Sometimes things happen to a writer which allows him or her to write a tale using the incident as the basis for a story. The origin of Wolf Rider was just such a true incident, and it was quite horrific.
I had just moved into a new apartment. I had just installed a new phone (this was before cell phones.) I am not even sure I had received a phone call as yet. Nonetheless the phone rang.
I picked it up and a man’s voice informed me he had just killed his girlfriend. He said, “Do you mind if I talk about it?”
If you read the opening pages of Wolf Rider, I closely replicate that call, what happened during that call, and what happened right after it.
The man had named and described his “girlfriend.” I immediately called the police. “Don’t worry,” I was told. “It’s a full moon, Friday night and welfare checks are just out. Forget it.”
Those lines are in the book. I didn’t make them up.
I checked in the phone book, and there was the name of the person who had been—so I was told—murdered. I called. She answered. She was a probation officer, and the description the “voice” had given me was accurate.
She was quite concerned. I gave her my name, phone, etc.
It was all deeply troubling. Who was the caller? Why had he called me? Was it a coincidence? What happened after I gave the police such information as I learned?
A couple of weeks went by. The police never called me back.
I spoke to a reporter friend of mine, a guy who specialized in crime reporting. “I’m going to call that woman again, and get some answers,” I told him.
“Don’t,” he advised. “The police will think you made up the whole thing as a way to meet the woman.”
I took his advice. I left it all alone. I learned nothing more.
Still, it troubled me greatly.
That’s exactly what I did. It’s called Wolf Rider. After the first few pages it’s all my invention, which I wrote to give myself some closure.
I used to have a standing bet. It went like this: “Pick up that book and read the first few pages. I bet you can’t stop reading.”
I’ve never lost that bet.