Not too long ago I wrote about a different type of werewolf book, a story with not only werewolves, but vampires and angels as well. Well dear readers, I’ve got an extra treat for you – an exclusive interview with Lucien Black, author of Outcast: Where Angels Dwell.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Lucien Black, author of the Speculative Fiction Series, No Vacancies. I’ve been writing since 1989 and the lifelong dream was to be a published author with multiple properties in print. Finally, in 2008, after many re-writes, I published my first book, No Vacancies Volume 1.
The concept of No Vacancies started with a profound love for all things comic book related. My early writing aspirations including becoming a regular writer of a comic book series. I attempted to break into the industry, but always found that the doors were closed. For those of you unfamiliar with the comic space, the industry is very tough and breaking in can be an insurmountable task. Artists journey from convention to convention, hoping for two minutes in front of an editor that will catch a glimpse of their work and give them a shot. Writers have a much harder time, since an editor does not have the time to read a script or a summary, while perusing portfolio after portfolio of artists. Eventually, I continued writing, but found myself writing for my own benefit rather than to seek publication.
Eventually, my wife challenged me to adapt a different style of writing to my scripts and convert them into short stories. I argued at first, but eventually found myself slipping easily into this new routine. What I needed was an idea that would convey the type of story I wanted to write, but for a while new medium. Taking some cues from the old movie serials, comic books and the old pulp magazines, I developed the concept of No Vacancies. The book we are discussing today, Outcast: Where Angels Dwell originally appeared in the first four installments of No Vacancies. I reprinted that book on its own, as I had a lot of great feedback on the story and felt it needed to be on its own to be truly appreciated. I also just completed my first draft of follow up to Where Angels Dwell, so it was time to get this book out on its own.
Can you tell us about your book Outcast: Where Angels Dwell?
Werewolves are a guilty pleasure of mine and ever since I was a kid watching The Howling, I wanted to write a werewolf story. What I didn’t want, was to be labeled a horror writer or a get stuck rehashing previously written ideas. I wanted to create, what in my eyes, was an original story with elements of these characterizations. To have werewolves and vampires be in the story, but not have it be the same old feud. I believe I accomplish that with Outcast: Where Angels Dwell.
The main character in outcast, Nathaniel, is a werewolf but holds another secret so powerful that some will stop at nothing to obtain that power. Nathaniel is not aware he possesses this secret but he finds out that not only did the people closest to him know about it, but it was also the primary catalyst of the death of his fiancé, a pivotal moment in his life. Nathaniel’s journey takes him to Hudson, NY where he meets Detective Jackie Thompson, a HPD detective that lost her family in a similar fashion to Nathaniel’s fiancé. The two face off against a being of unspeakable power, Adrian Vandenberg, with limitless resources both financially and metaphysically at his disposal. He and his minions are hell bent on obtaining Nathaniel’s secret and using it for their own gains. The first installment of Outcast, told through No Vacancies Volumes 1-4 delivers that paranormal werewolf vs. vampire battle that everyone loves, but it comes through with a completely different twist, that I doubt anyone will see coming. I think people will really love the ending.
How does Outcast: Where Angels Dwell differ from other novels about werewolves?
I think by bringing in elements of religion and blending it into the story really sets the story apart from other werewolf stories. I am not what you would call religious in any way. I do find the stories of the Bible interesting and felt they could be incorporated into my story quite nicely. Nathaniel, the main character is a werewolf, but there’s a twist that comes at the end of Where Angels Dwell that I believe has never been done before. The character becomes much more complex and physically different from most werewolves out there. That characterization is what I think tends to make this book a little different.
Where did you get the idea for Outcast: Where Angels Dwell?
Honestly, it was through the creation of the main character’s physical look that inspired the entire story. This started as a shell of an idea “like wouldn’t it be cool to have a werewolf with…” That’s how it began. How it transformed over time is a much longer story. The final work of Outcast is far different from my first incarnation of the story. I think that the story underwent four vast changes to the plot and entire story before I felt like I nailed it with the current tale. The only thing that essentially remained the same was Nathaniel.
Ok, here’s a question I ask all folks I interview: I’ve noticed that most of the authors I follow on Twitter talk about the music they’re currently writing to. What kind of setting/atmosphere do you find most conducive to your writing?
Interesting question. I do find music to be helpful in the creative process, though I find a nice quiet setting the most conducive to actually writing. When I have music on I find it distracts me. I did on one occasion write four consecutive issues (in script form) of a story to the My Chemical Romance album (the one with Helena). I think I wrote for four solid hours to a waterfall of great ideas, fantastic dialogue and solid storytelling. Subsequently, that computer crashed and all four parts went with it. I have since used many a memory stick to back up my work.
I love the music of Nox Arcana, which is some great gothic new age music.
If werewolves were discovered to exist today, do you think our society would accept them or try to destroy them?
I think destroy. Not to get too political here, but look what we do with wolves today. I believe a certain female, republican VP candidate’s position on animal rights, particularly wolves is a travesty. To allow anyone to hunt animals from the sky is one thing, to pay a bounty on it is quite another. Disgraceful.
Who is your favorite fictitious werewolf (other than your own)?
I am quite picky when it comes to werewolves. I think the best hierarchical interpretation of werewolves has to be the Underworld series. I think the back-story was great, but I didn’t like the physical interpretation as much. I want more wolf traits and less horror elements.
What is your favorite werewolf book/movie/show?
I may get beat up for this but honestly, I enjoyed Dog Soldiers quite a bit. I love the idea of the “trapped in the house” theme and I thought the werewolves were good too. The Twilight werewolves are ok, though I prefer a humanoid form, rather than the full wolf form.
And of course, the original Howling still has the best transformation scene (sorry American WW fans).
Tell our readers why they should check out your book – in 3 words: (bwahaha)
Werewolf with wings…
And finally, what other projects are you currently working on? Any goodies we should watch out for?
The fifth installment of my adventure series, No Vacancies is due out in May. Two volumes of No Vacancies are released each year and each book contains four short stories. At times, the stories are stand alone, or appear only in the one volume of No Vacancies. These are ideas or concepts that I felt I needed to convey, but were not necessarily part of a bigger series or story. The first volume of No Vacancies contains a story called “One More Sunday”, which tells the tale of the events which led up to the death of the city’s primary superhero. In this noir thriller, Detective Sam Arkwright finds himself wrapped up in a case that is beyond his imagination and takes him to the edge and back as he uncovers not only how the Protector died, but secrets hidden away long ago but the reclusive superhero.
The other stories contained in the series are serialized or episodic tales, told over multiple volumes of the No Vacancies series. So, each volume of the series, contains a part or episode of the titled story. Outcast: Where Angels Dwell, for example, started in No Vacancies Volume 1 and ended in No Vacancies Volume 4.
I decided to release it as a standalone novel, after competing in the NaNoWriMo contest in Nov (National Novel Writing Month). I actually wrote the follow up to Where Angels Dwell during the month, which is what inspired me to reprint just this series. The follow up, Outcast: Hell on Earth will release in Jan 2012.