The Secret Lives of Characters:
I feel like I have to start with Kavick because he was how I created the story. I kid you not. It actually started with him, not Christine. After all, he is just as much the title’s sake as the Alaskan terrain is. Christine came after him, and it was through her the story was told, because Kavick is too secretive. It was too hard to get into his head most of the time, so I had to tell it through another person…and who better than her?
Telling how I created Kavick goes into telling how I got the idea for Ice. For those who haven’t heard it from me, you may find it surprising. I know I did at the time.
Ice was an idea that came completely out of the blue. I wrote it on a total whim, which I’ve discovered some of my favorite stories are created that way. No matter how outrageous or stupid an idea seems, WRITE IT DOWN, and never tell yourself that you are not good enough to write them. Trust me, because I almost didn’t write Ice, and I am happy I did. Most of all, don’t worry about people’s opinions when you write them.
So, as I used to often do when I was unemployed, I had trouble sleeping at night, because I would sleep in. However, this particular night I was beginning to think I would never go to asleep, so I turned on some music and started a game of Mahjong. I wanted to write, but my mind was blank. I felt like I had a permanent writer’s block on everything, and I couldn’t form any ideas. I hoped it would give my brain a work out. I love Tokio Hotel, and their Humanoid album wasn’t very old then (it was mid to late August, 2010), so I was listening to my favorite song off the album, “Dogs Unleashed”.
Are you starting to see how things came together? It had absolutely nothing to do with Twilight, despite some opinions.
After listening to it a million and one times, I browsed around YouTube for their German music and discovered someone had posted a video that played the German version in one speaker (in my case, ear bud) and English in the other. They had a picture of the lead singer in the video. I stared at the image for maybe the whole song, wondering who he reminded me of. He had long black and white dreadlocks at the time. And then finally, it hit me: he didn’t remind me of someone, he reminded me of something! A Husky!
I laughed out loud at this realization. And then I suddenly saw an image in my mind’s eye (this is how 90% of my ideas come to me), of a young man who looked similar to him. He was different. He was trapped in this large cage or something like that. There were bars. There weren’t any windows. There were security cameras watching him. He then ran out of the building; it was night and there was ankle-deep snow. There appeared to be nothing but snow for miles. This boy, man, whatever you want to call him, had black fur over his shoulders, like a cape or a wrap of some sort. And there were wolves and Huskies running with him. At some point he stopped, like a jump forward in time, and he was sitting down, petting them.
I was momentarily stunned by what I had seen. I kept playing it over in my head, thinking it was so cool and that it would make such a great story. I instantly knew that this boy could turn into a wolf, or a Husky, or a he was a hybrid of the two. I immediately told myself I was not a good enough writer to create it, though, and would just have to find a novel like that. I thought, “Surely somebody has already written something exactly like this.”
I made myself forget about it. But it kept coming back. Each day I thought about it. (This is usually when I decide to write a story.) But I didn’t believe I could write it.
A week or two later, late at night playing Mahjong and listening to that song again, I decided to entertain the idea of writing it. Instantly, I got more ideas once I allowed myself to pursue it. I thought, “What if a girl discovers his secret? And that place? And now her life is in danger and she has to keep his secret?” I was bombarded with ideas that played out in my head, and I was so excited about it. And I hadn’t been excited about anything for a while. I wasn’t in a very happy place at the time. But when I saw Christine, then a nameless girl, gasping in shock, running with him out of the building through the dim, concrete halls from the room with the cage and out into the night with the wolves and dogs, I knew I had to write it. It was too enjoyable for me to pass up. I thought, “Hmmm…that would make a good book.” And with that it was final: I was writing it.
Kavick is a misfit by nature, and somewhat in appearance. There’s his hair, of course. It’s the first indicator that he’s different. For the warmer part of the year I saw him in a white undershirt and faded blue jeans that sometimes had holes in the knees. I saw him skateboarding alone. I saw him being alone a lot, or being distant when he was with others. He has trouble opening up sometimes, depending on how deeply he is bothered by something. He doesn’t like to talk much about emotional pain or struggle, because he was originally a pretty positive person, despite a less than easy life growing up. But then, Kavick is also a very emotional person. When he is in good spirits he is very happy, smiles a lot, and talks a lot. He becomes very out-going, too. He seems almost bubbly even at times (which is my favorite characteristic about him).
Kavick was very close to his large family before many of them died. He was the fourth of 5 brothers, all the same age (I figured multiple births would be common in the Wolf-People because a part of them are wolf). They shared rooms, and were in the same grade, so they were rarely ever apart. With loving parents that valued family, it makes sense Kavick would. I didn’t think of this though until I was in the process of writing the scene where he meets Christine for the first time as a human and his explaining his situation to her.
I quickly knew I wanted the story in Alaska because there aren’t a lot of English speaking countries that have the kind of scenery I envisioned. Plus, I liked keeping it in America so I that I wouldn’t have to do as much research, lol! And that was when I got the idea he had Eskimo ancestors, but they had to be distant, because he had white skin. However, I had this idea at the same time that his skin color was really from being a Husky, not due to his white ancestors. Over time, I have decided that is the reason, especially after crafting the first Skarling’s background and how the different Eskimo tribes consider the Wolf-People so different from themselves. Although, when I wrote the first book, there never seemed to be an opportunity time to explain it, and Kavick knew so little about what he was. I wasn’t even sure if it was worth explaining in the story.
Which brings me to Eskimos, the Wolf-People lore, and how I came up with Kavick’s name.
I chose to use the term Eskimo in the book and in this post because I am solely referring to the native tribes that inhabit Alaska, since in my research I read multiple times they sometimes refer to themselves as Eskimo and are not offended by the term. If I were speaking of the native tribes that inhabit other countries, I would not be using the term since I read it offends them. So, no need to get mad at me because I mean no disrespect.
As you probably know already, the Wolf-People legend is not an actual legend. I created it. Out of curiosity, I tried to find an actual legend like it, but the closest thing I came to were stories about shamans and the “Adlet” which were still too different than what I had in mind.
Kavick’s name comes from a river and an actual place in Alaska. When I originally found the name, it was spelled like how I have spelled it here and in the book. The definition was “wolf,” but the website did not tell which tribe the word was from, or even how it was supposed to be pronounced. I later discovered the river, and the place, but it was spelled differently. And then I discovered an old movie with the same name. Having an immense attachment to the name by this point, I decided that Kavick’s parents were not fluent in any Eskimo languages, but were desperate to hold onto their heritage they cherished. So they added the “C,” because they liked it better that way, just like I do.
Phew…! I think that covers everything. If I realize I have left something out, I will edit this post and mention the change in the next addition to the Secret Lives of Characters series so you guys will know.
For those of you who might have had questions about the character, I hope this has answered some of those questions for you.
See you soon!
Don’t forget to leave a review when you’re finished reading!