GUEST FEATURE: Lillah Lawson on THE WOLFDEN (Dead Rockstar, #2)
Fans of my book Dead Rockstar have often said that one of their favorite things about Stormy Spooner, the trilogy's heroine, is that she seems real. I've often been told that her relationships – not just the steamy love affair with Phillip Deville, but those with her friends and family, too – are one of the better parts of the series.
I've also been told, more than once, that Stormy isn't a likable character.
I consider both of these compliments, and I'll tell you why!
I love writing real human characters, especially women. Women who are flawed and moody and unpredictable who have job problems, money problems, love problems, and friend problems. Women who are relatable and interesting because they don't always do the right thing, or if they do, they agonize over it—second-guess themselves. Go over things in their heads and wonder, "Where did I go wrong?"
Stormy Spooner is definitely one of those women. When we first meet her in Dead Rockstar (Book #1), she's going through a bitter, painful divorce, running out of money, feeling unfulfilled by her job, and dealing with a toxic friendship she hasn't quite realized is toxic yet. She's basically one thunderstorm away from cracking like an egg. Her relationships reflect her inner turmoil. Stormy's got a manipulative power play dynamic with her ex, and her best friend is behaving shady AF. Even her relationship with Phillip Deville—who she accidentally brought back from the dead using a clunky, old spell she didn't think would actually work—is strained as she helps him try to navigate (and stay alive in) the modern world she's brought him into.
In The Wolfden, book number two in the Dead Rockstar Trilogy, Stormy's relationships have shifted. She's gotten rid of so many toxic people in her life; namely, her former best friend, Sloan, who she's discovered was no friend at all. She's made her peace with her ex-husband Tess and is forming a new, surprisingly delightful rapport with his ex-fling Roberta. Her tense relationship with Lee Courtenay, once her captor and now someone who needs saving, is shifting into something like a friendship. She's made a host of new friends, too: the gang at The Wolfden, home for drifters and wayward souls, a converted RV and trailer park. These new friends include Jamie, Nikolai, Clara, and Benny the Black Wolf—goth pro-wrestler and on-and-off-again love interest of Lee. Stormy, who spent so much time lonely in book one, has hit the friend lottery!
Of course, Stormy can't sit back and enjoy these new connections in peace. But, as always, villains loom, disasters are waiting to strike, and Stormy, true to form, finds herself smack in the middle of it all. And this time, there's no Phillip Deville to hold her hand as they walk through the fire together because (spoiler!) he's broken up with her.
Yes, you heard that right: Phillip breaks up with Stormy. And she spends the majority of The Wolfden trying to figure out how to get him back.
But she'll have to put that on the back burner for a while, though, as Stormy has more pressing matters at hand: her (sorta) friend Lee Courtenay has gone missing, along with a few other folks, all of whom know a little too much about Guthrie and his mysterious brother Elvin, two men who may hold the key to Stormy's powers, undoubtedly planning to use them for evil. Instead, it'll take Stormy teaming up with the unlikely Roberta, the two of them enlisting the help of everyone at The Wolfden to rescue Lee and face down the ultimate adversaries. As Stormy frantically searches for Lee, she's coming to grips with her painful childhood and her powers, discovering how they are connected. She is simultaneously learning more and more about the found family at The Wolfden, who are intrinsically tied to her in a way she never thought possible, each with unique powers of their own.
I loved writing The Wolfden, especially introducing so many new characters to the universe. While I loved writing Stormy and Phillip's romance in Dead Rockstar, I knew I wanted to branch out and include a whole cast of people for the rest of the series. I'm partial to Benny, as I know many of you will be (dare I say he competes with Phillip Deville in the Book Boyfriend category). Still, I also loved introducing readers to Nikolai and Jamie, roommates and the unofficial caretakers of The Wolfden. There are no spoilers here, but I will say that both men have critical roles going forward, and we'll find out fully who and what they are in Driftwood Dreary (book number three—out next year). These characters—flirtatious Jamie with his easy grin and ever-present Harley, and handsome Nikolai with his cool, pale eyes and white-blond hair—are based on two dear friends of mine, both of whom left us far too soon. The character of Jamie is loosely based on my friend Jesse Campbell, the husband of my oldest-and-dearest, to whom The Wolfden is dedicated. And Nikolai is based on a friend of mine named Nicolae, who was every bit as cool and aloof as his book counterpart. Both of my friends are gone way before their time, and I miss them every day. But I was so happy I could have them live on, in a small way, in my books.
I hope you all enjoy getting to know Jamie and Nikolai, Clara and Roberta and Benny, and Elvin, the book's villain, who makes Guthrie look like a harmless bunny rabbit. I had so much fun writing these characters and their dramatic but often realistic relationships. I've loved reading feedback from readers about how Stormy's relationships have made them laugh, cry, and shake their fists in frustration. But best of all, how relatable readers have found her.
If you loved the creepy mystery and friend drama, and most importantly, the steamy, sexy romance of Dead Rockstar, you're going to love The Wolfden because it delivers on everything twice as hard!
The Wolfden is out now everywhere books are sold!
THE WOLFDEN is out NOW and available wherever books are sold! Show Lillah Lawson your support and order your copy today!
Haven't yet taken the leap into the whirlwind world of Stormy Spooner and Philip Deville? Start with book one, DEAD ROCKSTAR, available everywhere books are sold! And for a limited time, you can get the ebook for just $1.99! Don't miss out on this special release week discount.
Want a sneak peek into Dead Rockstar? Check out this post where you can read the first two chapters!
Having written professionally for many years, Lillah Lawson doesn’t contain herself when it comes to literary genres. Having dabbled in horror, southern gothic, fantasy, thrillers and historical fiction, she loves to write outside the lines, using different genres to explore the common threads between people.
Her debut novel, Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree was published by Regal House Publishing in 2019. Her second novel, the first in a dark fantasy trilogy, Dead Rockstar, was published by Parliament House Press in 2020; the second, The Wolfden, will release in 2022, with the third and final in the trilogy, Driftwood Dreary, TBA. Her short story The Lady and the Tall Man was published in the horror anthology Shiver: A Cold Weather Anthology, edited by Nico Bell, in February 2021. Her novel So Long, Bobby will be released by Sword & Silk Publishing in February 2023.
Lillah was a nominee for the Georgia Author of the Year Awards (GAYA) in 2020 for her novel Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree and was chosen as a recipient of the University of Georgia Willson Center/Flagpole Magazine Micro-Fellowship Living in a Pandemic, in which her short story Shoofly was featured as part of the online exhibition.
In addition to writing, Lillah's passions include cycling, playing bass, baking, genealogy, and history. She is a voracious reader and music lover. Most of Lillah’s work takes place in her home state of Georgia, where she finds the culture, history and spirit to fuel her literary fire. She currently lives just outside of Athens, Georgia with her husband, son and three furry friends.