Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Interview - David Wellington, author of Cursed

Today I am pleased to welcome to Floor to Ceiling Books David Wellington, the author of Cursed!

AMANDA: Welcome to Floor to Ceiling Books. How are you today?

DAVID: Very well, thank you, and quite grateful to have this opportunity to talk to you and my readers.

AMANDA: Can you start by describing Cursed for the readers of FtCB? What makes it different? Why should they be rushing out to buy a copy?

DAVID: Cursed is a story about werewolves, but not simply the ravening beasts of traditional werewolf fiction. It is based on an intense research effort into the behavior and lifestyles of real wolves. It’s also a gripping story of betrayal, loss, and the desperate love that is born from utter loneliness. Hmm, that actually sounds pretty good. Maybe I’ll go back and read it myself again.

AMANDA: Cursed saw an unusual route into finished book form – it started as a serial on your website, correct?

DAVID: Yes—it was actually the fifth book I released in this way, serializing it online first. I published it one chapter at a time, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for five months. Readers were able to comment on the story as it was posted—which led to one problem, when a reader guessed the big twist shortly after I’d begun publishing the story. Which of course required me to edit major portions of the book while it was still in progress. This took a lot of work but made the book better in the long run.

AMANDA: What prompted you to produce a book in this way? Had the finished article been rejected by publishers? Or had you always intended to release it via your website?

DAVID: By the time I wrote Cursed I’d been doing serials for a couple years. My first paperback was due to come out, but there’s such a long lead time for a book to go from manuscript to finished copies that I was losing my mind. I had no idea if Monster Island, my first serial, would even work as a paperback—it had been written specifically for the serial form. That turned out to be an unwarranted fear, but the way I deal with stress (especially about my books) is to write another book. So 13 Bullets and Cursed both came out of the anticipation and anxiety I was feeling.

AMANDA: Let’s deal some more with Cursed: the wolf element is one of the most realistic I’ve encountered in a werewolf book to date. Is this intentional? Did it require a great deal of research?

DAVID: I spent far longer researching the book than I did actually writing it. That research took a number of forms. I had to do extensive research into the setting for the book—the Canadian wilderness—because I knew it would be one of the major characters. I had to learn everything I could about wolves, which meant a lot of reading, visiting zoos, and—no, really—playing with my dog. It was really the dog which influenced the book the most. In the process of training her I kept treating her like a human being, but she clearly didn’t want that, nor did she respond to it. She expected me to be an alpha male wolf and treat her accordingly. The ironclad status hierarchy that wolves—and dogs—live by was fascinating to me, and I knew it had to go into the book.

AMANDA: In future books, will you consider working other animals into the shapeshifting world? Bears? Big cats?

DAVID: The sequel to Cursed, which will be called Ravaged in the UK, goes somewhere similar to that. But I refuse to give any details about that book. There are just too many spoilers involved.

AMANDA: What draws you into writing about the traditional “monsters” of literature?

DAVID: Monsters are fascinating because they live outside of human society. They can never just do what they want—either they have to worry about being hunted down, or they have needs they must fulfil (like the vampire’s need for blood, or the werewolf’s need to stay away from other humans). But that just means they have their own agendas. Their lives can never be like ours, and to me that makes them fascinating.

AMANDA: Which authors have most influenced your work?

DAVID: I like to think every book I read influences me, even the bad ones. Especially the bad ones, because they teach me what not to do. I think of myself as coming out of a long tradition of writers, starting with H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, through the pulps of the 20s and 30s and the paperback revolution of the 50s. It was the truly bizarre (and yet effective) genre writing of the 80s that probably influenced me the most however—especially the science fiction writers, like Larry Niven and David Brin.

AMANDA: I can see that Ravaged is also going to be released by Piatkus (the follow-up to Cursed). Can you give us any hints about what will happen? And when will we see it in bookstores?

DAVID: There will be no spoilers! I say this all the time with my tongue firmly in my cheek. But seriously, I don’t want to give anything away. All I can say is that the story picks up exactly where it left off at the end of Cursed. It was one of those stories where I had to know what happened next. The characters were just that real to me. Readers won’t have long to wait. Cursed will come out at the beginning of September, while Ravaged will be out the very next month, on 7th October.

AMANDA: Thank you for your time! Any last words? (and that is in terms of the interview! It wasn’t meant to be as sinister as it sounded!)

DAVID: Thank you so much for having me! Er, virtually, that is. I’ll just finish by saying I hope that fans of my previous books will give Cursed and Ravaged a look. I think they’ll find quite a bit to their liking, here!

It just remains to be said that Cursed is being published by Piatkus on 2nd September and I would urge you all to go out and pick up a copy - this is a damn good werewolf book!

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