We’re coming to an end of all things Magiford–at least until Cat Girl’s trilogy launches later this year! I decided to close the party out with the two characters I imagine you most wanted to learn about, Pip and Greyson!
Pip strode onto the scene confident in her hunter skills and fragile in her relationships–which was pretty much the exact opposite from Hazel and Leila.
Hurt by a lifetime of being left behind by those she loved–at least from her perspective–Pip was very reluctant to form deep attachments. This is a trait that’s typically assigned to male characters, but I decided to use it in Pip since it was the perfect foil to Greyson. (Greyson–with the matebond at his back–was sure to be overwhelming in the romance area. If I gave him an inch, he was going to have Pip married to him the second he figured out she was his mate.)
This also made for an interesting character arc, though, because unlike Leila and Hazel–who were typically most anxious in their books during the big fights–Pip is relatively chill about the battles in her books, but instead has meltdowns when it comes to her friends and her possible romance with Greyson. (There’s a reason why she’s hanging out of a tree at the start of Fated. She might not be in physical stress, but she’s got a whole-lot of emotional stress!)
To add to her emotional load, Pip has a loyalty streak that’s so wide, the whole Pack could drive golf carts across it, even though she tries to hold back. You can see it in the stubborn way she cares for Princess and Princess for the sake of her adoptive werewolf parents, even though they’ve been gone for a while. You can see it in her determination to help the newly minted werewolves in United, even though she doesn’t understand her own magic and her whole world has turned upside down. A hallmark of Pip’s personality is that she’s willing to sacrifice to help others all while fearing that they will eventually hurt and leave her.
Like I said, she’s got a slew of emotional stress.
Thankfully, by the end of the series she fixes her thinking, and you can see that as she’s more powerful at the end of the book than she was before. (Cedar is a perfect example of this.) And that’s what makes Pip a particularly powerful Wolf’s Kiss. Not only is she willing to use her powers for the Pack that she loves, but she wants to help others, even if it means risking herself. Thankfully, for the sake of her wellbeing, she’s got a mate who is going to keep her safe. No matter what!
This isn’t a character note, but I wanted to share that Pip’s fighting style was particularly fun for me to develop because of the flavors her magic comes in. First, her hunter magic is mostly physical based. She’s not blasting lightning bolts or forging magic shields, she’s tracking and hunting with her regular hunter magic. But her second fighting style involves her magic as a Wolf’s Kiss, which–as you see in the last battle–is best used as a sort of “home base” or “central control spot” for a fight. Pip wasn’t in the thick of things, she had to step back and depend on her Pack to protect her while she wielded her magic. Her Wolf’s Kiss magic is especially different because it strengthens her Pack, it doesn’t actively do anything to harm the enemy, so playing around with her actions and the Pack dynamics was so fun!
Greyson…where to begin with him? He was SUCH a hard character for me to nail down because I didn’t want him to be so…borderline abusive, which is something an alpha-type character can easily turn into.
I found the best way for me to make him have that hardened edge/strong vibe was to make him so ridiculously strong that he couldn’t ever relax around anyone–except Pip, due to her powers. Since Greyson is an excellent Alpha, he’d never want to make his packmates uncomfortable, which means he’d always hold himself back and give him a bit of a distant edge. He hides that distance with a healthy dose of charisma and cunning in his personality.
I decided to make him smart because while in modern literature the werewolf character type usually focuses on the sheer strength aspect of being a werewolf, in old fairy tales and fables the wolf is typically said to be dangerous because he’s crafty. Now that sounds like my kind of hero, right? But cunning is seen as a dubious trait, so I decided I needed him to show his intelligence in ways that were cunning, but only because he’s using it for good.
Greyson calculates everything out. He is always measuring out his alpha power and is constantly reviewing what he’s saying and doing because he has to act 1) for the safety and good of his pack 2) for the safety and expansion of Timber Ridge 3) frequently has to fight off challengers, intruders, etc.
The only time Greyson isn’t plotting is when he’s with Pip. Pip is able to give him relaxation and peace, but it’s a double edged sword. She means so much to him that he’s willing to make idiot-level bargains just to keep her safe. (Hello, the last 40% of Fated…)
Now…regarding Greyson’s wolf form! I designed Greyson to resemble the largest subspecies of gray wolf in the world: a Makenzie Valley wolf/Northwestern Wolf. These wolves live in western North America–in Canada and the US. The males of this species range from 105 lbs to a whopping 159 lbs. (That’s 47.6 – 72 kg.) The bigger ones tend to live in the US. For reference, the average Euroasian male wolf clocks in around 88 lbs. These guys are built. They also have thicker fur, shorter ears, and–hilariously–a rounder head.
And that’s it for Pack of Dawn and Destiny. Thank you so much for your support of this series, Champions! You blew off my socks with the rush of ratings/reviews and your general love for Pip, Greyson, and the rest of the Timber Ridge crew. Magiford has been such a fun world to write in, and it lets me put everything I’ve learned about writing and crossovers from my previous series (I’m looking at you, Timeless Fairy Tales) into practice.
However! But just because the Magiford fun is over, doesn’t mean the party is ending! I still have my (VERY LATE) 2021 year-in-review post to unveil, and some general community news about things like Sheacon 2022 and new covers coming your way. So stay tuned, Champions, and until next time, thank you for all of your love and support.