‘Ben made a promise to himself that he would work out where the money had come from and why they were lying to him. He was sick of being treated like a child. He was going undercover.

He would find the truth.’

- From Two Wolves

 Two Wolves is a fast-paced mystery-adventure for 10+ year-olds. It has taken me five years to write from first draft to final release and I have loved almost every minute of it (not the case on every book.)

The story is about Ben and Olive Silver, two kids who are kidnapped by their own parents. They are told that they’re going on a holiday but their parents are acting weird and pretty soon they realise that their folks have done something wrong. But what? And when they find out, what should they do? Tell someone, or live life on the run?

Two Wolves is inspired by several cases I read about kids being taken on the run by their parents. I started to wonder what that would feel like for a child. Children seem to have an innate sense of what is right, perhaps more finely attuned than an adult’s which is full of conditions and compromises.

The story feels like my own experience in some mysterious way, despite my not having been abducted by my parents. It is a tale of an ordinary kid in an extraordinary situation, forced to be brave, positive and resilient. As the story unfolded, I realised that, in a sense, all children are kidnapped by their own parents. Up to a certain age, kids have little choice but to live the life that they were born into and the life that their parents are leading them through. I hope that young readers will relate to Ben and Olive Silver and Ben’s optimistic attitude in the face of adversity.

With Two Wolves I have tried to create a story at the crossroads of genre and ideas – a story that explores the challenges of being a child, while also weaving a page-turning mystery. Touchstones for the project include Gary Paulsen's Hatchet, John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Jack London’s White Fang and Jean Craighead George's My Side of the Mountain. I love the honesty in voice, vulnerability and genuine questing for answers found in these works.

The book’s key themes include the powerlessness that children often feel at the hands of adults, the slipperiness of Truth, the redemptive and healing power of Nature, whether we as individuals can transcend or overcome the genes that we have inherited, and the ability of children to change things. I hope that teachers and students will enjoy unravelling Two Wolves and exploring their own ideas around these themes.

Two Wolves is released on 3 March. There is an extensive teaching resources kit at:

http://www.randomhouse.com.au/content/teachers/tr_twowolves.pdf

 

Tristan Bancks