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Story Behind the Story #18:
Wolf Rider

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.

Telephone Vintage

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.

Wolf RiderSix months later, one of my sons said to me, “Dad, I’m sick of you talking about that phone call. Go write a book about it.”

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.

3 thoughts on “Story Behind the Story #18:<br/><em>Wolf Rider</em>”

  1. Yup, I’ve lost that bet as well, Avi. That book’s a fast ride from start to finish. It’s also one I have a hard time keeping on the shelves in my classroom.

  2. ah nuts! I have a shelf of books to read and now I’m going to HAVE to go get that book… thanks a lot, Avi! Seriously though… thanks! love your books…

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