Full Moon of Werewolves: You Can’t Spell Werewolf without Wolf by Maggie Stiefvater

April 8, 2009 | Werewolves | 23 comments

Full Moon of Werewolves Schedule

About today’s guest: Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie lives an eccentric life in the middle of nowhere, Virginia, with her charmingly straight-laced husband, two small kids, two neurotic dogs, one criminally insane cat, and a 1973 Camaro named Loki.

P.S. Note from Lori: I read Maggie’s debut novel Lament and highly recommend it!

I have to admit, I don’t do werewolves.

I was never really into werewolves before I wrote SHIVER. I knew as much about them as probably the next uninformed American. That is, they busted out furdom when the full moon came out, slavered a lot, and usually involved bad make up. Just about everything I knew was informed by a teen werewolf movie I had seen when I was about nine or ten. I caught the clip of Exhibit A: Teen turning into Exhibit B: Werewolf; I think now, as an adult, that the movie wasn’t meant to be scary at all, but to me . . . well, let’s just say that I refused to go outside on nights there was a moon for a few weeks afterward.

So that was me and werewolves.

But then I was working on conceiving a bittersweet, paranormal love story, and during the course of my brainstorming, I saw a contest for lycanthropic short fiction. Though I’d never had a werewolf idea in my life, I thought it would be fun to come up with one for a couple thousand words. Well, I thought all day and came up with nothing — but that night, when I went to sleep, I dreamt about this winter wood populated by wolves, and the girl who was in love with them. Wolves who were, of course, also people.

Which was how SHIVER came to be. The thing about SHIVER that will probably annoy the heck out of many werewolf purists is that my werewolves are not very . . . were. They spend precious little time looking like both a human or a wolf. When they are a human, when it is warm, they are very, very human. And when the temperature drops and they’re forced into their wolf forms, they are very, very wolf.

The werewolves in my novel owe far less to horror and far more to the Celtic shape-shifting stories. Because I don’t do werewolves.

Wolves, on the other hand, now that’s something I can get into. And it seems to me that the legend of werewolves came about during a time when real wolves were feared. When Europe was far more sparsely populated and the beasts in the woods were a much bigger threat to livestock, children, and even lone travelers. A mythical creature that turned a human into a wolf would obviously give us something fearful and deadly.

But nowadays, when wolves are the ones hunted by us, forced into tiny corners of our map by suburbs, does a werewolf legend with a slavering wolf really speak to us? It didn’t speak to me, anyway. So my wolves are just that . . . wolves. And the threat is not that you will become a wolf and go on a killing rampage as the full moon watches up above. It’s that you will become a wolf and lose yourself; your identity, your uniqueness, all your human thoughts and accessories that make you you and form your soul. I think that’s something we can all wonder about in our homogenized culture.

It lets me explore concepts of identity and play with the idea of werewolfism as a disease and present beautifully angsty solutions that are equal parts pro and con, which, let’s face it, is what I love to do.

Plus it lets me write about wolves. Which is good. Because I don’t do werewolves.

For more on Maggie:
Novels: http://www.maggiestiefvater.com
Writing blog: http://m-stiefvater.livejournal.com
Art blog: http://greywarenart.blogspot.com

Buy Maggie’s books:


  1. Jamie

    Great post and your story sounds very good. I am going to have to go check it out.

  2. Becky Ward

    What a great post! Shiver sounds like it will be good. I will have to check out your books. When I was growing up and still now, I did a lot of research on wolves and followed when they reintroduce the wolves in yellowstone too.

  3. Jody F.

    Thanks so much for visiting the blog! Your book sounds great, will have to check it out.

  4. Roberta Harwell

    Sounds interesting. Have a great day.

  5. Jackie B

    That’s a very interesting take! The whole “cabin surrounded by wolves” idea reminds me of Ginger Snaps 3, but that’s a B-grade movie about werewolves, not wolves who happen to have a human side. : )

  6. Ashley Madden

    I like the idea of this book, it’s great!

  7. Barb P

    Maggie, your stories sound great and thank you for the great post! Have a terrific Wed.

  8. Maggie Stiefvater

    Thanks everyone for stopping by! Isn’t the reintroduction story at Yellowstone fascinating, Becky? I put my wolves in Minnesota as there is a population there as well.

    And yeah, I’m very curious to see how werewolf purists like my weather-oriented take on the lore.

  9. Colleen

    Definitely sounds like a book I want to get my hands on! Thanks for sharing with us today! :D

  10. kanarytx

    I love your take on wolves, can’t wait to read it.

  11. Estella

    Shiver sounds like a good read!

  12. Lisa W.

    Shiver sounds like a really great book. Thanks for posting today.

  13. Ley

    This book sounds really different in a very good way! I’ll definitely have to keep my eye out for Shiver.

  14. pamk

    werewolf pursit that is funny. I like where author give different takes on things. Makes things interesting.

  15. Caffey

    Hi Maggie! Nice meeting you! Well I never saw a werewolf movie! So I don’t do werewolves, but love to read those paranormal romances!! Your book sounds so unique!!

  16. Virginia Hendricks

    Sounds like a great book! And what an interesting post!

  17. Maggie Stiefvater

    Thanks everyone for stopping by and thanks to Lori for having me!

  18. Pam P

    Hi Maggie, that’s an interesting and different take you have, will have to check out your books.

  19. Lesley

    I’ve been in love with SHIVER for the longest time!!! Can’t wait to read it!


  20. Carmen R

    I’m always interested in reading a new take om shapeshifters. It keeps things interesting.

  21. blackroze37@yahoo.com

    love wolfs. i actaully have 2 rugs with wolves, one has 16 wolves, and the other is a indian woman with a wolf, VERY pretty i must say,lol

  22. Karin

    Your book sounds really interesting. Your take on the werewolf is one I hadn’t really heard before, but has definitely caught my imagination.

  23. Maggie Stiefvater

    Thanks, everyone — Karin, I was trying to think of a natural cycle other than the moon to exploit, which is how I came to the seasons.