When I was nineteen, I dated a guy who was the perfect combination of charming,
funny, and swoony attractiveness. We had loads of fun together. I imagined I would
date him for years more. One day he went on a hunting trip with his family of avid
hunters and he shot and killed a deer. To display his hunting prowess, he took a picture
with the recently deceased animal.
Honestly, I was a horrified. I’m the type of person that takes in every stray cat
and dog and chicken off the road. I couldn’t fathom why someone would shoot a
deer. The aforementioned guy argued that he was going to eat the deer meat, and
therefore I should be impressed by his skill. But all I could think is why eat deer meat
when they sell perfectly good meat at the grocery store.
Our conversation seemed endless as we both argued our points. Eventually I
stopped dating the aforementioned guy.
But years later, while working alongside a good friend, she mentioned that she
and her husband were avid hunters. My jaw hit the floor. I’d known her for years
and didn’t know that she enjoyed hunting.
Having a few more years under my belt, I was able to have a long conversation
with her about hunting and the skill involved to take down a deer. We spoke about
bow hunting versus other weapons. We talked about setting traps and reading the
signs of the forest to know if an animal had passed by recently.
This conversation planted the seed of thought about writing a character with
hunting skill. I wanted to create a character that respected the animals of the forest,
accepted their role in her life, and honed the hunting skills necessary to survive. The
conversation that I had with my friend also shows up many times in the book. Much
of Britta’s understanding of the forest and the animal inhabitants came from my