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Anne Rice on the Werewolves in ‘The Wolf Gift’

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?

– Moonlight

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.

 

By moonlight

One of the writers for werewolves.com, as well as vampires.com.

6 replies on “Anne Rice on the Werewolves in ‘The Wolf Gift’”

Sounds a lot like my own opinions of werewolves. Ones that can actually reason in their were forms are more interesting to me.

The rabid beast idea? It does offer some character development and good drama, if you do it right. Both seasons of Being Human showed one way.

I’m really looking forward to this one.

I respect all versions of werewolves, but I tend to like my werewolves dark and gritty, I like the moon symbolism, werewolfism as an obstacle. What huge obstacle will Reuben have? It’s hard for me to relate.

Well good idea and can’t wait for the book. But I kind of do like the old myths more because it gives the charecter more conflict and creates great drama. Either than that well this is Ann Rice and she is a pretty good writer.

I myself and building my own kind of werewolves since middle school, pulling from established folklore while adding my own variations and twists.

I’m rather interested to read this book and seeing how her werewolf stands apart from the established folklore. I never got into her Vampire Chronicles, though I’ve seen the two movies based on them (and really enjoyed them). I like the aspect of maintaining conscious awareness while in man-wolf form. My werewolves share that same kind of awareness and it makes me happy that it is in the same line of thinking as Anne Rice, who’s a great author. It gives me confidence in my creation.

I was pretty disappointed with this book so far. I have about 20 pages left but don’t think it will change my mind. I kind of liked the premise and could even get past the rather unlikely set of events that put a large old house in a rich kid’s hands. However, many characters grow ever more pretentious and while they labour over the morality of ripping bad people up they have no qualms ripping animals apart, not for food but because it felt good. Then the climax happens and the rest so far dribbles off into far fetched origins and explanations from the older pretentious werewolves. I think she is better off sticking with vampires. There was simply not enough to make up for the many short comings.

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