Book Talk: Picoult's latest explores wolves,

Thu Mar 1, 2012 11:16am EST
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By Bernard Vaughan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bestselling author Jodi Picoult has written a novel almost every year since her 1992 debut, "Songs of the Humpback Whale," which was done while she was pregnant with her first child.

Her latest book, "Lone Wolf," concerns the difficult choices a family faces when father Luke Warren, a respected wolf researcher, is severely injured in a car accident.

Picoult spoke to Reuters about the book, which went on sale on Tuesday, and her research which included learning how to howl like an "alpha" wolf.

Q: How did this story come about?

A: "It actually started a decade ago on a plane. I was flying home to New Hampshire, sitting next to a neurologist, and we were talking about his work with patients who were basically in vegetative states. I said, 'I am not going to be writing this book anytime soon, but one day I'm going to, and I'm going to get in touch with you so please remember my name.'

"So 10 years later, I emailed him and he said, 'I'd be delighted to talk to you.' The story began for me with somebody who is a young, active man who winds up in a horrific accident that leaves him with a severe brain injury and with his relatives having to make a decision about end-of-life care."

Q: How much research did you do on wolves?

A: "I truly believed that this time I had created a truly unique character, someone who had gone out and lived in the wild with wolves. Then I found out that someone had actually done that. He lives England, his name is Shaun Ellis, and he has about six captive packs at a wildlife reserve that he works with.   Continued...