Today I’ve got two goodies for you Dear Readers – a book giveaway AND an interview! I was lucky enough to chat with the wonderful Zoe E. Whitten about her upcoming book Peter the Wolf, a dark and thought-provoking novel on the hardships one young lycanthrope faces. The book sounds fantastic which is why I am pleased to announce that one of you will get a free copy of it! Check out the interview and the giveaway details below.
Can you tell us about your book Peter the Wolf?
Peter’s story is a dark fantasy about a foster teen who doesn’t know he’s a lycanthrope. Peter Holmes is just trying to get his life sorted out after getting away from abusive parents and serving a year in juvenile detention. In the beginning of his story, he’s a bleak guy who doesn’t see much of a future for himself despite moving in with a great foster family.
It isn’t until he meets a neighbor, Alice Culpepper, and learns about gymnastics that a new future presents itself. Peter struggles to learn this new sport and to control his inner wolf. It isn’t until he begins suffering from lunar madness and getting visits from the men in black that he begins to understand he really isn’t like other guys. Some of the students at school may be uncovering his past, and Peter’s foster parents are starting to worry about his growing relationship with Alice. But Peter’s worst problem is, his mother manages to escape from prison and track him down.
How does Peter the Wolf differ from other novels about werewolves?
The biggest difference is that my lycanthropes need a tanned animal hide to merge with their totems. Without the fur, they may enter animal rages or bloodlusts, but there’s no physical transformation. So part of Peter’s dilemma is, he has to face his mother after putting her in prison. She has her skin and can turn into a wolf, and he can’t.
The wolves in this world are very closely linked to their wolf skins, so if someone submerged the skin, the lycanthrope would drown. If they set the fur on fire, the lycanthrope would slow roast from the inside out. (Becomes relevant in book two, Dogs of War)
The wolves in Peter’s world don’t share any extra sensory connection with each other, which I’ve seen as a recurring theme in other wolf pack stories. I see no problem with it in other stories, but in this one, it would have been damned difficult for Peter’s mother to sneak around him if they could read each other’s thoughts. So I nixed pack mentality for purely selfish reasons.
Where did you get the idea for Peter the Wolf?
It was a combination of inspirations. I’ve been wanting to do a werewolf story for a long time, and I wanted to attempt a YA story. I’d finished reading Eclipse, and I decided I wanted to do a kind of werewolf that was vastly different from Jacob and his packmates, but still a YA.
However, I totally failed at making YA, and what I ended up with was an adult dark fantasy story with a teen main character. I really felt his story, though, and I was so excited by the concept of the skinwalker wolf that I wrote three books out of a planned four book series in roughly two months. In the second book, Peter meets a weredog pack and fights a golem and a harpy, and in the third book, Roll the Bones, he travels to Las Vegas to kill a vampire for a vendetta. I haven’t written the fourth volume yet, but I do know in that book, I plan to introduce Peter to his biological father, the werewolf who raped his mother and bit her. Which should be a pretty intense close to the series.
What is one thing you would like people to take away from their experience of reading Peter the Wolf?
I’d like for them to take away a sense of hope that even people burdened under real curses can recover some of their humanity. A lot of abuse survivors like Peter are depicted as evil monsters in other stories, but I think people lose sight of the fact that at some point, those monsters were also someone else’s victims. They became monsters because they slide through the cracks, and when they emerge, it’s that much harder to help them reclaim their humane sides. It’s impossible to do it if our first reaction is to panic and treat them like terrorists.
But I’d hope that people who’ve “been there” also see that there is reason to feel hope, even if sometimes the present doesn’t seem picture perfect.
Who is your favorite fictitious werewolf (other than your own)?
Gotta go with David Kessler, the American Werewolf of London. My dad showed that movie to me when I was 9, and it scared the crap out of me. But I really loved David’s struggle with his inner monster, and every few years I go back and watch that movie to remind myself why I love it so much. And, that transformation still stands the test of time even though we’ve progressed to much fancier special effects methods.
What is your favorite werewolf book, movie, and/or show?
My current favorite wolf show is Teen Wolf. I really could gush for a few hours about how much I love all the characters, even the “dumb jock” and “ditz cheerleader.” Nobody on the show is what they seem at first, and there’s no good or bad. There’s just people with vastly different world views. I love that, a show that isn’t trying to cast everything in black and white, “me good, you bad” values.
Tell our readers why they should check out your book – in 3 words: (bwahaha)
Humor, gymnastics and cheerleaders.
And finally, what other projects are you currently working on? Any goodies we should watch out for?
I’m also trying to promote a YA fantasy story I released in April, Sandy Morrison and the Pack of Pussies. That’s a slightly lighter story about a young transitioning teen, Sandy Morrison, who discovers she’s a witch after a thwarted suicide attempt. Then she learns her best friend Maggie is a werecat, and that werecats and witches have been at war for over 300 years. Sandy has to somehow get her powers under control and avoid being turned into a killer by the witch covens, or a scratching post by the werecat clans.
And my next upcoming release is my first entry in the bizarro genre with NINJAWORLD, a novella about the world’s unluckiest, who man trips through a wormhole and splashes into an ether-filled world of ninja octopodes and ant-like pirates. Should be fun.
To enter into the giveaway all you have to do is send an email titled “Peter the Wolf” to firstname.lastname@example.org telling me why you want the book. On July 30, 2011 I will pick one winner for a copy of Peter the Wolf. US residents only.
Added note: the winner has 48 hours to respond, if they don’t within that time then the book goes to someone else, so make sure to check your email on the 30th!