I first read about the Beast of Gévaudan when I was a teenager, paranormal geek that I was, and read The Werewolf Encyclopedia. Out of all the crazy, cool creatures in that book, I can’t actually say why I found this particular beast as fascinating as I did, but I did.
The entry told of a creature that terrorized the province of Gévaudan, France, from 1764 to 1767. It didn’t act like a “normal” wild animal and was a nasty piece of work, and in the encyclopedia, there were accounts of it sometimes walking on two feet and sometimes on four. (Later research didn’t pan this out, but it was perhaps what caught my attention at first.)
First, I wrote it as The Villain in my first Preternatural, Unlimited novel, from the now defunct series that ultimately gave birth to the world of Adelheid. What’s funny is that while writing that early book, I rented a French movie called Les Pacte des Loups because I read a good review of it. I discovered that, low and behold, it was about the Beast of Gévaudan!
It was fate! It was kismet!
It wasn’t really meant to be. That book went the way of the Dodo, but the movie (in English known as The Brotherhood of the Wolf) became a favorite of mine and still is.
Years later, I decided to write this romance about a pair of wounded souls, a monster, and a forest. Later, I decided to revisit my old flame of the Beast. I will admit that the movie inspired me as well and I used it for further inspiration in terms of ambiance and fashion, but I did my research outside of that.
Researching was ‘fun,’ however, because as you would imagine, information about a beast that terrorized a French province is in French. I don’t happen to actually speak French, so this led to an on-again-off-again romance with BabelFish and some incredibly entertaining translations. as well as pestering a multi-lingual European friend. Fortunately, the feature on the movie with a man known for his research on the Beast had English subtitles!
In the end, I persevered. I picked and chose my historical tidbits, mixed in with my dashes of inspiration, and wove it all together with my own creative ideas to bring about a romance in the time of the Beast.
Fortunately for my readers, it’s not a romance actually with the Beast. ‘Cause that would just be gross.