3-Minute Interview: Dorothy Hearst

The Berkeley resident's new novel is “Promise of the Wolves.” She'll read from and sign copies today at 6 p.m. at Book Passage in San Francisco’s Ferry Building and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Kepler’s in Menlo Park.

Why did you decide to have a wolf be the “first-person” narrator of your book? I didn't have much choice in the matter. The voice was just there.

How did you come up with the topic of connections between wolves and humans for your first book? It surprised me; I always thought I'd write something like Margaret Atwood. But I found I was fascinated with how people relate to dogs, and how it's reciprocated, and how that goes really, really far back in our history.

The book, which is set 14,000 years ago, touches on theories that wolves — and dogs — may have influenced how humans have evolved; who supports the theories? Much of the knowledge is speculative; information I found in my research was done in biology, population genetics and cognitive science.

How is the experience of having your first book published? It’s literally a dream come true. My agent presented it to both young adult and general publishers, and I got a three-book deal with Simon & Schuster. I had a wonderful editor to clean up the manuscript; there was a full-page ad in The New York Times.

Any idea why you've received such positive feedback, which is unusual for a writer’s first book? It's a marketable idea; everybody loves dogs.

How long did it take you to write the book? From start to finish, about six years.

Who has been coming to your readings? People who love wolves; there’s also a big wolf-dog hybrid community out there.

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