Here’s the skinny, my “next big thing,” as prompted by author John Copenhaver last week:
What is the title of the book?
Werecat: The Rearing
Where did the idea come from for the book?
It started as an experimental piece. I got turned on to shapeshifter and vampire stories only recently, and, as with most everything I read, those stories made me think: how could I write a great story in that vein from a totally queer point-of-view? Not just with gay or lesbian sidekick characters – I wanted to create a gritty, sexy love story between two men that was central to the plot, and really central to a fantasy world. I’m also fascinated by cats, so writing the fantasy aspect came pretty naturally to me.
What genre does your book fall under?
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I actually blogged about that subject before my book got picked up by a publisher. What writer doesn’t daydream about casting her/his work? For Werecat, it’s extra fun because I think feline shapeshifters would have to be sexy and dark. I imagine an underground world populated by hot, scruffy men, high-shouldered and lean, sort of a throw-back to the grunge or heroin-chic model trend of the 90’s. They would have to have great eyes too.
My main character Jacks is a lost, rebellious college drop-out, and I’d be delighted to cast François Arnaud from the Showtime series The Borgias in that role. Jacks’ love interest Benoit would have to be smoking hot with a dangerous vibe. My first pick is Michael Fassbender. Then there’s a supporting character Farzan who may or may not get in between Jacks and Benoit. Farzan is tightly-wound and kind of goofy. He makes me think of Kal Penn from Howard and Kumar.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Werecat: The Rearing is about a young man who goes to Montréal for Spring Break, gets picked up by a handsome drifter, and ends up on a terrifying and erotic journey into the world of feline shapeshifters.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Werecat: The Rearing is the first book in a series of novellas, which are 20-40K words apiece. I wrote the first draft in about three weeks.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Allison Moon’s lesbian werewolf novel Lunatic Fringe was a major departure point. Beyond her excellent re-imagining of werewolf mythology, her book made me think about the similarities between the shapeshifter trope and the experience of being queer, both in obvious ways like having to hide and being misunderstood, and in ways that are important to me politically and spiritually.
I think there’s something liberating about being able to inhabit two worlds. Queer people learn how to fit in, and sometimes pass within a heterosexual world, and we also cross “genders” at least in our private lives if not publicly. The Native American idea of two-spirit intrigues me – possessing both a female and a male aspect – and I could go on about that subject extensively. Suffice it to say, when I started writing about gay, feline shapeshifters, I found opportunities to explore the different facets of having a dual nature — socially, sexually, and politically.
I also worked a good bit of cat mythology – ancient world and native – into the story. Retold myth and legend is a fairly steady thread in everything I write.
Is your book out in print, upcoming from a publisher and/or represented by an agency?
Werecat: The Rearing will be published by Vagabondage Press and is upcoming in May.
Authors I am tagging next for The Next Big Thing Project:
Lydia Sharp – YA contemporary, fantasy, and romance author and blogger extraordinaire
Charlie Vazquez – Avant-garde author, poet, and master-of-ceremonies for New York City’s underground literati
Christopher Keelty – Fantasy/sci-fi author and civil rights activist
C.A. Clemmings – Author of literary novels and short fiction