Thanks for the questions Alex!
1: Aside from a lifelong love of archeology and paleontology, two things really pushed me towards making this story. The first was “Mind in the Cave” (a gift from my ex), a really amazing book that connects modern-ish knowledge about the shamanic rock art of the San bushmen of South Africa with the paleolithic cave art of western Europe, and makes some more general conclusions about humanity, religion and art, etc, from there. The second was the “Flashman” series, some awesome historical fiction where a cowardly british cavalry officer fucks and finagles his way across the late 1800s - like a greasy old-timey forrest gump. The idea of a flawed protagonist stumbling through all the paleolithic stuff i wanted to talk about was the catalyst that helped pull it together, into Tiger Lung.
2: The stories in the Tiger Lung book take place at different times across his life, but the last story (where TL is a bit more scarred up, and missing an eye) TL is probably in his early thirties.
3: Part of the fun for this character is building him up story by story. I know Tiger Lung’s general temperament, and how it would generally change with age, but I’ve got a lot more to learn about him yet.
4: I don’t have a grand overarching plotline for Tiger Lung - for the moment, it’s going to be a space to work on ideas about ancient societies, the supernatural, and man’s place in paleolithic ecology. It might turn into something more singularly focused eventually, but who knows.
5: Well, in my mind, Tiger Lung is set before the domestication of the wolf, which kind of cuts him out of any animal companion adventure stuff… but i agree that it’s a fascinating idea that doesn’t get explored in fiction too often. The times I’ve seen it explored usually err on the side of the exceptional (ie, the character is the first person to ever think of helping a wounded animal, raising a wolf pup etc), but i imagine the process of domestication was something a more multi-pronged and banal (people raising captured or found wolf pups occasionally, over generations of improving relations between humans and specific groups of increasingly parasitic wolves). Maybe a tiger-lung story set among a people with neighbourly relations with their local scavenger wolf pals would be a place to start… Casual human-wolf hangouts?