The inspiration behind I Am Wolf - a blog by Alastair Chisholm - Nosy Crow Skip to content
Posted on May 29, 2024

The inspiration behind I Am Wolf – a blog by Alastair Chisholm

This month we were absolutely delighted to have published I Am Wolf – a highly original and unputdownable read written by author Alastair Chisholm. Today we are very excited to be sharing a blog from Alastair, himself, about his inspiration behind Wolf, Coll and the upcoming books in the series!

Wolf. WOLF. WOOOOLFFFF!

I Am Wolf is my new book, the first of a trilogy, and it’s very exciting to see it out in the world!

It’s a sci-fi adventure in a world of huge mechanical beasts with human crews, roaming the land and fighting for territory. For young Coll, Wolf is his home and his life – but when he becomes separated, everything changes. Can Coll survive on the ground? Can he find Wolf again? And if he does … will they accept him back?

I adore these kinds of stories. Gigantic machines! Mysterious technology! Hostile territory, terrible danger, desperate courage! I loved them as a kid, in books and comics and films, and I still love them today – the action, the tech, the excitement. Above all, I love how they can tell us something about our own world.

The idea for Wolf came from the title itself, which popped into my head one day. I imagined it as a book cover: I Am Wolf, with a boy staring out at me. Who was this boy? Was Wolf his name? Was he part-wolf? No… This was a badge of honour, I realised. A claim. Wolf was his clan, his life, everything that mattered. “I Am Wolf”, he declared. That meant there were others who weren’t Wolf – and they were the enemy.

And I knew: this was a story about tribalism.

We live in an increasingly polarised society. Empathy is on the decrease, and in newspapers, television, and especially social media, issues are often portrayed as black and white, Goodies and Baddies. We follow our own ‘bubble’ of friends and dismiss – or actively hate – outsiders.

It’s understandable. When the world feels chaotic, it’s nice to be surrounded by folk who believe exactly what you believe, who will reinforce you and agree that WE are right and THEY are wrong. That certainty is comforting. Addictive, even.

Dangerous.

So in Wolf, the giant machines – Constructs – are literally powered by the collective will of their crews. Your Construct becomes strong when you believe in it. Wolf is all that matters. Wolf is right. Raven, Boar and the others are wrong. The more you believe that, the more powerful your Construct becomes.

Then I took my hero, Coll, and literally threw him out of his comfort zone. Away from Wolf, he encounters different crews. He’s wrong about pretty much everything. And his only chance to survive and save Wolf is to learn to empathise with those of other backgrounds, to understand that different isn’t always bad – and to use those differences to create something more.

Fortunately, Coll was wonderful to write. He arrived in my head fully formed, ready to go, as if I’d already met him. He’s strong, a bit short-tempered but secretly kind, not the smartest but fiercely loyal, ready to rush into the fight to help anyone, and he wears a prosthetic arm and leg.

Wolf isn’t a story about Coll’s limb difference – that’s just part of who he is – but of course it affects him. Wolf’s crew treat him differently, and Coll strives to prove himself by believing in Wolf harder than anyone. It’s only when he’s forced into the wider world that he realises he’s more than they ever saw.

(It’s important to say, I couldn’t have written Coll without support. I don’t have a limb difference, and it was critical that his story felt authentic to people who had lived his experience. Nosy Crow contacted organisations like The Limbbo Foundation (https://limbbofoundation.co.uk) and Finding Your Feet (https://findingyourfeet.net), who kindly read early drafts and helped me understand where I’d gone wrong. Representation is important, and everyone deserves to see themselves as the hero of any story – and we have to do it right. I hope I’ve managed. I’m grateful to everyone who helped.)

It’s been brilliant seeing Wolf released. Apart from anything else, it looks AMAZING. Designer Ray Tierney worked with artist Karítas Gunnarsdöttir to create the cover, and it’s just stunning!

So what comes next?

Well, in book one, Coll finds his own crew, and together they save Wolf. But we still don’t know who the enemy is. Raven’s crew have vanished, except for one girl, Brann. And there’s a mysterious signal coming from the north…

So in book two, I AM RAVEN, we’ll follow our heroes as they search for the Raven crew. We’ll hear Brann’s story, and the secrets she’s carrying. And we’ll learn how this world came to be … and the danger it now faces.

I can’t wait to share it with you!

See more: Uncategorized