The Deep-Seated Psychological Reasons I Write About Werewolves
Christmas Day, 2012 5:30 pm
I hope everyone is having a happy holiday season. Myself, I’ve been working on this little blog post off and on for the last four days. It’s been hard to find time, what with all the feasting and family, but I’ve finally got all my obligations and ‘fun’ out of the way, a fresh cup of coffee made with my new French press I got for Christmas, and I’m ready to post!
Several weeks ago I resolved to give a book away each week during the holidays to a lucky reader who left a comment on my blog. So far, I’m way behind. Only one person has left a comment out of all the folks that visit my blog each week. I can’t believe that you guys are willing to buy these things, but I can’t give ‘em away!
I’m starting to develop a complex. No, I already have one. The only thing I can figure is you’re not making it to the end of my long-winded ramblings and therefore not scrolling down far enough to read about the giveaway.
So I’m posting it at the top this time.All you have to do is leave a comment at the bottom of this post (click on Add comment and you’ll see how to do it), or email me at email@example.com. Just tell me which of my books you want and in what format and I’ll get back to you for information on how to get them to you. I really want to give away some books! It’s Christmas, y’all.
Now for my ramblings…
Okay, so people at the facility where I work have discovered I’ve written a couple of books. I’ve given away some copies, which are circulating among the paranormal fans here (we’re everywhere, you know) and some of the more open-minded readers who are just curious. At first this made me a bit nervous. To someone on the other side of the world, I am no more than a thumbnail-size photo on the back cover of a book they may or may not have cared for. But, these people are my peers. I have a vested interest in what they think of me.
I needn’t have worried. Like most who have read the books, they’ve found them entertaining. You might even say a few have become fans. They’ll stop by my desk to ask a question about a character and they are eagerly awaiting the next installment in the series. And, like most of my friends who until recently had no idea I harbored the desire to write, they applaud the sheer effort and commitment it takes to transfer a “what if” idea to the page, carry it through the writing and editing process, and eventually publish it as a book.But I work as a DWI Specialist at an addiction prevention and recovery center, where there are a lot of counselor types, people who are interested, even obsessed with, the motivations behind what people do, the psychology of it all. It may be my imagination, but sometimes I catch a curious, analytical expression on the faces of my co-workers, like they are sizing me up, trying to figure out the beat of the drum to which I march. One such is a counselor named, well… let’s call him Sigmund, since he has assured me he in no way wants his real name to appear in my blog.
I was working with Sigmund last year when I published The Draculata Nest. We had discovered some mutual interests and were beginning to become friends. I was really excited about having published my first novel and I shared that with him. What has since become a typical exchange took place.
“No.” (For some reason, many assume I’ve written my own biography.) “It’s a paranormal fantasy.”
“It is your auto-biography.”
“Ha, ha. No, it’s about a recovering addict who gets turned into a werewolf. There’s sex, violence, vampires…”
“You’re kidding. Sounds dark.”
“Not really. I think it’s fun. I’ve gotten pretty good reactions from readers so far.”
“You sure it’s not your auto-biography?”
So, Sigmund went on amazon.com and downloaded it to his kindle immediately. I couldn’t wait to ask him the next day, “Did you read any of it yet?”
“A couple of pages.”
“I thought you said there was sex.”
“I didn’t say it was on every page. Read a little further.”
“Well, I have to study for the [insert professional organization name here] exam coming up in two weeks, so I don’t have time now, but I’ll definitely read more when that’s behind me.”
Okay, so my story didn’t grab him like it does some folks. I realize paranormal fantasy isn’t for everyone. He never read it, and I let it go. Others read it, and if the subject came up I would tease him that he lost interest when there was no sex in the first two pages. Eventually I finished and published the second book in the series. Since I’d written most of it while interning there, I listed the names of the folks in my office in the dedication. I brought a copy of it to work for them to sign so I could keep it as a memento for myself. Sigmund was fascinated at this.
“I want a signed copy,” he told me.
“But you never read the first one.”
“I will. But it’s on my kindle. I want a signed copy.”
“You just want a book signed by an author so you can let it sit on your shelf.”
“I have to read the other one first.”
“No, I tell you what. I’ll give you a signed copy. Why don’t you read it without reading the first one and tell me if you think it stands on its own.”
I really wanted him to read it. I thought the above might serve as motivation for him to get past the first few pages. Several weeks went by before I asked him about it. He hadn’t read it, but he would. I told him that was okay if he didn’t want to, that it wasn’t for everyone.
The next day he poked his head into my office. “I read some of your book, and I have questions.”
That was more like it! He was interested now! “A lot of the questions get answered later in the book,” I said. “How far have you gotten? What’s happening now?”
He told me.
“But that’s only on the second page!”
“I know, but I have questions. I need answers before I can go any further.”
“Why can’t you just read the story and find out what happens?”
“It’s not about the story. I keep wondering, ‘why is he writing about werewolves’?”
“I like werewolves. I think they’re cool.”
That wasn’t deep enough for Sigmund. He gave me that look, that counselor look.
“Okay,” I sighed, “Come on in and we’ll talk.”
His eyes lit up.
“Close the door,” I added.
I swear, he began to salivate. He took a chair and leaned forward eagerly as I swiveled to face him. I furrowed my brow. “Actually, I’ve given this some thought as I’ve been writing the last two years,” I began.
Sigmund raised his eyebrows. “Go on…”
“Right. Well, uh, Clifford Crane, the protagonist, is a man who has made a huge commitment for love. He’s given up his old life irrevocably for the love of his life, and when she is ripped from him he can never go back. I believe on some level it’s narrative therapy for me, helping me resolve some of the issues from my second marriage.”
Sigmund leaned back in his chair, nodding speculatively.
“I really think it’s helped, so far. Of course, the story isn’t over yet. Hopefully…”
He bought it. Completely. “I see,” he said, rising from his chair, “Very interesting.”
“So, are you going to read it now?”
“Oh, yes, of course. Probably not right away, though. I’m really swamped with all this end-of-year stuff going on and getting ready for the new [insert other lame excuse here]. But, thanks so much for sharing that with me.”
Oh, well. It was worth a try. Some folks are just more interested in what’s behind the story or between the lines than the lines themselves. That’s okay. And there may even a small kernel of truth in what I told Sigmund.
Not much, though. Sure, there is an element of myself in most of my characters, and I certainly draw on the experiences of my own life to imbue my characters with theirs. But mainly I’m a big fan of paranormal fantasy, science fiction, and the like. And I really do think werewolves are cool. It is the most natural subject for me to write about.There is a very thin layer of topsoil over my fertile imagination. Don’t expect the roots to go too deep. Just read and enjoy.
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The Draculata Nest -----------------------------------------------------------------------
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The Dragon of Doughton Park ----------------------------------------------------------