other novel.  Partly this was because it was my first novel, and I was learning how to write, learning what my style was, learning the difference between writing for my muddled/knowing self and writing for the clarity of another perspective.  But it also took longer because I had no focus when I started it, except that of writing down a dream.  There was no pressure from a deadline or from myself to complete it.  This creative-writing--that was just something I did for fun, not something that required long hours and goals.  

Now, I suppose it takes about a year to write a book, but six months of that time is taken up by research, a few months are taken up with writing on other stories, and so on.  I like the time-frame of a year because it allows me to set the book aside and consider other ideas, work on other projects, and achieve more objectivity with regards to analyzing whether or not I've been able to communicate what I'm trying to say.

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3.  Why Is Storm Runner Darker than Wolfwalker?

Because it deals with dark issues.  It's easy to find stories that trivialize suffering in an action plot; and sometimes, when all you want is superficial entertainment, that kind of story can be perfectly acceptable.  But in Storm Runner, my characters had to deal with the same issues and realities I have had to deal with.  Abuse of power, enslavement, terrorism, tyranny--those are not superficial issues, and it would have been cheating to allow my characters to live their lives without having to consider the physical and philosophical consequences of their actions.  Storm Runner requires each person to take a stand, to make the decision.  The decisions were not trivial, so the story, like Wolf's Bane, is darker than the stories told in Wolfwalker, Shadow Leader, Grayheart, and Lightwing.

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4.  Why Did Aranur Have to Die?

If you haven't read Wolf's Bane, stop here.  But, if you really insist on having the answer about Aranur's fall from the seawall, click here.

WARNING:  The file answering those questions might contain spoilers
for Wolf's Bane and subsequent novels.

Or, you can simply read Aranur's story in Silver Moons, Black Steel.

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5.  How Far in the Future are the CatScratch Books Set?

About 250 years.  I built the timeline for my universe based on historical, social, religious, and political events that I speculate will occur.  I then estimated the time it would take to achieve certain goals, get beyond certain setbacks, etc.  

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6.  How Can You Write the CatScratch Books, then Write Lighter Stories Like the Wolfwalker Novels?

The CatScratch books explore ideas of slavery:  mental, physical, emotional; slavery inflicted on oneself by oneself and slavery imposed on oneself by others.  I wrote the books because I was exploring things I needed to think about, figure out, make decisions about--things that wouldn't leave me alone even in sleep.  The dreams I had about the CatScratch books were complex, involving, and full of powerful, emotional, sometimes dark music and visions.  Compared to other books I've written, the stories that came from the CatScratch dreams are more personal, more in-depth in their analysis of issues and futures.  Also, because of the technical future the CatScratch stories portray, the books allowed me to explore the possibilities that result from some of the judicial, social, and industrial decisions made by our leaders today and which may be required of our leaders tomorrow.

With two exceptions, the Wolfwalker novels are pretty much adventure stories with light morals and ethics--how ancient decisions can influence the future, etc.  The morals in the Wolfwalker novels underlie the stories, but because the action is more obvious in those stories, the morals and ethics appear, on the surface, less important than the plot.  Wolfwalker novels are a more simplistic fun; what you do depends on who you are; major decisions are focused so that there is usually only one issue you must face at a time.  (However, both Storm Runner and Wolf's Bane are darker Wolfwalker novels:  Storm Runner deals with tyranny and Wolf's Bane with grief.)

At one level, I suppose I write the Wolfwalker novels because they're fun.  At another level, I write them because I probably wish sometimes that life would, as it does in the Wolfwalker novels, allow me to face only one major issue at a time, so that I could fully consider that issue and make the right decision about it without being distracted or compromised by other moral or ethical dilemmas.  The CatScratch books reflect the world more as I really see it, with complex issues interacting and influencing each other, each demanding resolution and decision, each compromising the other.  So in some summary sense, I suppose that I am the CatScratch books; I wish, sometimes, life's decisions were as simple as the Wolfwalker novels.

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7.  When Will You Write More Books Like Lightwing?

Soon, hopefully.  I am working on several stories that are space-SF, set in the same universe as the Lightwing universe.  Some of these are wonderful to work on because they allow me to explore alien minds and cultures as much as human traits and histories.  Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time and research to build reasonable futures and alien cultures, so I have to spread the work on those novels out quite a bit more than I do for worlds I have already designed.

As far as a sequel to Lightwing itself, I don't know.  There is actually another half to Kiondili Wae's story, I just haven't written it because I have other projects with which I am currently more involved..

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8.  Are All Your Books Set in the Same Universe?

Yes, for the most part.  The Wolfwalker novels occur about 1000 years in the future; Lightwing occurs about 200 years in the future; and the CatScratch books occur about 250 years in the future.  With very few exceptions, all the novels I have written or have started writing are science fiction, and all are set in the same universe.  

The exceptions include three fantasy novels and two mainstream novels.  One of the fantasies (a world myth) is finished; the others are long-term projects.

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9.  Why Does It always Rain in Your Stories?

Because I live in Oregon. 'Nuff said.

Okay, okay, not 'nuff said.  There is greater annual rainfall in 33 of the 50 states than there is in Oregon, but those states usually have rain, not drizzle.  Oregon is known for its drizzle.  Constant gray skies and cold, light drizzle, occasionally moving into slightly harder drizzle, and sometimes a heavy drizzle that could almost be confused with rain.  (We have rain too, but that's for the other season in the year.)  I once lived in a town where there were three weeks of completely sunny days in one year.  The rest of the year, it rained or drizzled.  After that, even I started to feel the need for some sun.  

As for me specifically, it always seems to rain wherever I am.  I go to the desert; it rains in the desert.  I go to the tropics, I get a tropical storm (I really wanted a hurricane, but I settled for the storm--it was pretty impressive, especially since I was on a sailing ship at the time).  I go the coast; I get gales and storms.  I go to the dry mountains and get lightning storms and thunderous showers.  I go to Alaska, and I sleep on a waterbed in my tent because there's so much water from the summer rains that there is standing water even on the side of the mountain.  Rain is--at least in my life--a reality.  I'm just sharing that with you.

And I'll have you know, there's a lot of sun in the CatScratch books--part of Cat Scratch Fever is set in a desert; although I'll admit that it does rain--lightly--in the end.  And Grayheart also has a lot of sun (it's spring-summer in the story).  

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10.  Why Aren't There any Poems in Grayheart and the CatScratch Books?

There are poems in the Dion stories (Wolfwalker, Shadow Leader, Storm Runner, and Wolf's Bane) because Dion has a poetic vision of the world.  She sees people, actions, and her lifestyle more in  terms of images and relationships, possibilities, and philosophical rights-and-wrongs, rather than in terms of concrete, action-reaction events, goals, and motivations.  The main character (Rezsia) in Grayheart, however, has a more concrete view of the world.  Rezsia is goal-oriented, an objective thinker, a practical person, a planner.  Where Dion reacts to the moment, dealing with what is instantly before her, Rezsia reacts by thinking ahead, seeing more than the single person or moment.  Dion makes emotional decisions; Rezsia makes rational decisions.  Rezsia appreciates poetry and music--the images of life, but Dion, like Grayheart, is that poetry.

I included no poetry in the CatScratch books, not because of the main character, but because the subject of those books (emotional, physical, mental enslavement) is too raw, painful, and ugly.  The poetry is also raw and ugly.  Bluntly speaking, I didn't want to share it.

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11.  Why Aren't the Piano and Violin Compositions for Your Books Available Online?

For two main reasons.  First, I'm rescoring everything because of file corruption problems.  Secondly, I don't have a good recording of the pieces, and synthesizers just don't cut it.  Someday, I'll pay for another recording session and get a decent recording.  Maybe then I'll burn some CDs.

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12.  Do You Think of Yourself as Dion, the Wolfwalker?

No. No. No. I am not Dion. Dion is not me.

I am everyone.  I am everything.  (Yes, I know, I'm omnipotent.)   I get my stories from my dreams.  Those dream-stories are first expressed as music, then image, then words.  In those dreams, I see the storyline from the perspective of every character.  I mean, I am all characters, all at the same time.  I might pay more attention to one particular character in one or another scene--especially if it is that character's motivation or conflict which drives the plot at that point.  However, I've never been, in a dream (or nightmare, whatever) primarily the main character about which any of my novels are written.

For example, in Wolfwalker, I was dreaming primarily from the perspective of Ainna, a minor character. Unfortunately, I died halfway through the dream.  I tell you, it gave me a bit of a jolt.  It was a spiffy nightmare though--good plot, nice action, lots of icky critters--so I jumped to a different character and went on with the story.  

But okay, if I had to choose one character on the Wolfwalker world, I'd have to say that, in Wolfwalker, I identify most with Gamon, Aranur's uncle.  In Grayheart, it is Ukiah and Welker.  In Lightwing, it would be Siln, the xenopsychologist, or Waon, the extreme human-mutant.  In Cat Scratch Fever, it is Forrest.  In Cataract, it is Doetzier.

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13.  Is Wolfwalker Ever Going to Be a Movie?

Hmm. I'd like to say, "Yes" with enthusiasm.  But I do have some reservations about it.  My agent did ask me to consider writing the screenplay, so I dutifully studied up on screenplays for a year.  When I felt I understood the medium, I began writing.

As soon as I began, I was able to see the story as a movie.  This, although exciting in its own way, struck me as odd.  Reading the scenes was like going back to the original nightmare (from which the story came) and reliving that dream.  Usually, I'm translating my nightmares into print, not the other way around.  And, boy, did it ever translate. Rock-climbing, white-water kayaking, fighting, riding...  Wolfwalker has it all.  So in those respects, yes, I think Wolfwalker could make a great action movie.

However, much as I believe I could complete a good screenplay for Wolfwalker, I have this horrible feeling that the story would end up as a trashy B movie, with lots of animal overvoicing, and some big-breasted woman bouncing around crying out, "Oh, Gray One, Help Me!", while she hacked badly at patient stuntmen who carefully placed themselves in the way of the sword which she obviously had no clue how to handle. Yuk.

If Wolfwalker is to become a movie, I'd rather set the story further back or further along the planet's history line so that it is more science-fictiony than fantasy. This would also help prevent the action and the points from being downgraded by any horrible animal-overvoicing or poorly-done medieval-type fantasy elements.  The Wolfwalker world is not a medieval spin-off, and I'd hate for it to be downgraded to that. (If it had been written as a medieval spin-off, that would be one thing, but my stories are based on completely different societal and historical premises.)

Personally, I think Cataract would make a better movie, considering the way we currently portray animal communication on-screen.  (I also think Cat Scratch Fever and Cataract would make an excellent interactive game/universe).

There is this though:  since I write the music from which I then write the books, I already have the themes for each story--not that they would survive Hollywood, of course.  Still, it would be gratifying to know that readers could hear the music from which the books were created.  To have the piano sonata from Cat Scratch Fever (the ride across the night desert) as the theme music to that movie.  Or to have the violin-piano duet from Cataract played while you follow Tsia (main character) in her search for her sister.  Or the nocturne from Wolf's Bane played while Dion struggles with herself and her future.  I wonder sometimes, if readers miss the music that I hear as the underlying story.

So, I guess the final answer is that I'm thinking about it--movies and all that.  Right now, there's not enough push for a movie for me to change my priorities and make the screenplays more important than the novels.

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14.  Do Local and Chain Bookstores Carry Your Books?

Yes.  My books are carried regularly in most local, chain, and super stores that have a science-fiction section.  If you cannot find one of my novels in the store, you can order most of them from your local bookseller.  This site's ordering information page includes a listing of my novels with ISBNs and other details.

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15.  How Can I Order Copies of Your Books?

You can order most of my novels from your local bookseller.  You can also order my books online directly from Del Rey, or from booksellers such as Powell's, Northwest books, Barnes and Noble, Borders, etc.  Online bookstores, such as also offer my novels.  Ordering information is provided in a separate file.

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16.  How Can I Get Signed Copies of Your Books?

Ioften sign books at local bookstores, so if you live in the Metro-Northwest area of Oregon, you should be able to find signed stock around the time each latest book is released.  I am often in the Sisters area near the Metolius and Mt. Jefferson, and around Bend, so you can sometimes find signed stock there (I usually check in at the local grocery at Black Butte when I'm up there every year and sign the books that are brought in).  I also often attend the Orycon science-fiction and fantasy convention in November each year, am an annual speaker at the July Science and Engineering Conference in Linfield, and sometimes schedule signings in other areas of Oregon and Washington.

This year, I will be at Rustycon 22 in Seatac, Washington (Jan 2005), Inconjunction in Indianapolis (early July 2005), and Orycon in Portland, Oregon (November 2005),

If you would like a signed bookplate, send me a self-addressed, stamped envelope and let me know how many bookplates you want.

We humans fear the beast within the wolf,
because we do not understand the beast within ourselves."

                             - Gerald Hausman, mythologist and author

Copyright 2005 Tara K. Harper

All rights reserved.  It is illegal to reproduce or transmit in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, any part of this copyrighted file without permission in writing from Tara K. Harper.  Permission to download this file for personal use only is hereby granted by Tara K. Harper.

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