Listen to Erin Hunter talk about the bears, the books and the world of Seekers!
Erin Hunter is actually FOUR people! Kate Carey, Cherith Baldry, and Victoria Holmes worked together to create the bestselling Warriors series, and for Seekers they've been joined by Tui Sutherland, who also wrote Warriors Field Guide: Secrets of the Clans.
Special Note from Erin Hunter
Welcome to Seekers! Three young North American bears are about to embark on the journey of their lifetimes, and they'd appreciate your company from first pawstep to last.
A lot of people have asked, Why bears? Which is an excellent question, since I started off knowing quite a lot about cats when it came to writing Warriors, but nothing about bears except what I'd seen on Discovery Channel. Like most people, I've always been enchanted by these beautiful, rare, and frequently misunderstood creatures. But when the idea of an Erin Hunter series featuring a different animal than cats was first raised, we discussed several species first. Horses? Too quick to run away from danger, and hooves would be rather clumsy when it came to preparing herbs. Dolphins? Rather hard to tell one from the other in a crowded scene. Otters? Not a broad enough appeal.
All the time we were talking about a brand new animal, I kept thinking how interesting it would be to focus on an animal that doesn't live in a close-knit community the way that feral cats do. An animal that lives and hunts mostly on its own, fierce and strong so we could include some of our beloved battle scenes, but proud and intelligent so that it doesn't seem too unlikely that it might have some deeply rooted spiritual beliefs. Once I figured out the elements I wanted in the stories, the answer was obvious: bears. Specifically, three species of North American bear: polar bears, grizzlies (or brown bears), and black bears. Because these bears lead very separate lives in the wild, I needed to find some extraordinary circumstances to bring them together and give them a common purpose. Without giving too much away, I always knew where they'd be going, and what they'd find when they got there. I just had to work backward until I'd figured out a middle and a beginning for my story!
Coming up with a series about a different animal gave me a chance to explore some themes that don't fit so easily into Warriors. In particular, the environment. I know that governments and businesses are working hard to slow down the effects of industrialization, and we all have a role to play in taking care of our precious world, but I wanted to explore the ways in which animals might react as humans (“flatfaces” to the bears) chip away at their homes and habits. It's well known that black bears are master scavengers, able to open garbage cans and even break into houses to get at flatface tidbits. That's very clever, for sure, but hardly what you would have seen in the wild a hundred years ago. In an ideal world, bears shouldn't have to adapt to flatface invasion of their homes; they should be able to remain true to their wildness, untouched by anything flatfaces do. So the quest on which I send my four bear heroes is not just a literal journey across Canada and the Arctic, but a spiritual journey as they track down what being wild really means, and how they can preserve their way of life for generations of bears to come.
Oh, and of course there will be lots of torn loyalties, dangerous situations, and bloodthirsty battles along the way. This is Erin Hunter, after all!
Wrap up warm—our journey will take us from a balmy spring in the Rocky Mountains to the frozen wastes of the Arctic—and walk with me, my friends. The Quest Begins…