Guest Post:- Karenna Colcroft

I’ve been asked how and why I came up with the character of a gay vegan werewolf. It’s a bit of a long story…

Back in 2010, I belonged to a Yahoo group with several authors and editors, some of whom were involved with writing and publishing male/male fiction. At the time, other than one short story that I wrote for an anthology honoring another author I knew, I had only written heterosexual romance. I’d considered trying male/male, but I didn’t want to write something I wouldn’t be able to depict authentically.

One day in the group, one of the other authors was talking about a book she’d recently heard about that was about a reformed vegan werewolf. (Or a vegan reformed werewolf. It’s been twelve years; my memory’s a bit shaky.) My author friend asked how a werewolf could possibly be vegan.

At the time, I greatly enjoyed writing challenges. My friend’s question wasn’t posed as a challenge, but I challenged myself to write something that would answer the question nonetheless. Within less than half an hour, I typed up a 1000-word scene depicting someone awakening from their first shift as a werewolf and refusing to eat the meat his new pack members brought to help him recover, even when his love interest—who turned out to be the pack Alpha—tried to convince him to eat it.

I wasn’t necessarily planning to do anything with that scene. It was just a fun thing to write and, to be honest, a way to procrastinate from a couple of things I was supposed to be doing. But not long after I wrote that scene, an editor in the group issued a challenge to write a scene with “hot men and whipped cream.”

Again, I liked writing challenges. And it occurred to me that my vegan werewolf and his love interest might be just the right “hot men” for this particular challenge. So I wrote the scene and posted it in the group—and was asked when the book would be written.

I wrote it. Those two scenes were the genesis of Salad on the Side, which was originally published in 2011, and both scenes appear, slightly revised from their original forms, in the novel.

After Salad on the Side was published, feedback led to me creating a series about Kyle Slidell, the gay vegan werewolf, and his mate Tobias Rogan, the sexually submissive Alpha. Two character types that at the time, at least, were pretty much nonexistent in romances. The series, Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat, ended up being five novels long, counting Salad on the Side, which were published between 2011 and 2014.

In 2016, because of things going on in my personal life, I chose to stop being Karenna Colcroft. I requested my rights back from my publisher, including the rights to the Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat novels. And I believed that was the end of the story. (No pun intended. Well…okay, maybe a little bit intended.)

In 2021, I started rereading my previously-published books, all of which I’d pulled from their respective publishers over the past several years. And I fell in author-love with Kyle and Tobias all over again, and realized it was time to get them back out into the world.

The 2022 version of Salad on the Side has been moderately revised and re-edited to correct some plot holes that arose due to events in the subsequent novels as well as to update technological references and a few other things that have evolved over the past decade-plus. Over the next year and a half or so, I will be rereleasing the rest of the series, along with a series of heterosexual romance novels that parallel Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat. And then there might be a continuation of Kyle and Tobias’s story…even though I thought it had ended with the last book of the series. (Kyle clearly has other ideas; he’s oppositional like that.)

All of this because of a simple question in a Yahoo group…