I have been excited about Anne Rice’s upcoming werewolf novel, The Wolf Gift, for ages now and after reading an interview she recently did I am even more thrilled than before! As one of my all-time favorite authors, who forever changed how people viewed vampires, I can’t wait to see what she does with werewolves. In the interview Anne did with Examiner she discusses some of the details in her book, such as the type of wolf he is and why she choose to go the route she did. Check it out:
You mentioned in earlier interviews that one difference in “The Wolf Gift” from other werewolf stories will be the fact that the man-wolf, Reuben, will retain his sense of himself before, during and after the transformation. Why was it important for you to change this basic element of the werewolf story?
I simply couldn’t get interested in the werewolf of film and story who goes rabidly wild as a werewolf and remembers nothing of what he did the next day. Those old werewolf films present the transformation as a curse, and as pointless. The werewolf shreds his victims indiscriminately and doesn’t even seem to enjoy it. He certainly doesn’t feed on them. And then he’s back in the human body hearing about what he did. Where can one go with that old formula? Right to a tragic finish with a silver bullet. —– I had to explore the idea of a Man Wolf loving the transformation itself, and being entirely conscious as he experiences it, loving the feel of the wolf coat growing out of his skin, loving the newfound strength to climb walls, vault over rooftops, etc, and loving the fact that he can smell the evil of his victims. Reuben of course experiences tremendous changes as the result of the “gift” but he is still Reuben, trying to figure things out, reflecting on what he’s done and whether or not he can ever get it under control. I need a fully conscious hero. I need a hero capable of wrestling with contradictions. As I explored all this many revelations came to me — that in the wolfen state Reuben was neither animal nor human, but an enhanced combination of the two. He possesses the cunning of a human being, with the immense strength and compulsion to act of a beast. Now, that’s exciting to me. The Man Wolf has the potential to be a hero.
What other changes have you made to the original legend of the werewolf? Right off, I eliminated the idea of the full moon controlling Reuben’s transformation. That was key. I wanted a wholly new cosmology and origin story. The old werewolf material is magical, rather like the old vampire material. Vampires cannot be near garlic, cannot endure the sight of a crucifix, must be in a coffin with their native soil in it, etc. The old werewolf changes during the full moon, remembers nothing. Well, I couldn’t work with those limitations. If you introduce that kind of magic, the universe of the novel is too structured, too limited. I wanted Reuben wrestling with scientific questions about what’s happening to him, what do hormones have to do with it, can it be controlled by strong will, etc. Of course he wonders if he is part of a moral plan, and if so, what that means. He can smell evil and he asks himself why that is. Is there a simple physical explanation for picking up the scent of the malicious, or it is this a moral given, and if so who has given him the power? To me that is the kind of complexity that makes a revival of the old classic horror monsters possible. But every author of supernatural novels today works out his or her own cosmology. The biggest change I’ve made, of course, is to see the transformation as a gift. Some werewolf films do speak of the “change” as a gift, but ultimately they play it out as a curse. For Reuben it is much more a gift than a curse.
Read the full interview HERE.
After reading Anne’s answers I am so much more excited about The Wolf Gift! It sounds like she is making werewolves her own, and that like all her books, she has put a great deal of thought into her character. I can’t wait!
The Wolf Gift will be released on February 14, 2012.
What do you think of Anne’s werewolf? Do you like her ideas so far, or do you prefer the forgetful monster seen in most werewolf books?
About the Author
Moonlight loves to write about, read about and learn about everything pertaining to werewolves and other supernatural beasties. She writes for top genre sites like Vampires.com and Werewolves.com. You will most likely find her huddled over a book of folklore with coffee in hand. Touch her coffee and you may lose a limb. You can stalk her via her Twitter.