Skinwalking

Thursday , February 20, 2014

With the release of her much-requested Pathfinder Tales novel Skinwalkers swiftly approaching, we thought we'd give Wendy N. Wagner a chance to talk about the book's genesis. Take it away, Wendy!

A few years ago, James Sutter asked me if I would write a short story for Pathfinder. I'd never played, but the world sounded amazing and like a good fit for me, so I dove into Golarion and tried very, very hard to come up with a character to have adventures there. I knew I'd have to create someone I could both like and really believe in, and I knew it wasn't going to be easy. But then Jendara, the hero of the short story "Mother Bears" and my upcoming novel, Skinwalkers, walked into my bathroom without even knocking.

That's exactly her style. Unlike most of the characters I've written, Jendara sprang into my mind fully formed. She just showed up with her handaxe and a belt pouch crammed full of the kinds of snacks and survival supplies that every traveling mom has to carry, and she perched on the edge of the bath tub (that's where I brainstorm, in the bath tub), and said "I can't be a pirate anymore, but being on the right side of the law ain't easy." Just like that, I knew that her family was gone and her husband had been murdered by another pirate and that this woman was going to have a hard time making a new life for herself. She was going to need me.

I feel very lucky that James believed in Jendara and gave me a chance to write her first story, but I feel even luckier that the Pathfinder community decided this tattooed, short-fused woman was somebody they liked, too. After "Mother Bears," there was a lot of positive feedback on the Paizo forum and places like Twitter. People reached out to me to let me know that they thought an ex-pirate single mother was pretty great—and that a novel about her would be just the kind of adventure they were looking for. It was a tremendous experience, and I am utterly thankful to the Pathfinder community for being so supportive and welcoming.

I loved writing Skinwalkers. There's a lot of scary and horrible stuff packed into its covers, but there's a lot of wonder and beauty, too. My fingers are crossed that when people see more of Jendara, they will continue to enjoy and believe in her.

As for me, since I wrapped up the novel, I've been enjoying a little time away from my larger-than-life creation. I've started playing Pathfinder, although I'm still a rank novice. I like it a lot—and my bumbling cleric character is a totally different kind of woman from Jendara. She at least knocks before barging into the bathroom.

Wendy N. Wagner Pathfinder Tales Author

Wendy N. Wagner's short fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, The Lovecraft eZine, and anthologies like Armored and The Way of the Wizard. Skinwalkers is her first novel. Wendy is currently the Managing/Associate Editor of Lightspeed and Nightmare magazines, which means she now spends more time reading submissions than playing Pathfinder with her amazing family. You can keep up with her exploits at her website, winniewoohoo.com.

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Neat!

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I am incredibly excited for this novel.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thank you, Wendy for your insight about how you found this character and wrote the story. It's always nice to get a peek "behind the curtain" at how things you enjoy get done. At least, it's nice when it's interesting! ;)

I am one of those who are eagerly anticipating the arrival of this novel in My Downloads page so that I can start reading it.

Is it out now?

Now?

How about now?

What? MARCH!!! oh, well. I'll consider it my birthday present to myself.

PS: I'm also looking forward to getting the rewards from the Women Destroy Science Fiction Kickstarter.


Oh man, that character sounds awesome :D Looks like I've got some weekend reading to do!

Silver Crusade

Cannot WAIT!

Thanks Sutter.

Cheers, Wendy!!!

Managing Editor

Winter_Born wrote:

Cannot WAIT!

Thanks Sutter.

Cheers, Wendy!!!

My pleasure! :D


Blood of the Moon came out just recently and there isn't that much lore about the Skinwalker player race, so it's cool to see a novel about them. Maybe someone interested in rolling up a Skinwalker can read this novel to get a sense of what they're about.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Is this novel set in Arcadia?


Shivok wrote:
Is this novel set in Arcadia?

Negative. The novel is set in Golarion in The Land of the Linnorm Kings. The main character lives in the Ironbound Archipelago, so I assume that the story will at least START there.

Where it goes from there, only James Sutter and Wendy Wagner know.

Managing Editor

Itchy wrote:
Shivok wrote:
Is this novel set in Arcadia?

Negative. The novel is set in Golarion in The Land of the Linnorm Kings. The main character lives in the Ironbound Archipelago, so I assume that the story will at least START there.

Where it goes from there, only James Sutter and Wendy Wagner know.

While there's definitely been some talk about skinwalkers being an Arcadian thing, this book is set completely in the Linnorm Kingdoms/Ironbound Archipelago. That said, it *is* interesting to note that the archipelago is about as close as you can get to Arcadia without leaving the Inner Sea region, so it's quite possible that the skinwalker superstitions and traditions of the Linnorm Kingdoms were influenced by historical contact with Arcadia!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
James Sutter wrote:
Itchy wrote:
Shivok wrote:
Is this novel set in Arcadia?

Negative. The novel is set in Golarion in The Land of the Linnorm Kings. The main character lives in the Ironbound Archipelago, so I assume that the story will at least START there.

Where it goes from there, only James Sutter and Wendy Wagner know.

While there's definitely been some talk about skinwalkers being an Arcadian thing, this book is set completely in the Linnorm Kingdoms/Ironbound Archipelago. That said, it *is* interesting to note that the archipelago is about as close as you can get to Arcadia without leaving the Inner Sea region, so it's quite possible that the skinwalker superstitions and traditions of the Linnorm Kingdoms were influenced by historical contact with Arcadia!

Now *that* is fascinating to think about!

Contributor

So cool -- and congrats! :)


Wendy Wagner 859 wrote:
James Sutter wrote:
Itchy wrote:
Shivok wrote:
Is this novel set in Arcadia?

Negative. The novel is set in Golarion in The Land of the Linnorm Kings. The main character lives in the Ironbound Archipelago, so I assume that the story will at least START there.

Where it goes from there, only James Sutter and Wendy Wagner know.

While there's definitely been some talk about skinwalkers being an Arcadian thing, this book is set completely in the Linnorm Kingdoms/Ironbound Archipelago. That said, it *is* interesting to note that the archipelago is about as close as you can get to Arcadia without leaving the Inner Sea region, so it's quite possible that the skinwalker superstitions and traditions of the Linnorm Kingdoms were influenced by historical contact with Arcadia!
Now *that* is fascinating to think about!

After reading what I could about Golarion's (which refers to the planet that includes the continents Arcadia and Avistan) skinwalkers, and what little lore is readily available (really looking forward to reading the Skinwalkers book!) it seems to me that skinwalkers are probably older than the settlements of either continent, perhaps dating back to a time when the humans of Golarion had yet to conceive the most basic ideas of agriculture. A newly growing race of hunter gatherers on the planet might have found themselves seeking boons from the gods to match the strength and cunning of the wild beasts who outclassed the fledgling race.

I'm really looking forward to reading your story Wendy! Congratulations on your success! :D

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