Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
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Inspiration for The She-Wolf of Kanta
By Marlena Frank
It’s no secret that slaves have always been treated terribly. They had their freedom and autonomy stripped away from them, they had no power or rights, and they certainly had no one to protect them. If you were considered a disruptive or unruly slave, then the consequences were far worse.
When I was younger, I found a book describing how terribly slaves were treated in the Caribbean islands. It had a graphic illustration of what was done to slaves who had attempted to revolt but failed. Now I know the term of that punishment was punitive limb amputation, but at the time I was simply horrified by it. I didn’t keep track of where the image came from, the location of the drawing, or even what book it showed up in, but it stuck with me for years.
Occasionally I would search for more information on that illustration, wondering if maybe I dreamed it up. All I could find was information on the fact that punitive limb amputation existed during that time, but no more than that. I could find nothing about how it was used as a punishment for disruptive slaves or how they were then forced into physical labor groups, probably until death.
When I started writing The She-Wolf of Kanta, the illustration once again was clear in my mind, and I knew I wanted to integrate it somehow within the story. If werewolves were used as this slave labor instead of people; on the surface it may seem more acceptable, but werewolves were also once humans, right? Isn’t it easier to persecute people who we claim are animals, monsters, or somehow beneath us?
Punitive limb amputation is no longer happening in the Caribbean, but it is happening in the world today. Considering that human trafficking is still a major concern in the United States (and especially in my home city of Atlanta, GA), it’s important to bring this dangerous kind of thinking to light.
A writer of both fantasy and horror, Marlena’s work is in a smattering of anthologies. Her stories lean toward weird horror, creature horror, and YA fantasy. She typically thinks up strange tales while sipping sweet tea at her Georgia home, listening to podcasts on her hour-long commute, or while reading a good book with her three cats.
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