In this guest post, best-selling author Sapir Englard discusses writing The Millennium Wolves from Aiden’s POV
Many writers and authors battle many questions while working on a book. For me, the most crucial question is, what is the book’s purpose? Is it about sending a message, or is it meant for escapism only? Sometimes, I manage to answer these questions before I even start writing the book, but other times—or rather, most of the time—I figure it out as I go. The latter approach applies to when I wrote the first book of The Millennium Wolves.
Eight years ago, I sat down and wrote about a woman drawing on a riverbank. I didn’t think much about her character while writing the first chapter, and simply let the words flow and unravel her mystery. It didn’t take long, however; by the third chapter, I knew exactly who she was, and what had led her to be that way.
I knew that her name, Sienna, which is the Latin word for an orange-red color, would be a key element of her character, be it her hair color, or her fiery temperament. I also knew she would be the stubborn type, to the point where she infuriated the readers—and me—with her hardheaded behavior. But I also knew that underneath her prickly, feisty exterior hid a passionate, kind, and loyal woman, who was just a little too young, and a little too lost, to be in the position she would eventually be in: that of an alpha’s lover.
This deep understanding of my main character did not apply to the male protagonist of the story, Aiden.
Fixing a flat character
Part of the reason I never gave Aiden too much thought when I initially wrote the book was my own inexperience as a writer. The Millennium Wolves might not have been the first book I had ever written, but I was still finding my feet. Being nineteen when I wrote it—the same age as Sienna, my protagonist—I found it easier to simply write the book as Sienna saw and experienced the events.
After the book was finished, and even after it was picked up by the Inkitt team and put on Galatea, I still found Aiden to be one of the flattest characters I had ever written, at least from my perspective. One of my regrets, when it came to this book, was that I had never given him the depth he deserved, instead showcasing him the way Sienna saw him. I always believed he had so much more to offer as a character, especially in the first book, where he meets Sienna and his entire world is turned upside down.
The opportunity to flesh out Aiden’s character, to show his own side of things, came last year, when, in one of my discussions with the Inkitt team, the idea of writing The Millennium Wolves from Aiden’s point of view was put on the table.
This was what I’d been waiting for in all the years since the book first gained success through the Galatea app. This was my chance to redeem some of the qualities I had come to hate about Aiden in hindsight. Now I could give him the story he deserved, especially since I am now far closer to his age in the book than to Sienna’s.
Revisiting without rewriting
But when I started writing the book from Aiden’s point of view, I suddenly lost confidence in the project. How could I rewrite the entire story without it feeling like a poor attempt at repeating the original? How could I make it sound just as interesting and authentic as the original book, even though I had to repeat scenes, simply from Aiden’s perspective?
These questions followed me the more I wrote the book, and were answered on their own; the storyline might be the same, for obvious reasons, but it didn’t mean I couldn’t play with it, tweak it to fit the version of Aiden I was beginning to flesh out in my head, and add scenes to help the story make even more sense than before.
See, the secret behind writing a werewolf romance book from the male protagonist’s point of view is that there are large spaces between the times the two protagonists meet, and even when they do meet, there might be some hints about what the man was doing before he met up with his lover.
I know it sounds complicated, so let me explain.
Finding the spaces in between
In the book, there is a scene where Sienna comes home to find Aiden sitting with her mother, looking through a photo album. To give the scene more interest in the point-of-view retelling, I wrote what came before Sienna arrived home, where it was just Aiden knocking on the door and being invited in by Sienna’s mother. Another time, Aiden comes to visit when Sienna isn’t home but this time it’s only her father who’s there. This makes for an interesting interaction the readers couldn’t possibly have gotten to read in the original book.
That’s not all, however; simply being in the male protagonist’s head, viewing everything from his eyes, gives a whole new depth to certain situations that might’ve seemed casual while reading the original book. In the new book’s case, the question of what Aiden feels when he first sees Sienna at the river is answered in full, rather than leaving the reader guessing. What does a werewolf alpha actually do as part of his job? That, too, will be answered.
This is the beauty of writing the same book from a different perspective. It gave me some sort of freedom, in many ways, because the book is already written, the storyline absolute, and the resolution set in stone. All I had to think about was filling in the blanks, which gave me free rein to get as deep into Aiden’s head as I wanted.
It was an extremely fun process—I had all sorts of revelations about Aiden’s character, and the story as a whole. Years have passed since the last time I thought about Aiden and Sienna’s story, so it was a whole new experience revisiting it, and diving back into it as if no time had passed.