Monday, March 2, 2009
With The King’s Daughters coming out shortly, I’ve decided to write a short series of posts about some of the themes explored in the book. I’ve chosen the bear as my first subject because, well, there’s one on the cover. So I thought it was as good a place as any to start.
I’m not surprised that bears found their way into one of my stories. I started writing when I lived in the city of Kitimat, B.C., and anyone who spends a bit of time there always ends up meeting a bear at some point. I had my first meeting with one those mighty creatures only eight days after I had moved to that town. A black bear popped up out of the ditch beside me while I was taking a walk. We looked at each other for a few seconds, and then we both went our separate ways—thank goodness. During the four years I lived in Kitimat, I saw dozens of bears, grizzlies and blacks alike. We even had a black bear sleeping under our deck for a little while.
In any case, the animal in my story belongs to the brown bear species (ursus arctos), a well know Russian symbol. And as the story has a Russian-inspired backdrop, it’s only fitting that bears play a role in it—after all the Nordic folklore is filled with tales involving bears.
There is the Russian fairy tale "Morozko", “The Old Man and the Bear” and the "The Brown Bear of Norway" to name a few. Alright that last one is Scottish, but you get the idea. I won’t tell you what role the bear on the cover plays in my story, though, because that would spoil the surprise. ;)