Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Exclusive interview with Slade Grayson!

Hey folks,

    It's interview time again and we've got a special guest, today, from the new master of werewolves. As depicted here, I found Autumn Moon to be one of the freshest werewolf novels I've read in years. The only thing I've found like it is Autobiography of a Werewolf Hunter and those two are like night versus day in their depiction of our furry friends.

    Autumn Moon is the story of the isolated town of Tanneheuk, Montana, which holds a dark secret: it is secretly run by werewolves that hold a yearly hunt of the local humans. This is all revealed in the first chapter so don't think I'm spoiling anything. A Reverend caught in a sex scandal is "exiled" to the town by his church and left to slowly unravel the mystery of what's really going on. Add in a unique cast of misfits, grifters, potheads, and overachievers--and you have quite a group for the inevitable conflict between the hunters and their prey.

    But which is which?

    Let's begin our interview and find out what he has to say about his book!

1. So Slade, what is it that makes Autumn Moon unique amongst horror novels?

I don't think of Autumn Moon as a horror novel. To me, it's more of a suspense thriller. But the fact that the central plot revolves around werewolves... I guess that automatically pushes it into the horror category. To answer your question: I think the violence and horror aspect is done very tastefully. There's no gore, and some of the more violent scenes take place “off camera.”

2. The werewolf, despite being one of the most famous monsters of all time, has been losing ground to the vampire and zombie lately. What made you choose them as your book's monster?

The werewolf has always been my favorite, but as you said, it's not as popular as vampires or zombies. It grew out of my frustration as a reader, as I'd constantly search for a good werewolf novel, and instead find shelves of vampire or zombie novels. Plus, although I think there's been some great werewolf movies, there really hasn't been that many great werewolf novels. I wanted to rectify that (which probably sounds incredibly pompous and arrogant).

3. Could you tell us a little about your protagonist, Reverend Drake? What makes him an interesting lead?

He's interesting because readers find him so damn unlikeable. I don't dislike him because I know why he makes the bad choices he does. He represses a side of himself that he's afraid to let loose. He makes mistakes, but hell, he's only human. By the end of the book, I think he changes into who he should have been all along, but by then, I think readers have made up their mind about him and it's too late to change anyone's opinion. I don't know... Maybe he makes poor choices, but I think he pays for every mistake he makes.

4. What about your supporting protagonists, what will fans like about them?

Hopefully, readers get a well-rounded look at everyone. Sometimes you root for someone, and sometimes you don't. Sometimes the heroes let you down, and sometimes the villains do something heroic. I try to show different sides of all the characters, and even the despicable ones have a moment to shine.

5. How did you come up with the town of Tanneheuk, Montana? Does the town have any fictional or non-fictional inspirations?

It's just one of those perfect little towns on the surface, like Mayberry, but deep down you know there's something wrong going on. Andy's taking bribes, Floyd the barber is watching child porn, and you know Barney is really into some sick shit with Thelma Lou.

My inspiration for the town was borne out of some of Shirley Jackson's stories. Not just “The Lottery,” but some of her other work, as well. The whole “What's beneath the seemingly calm surface” theme of many of her stories.

6. What makes your particular werewolves terrifying?

The werewolves aren't in touch with their humanity. They're not humans who are cursed and become monsters. They're something different, and see themselves as a step up from human. Which means they really don't have empathy for the humans in the town. The humans are more like their pets than anything else.

7. How would you describe your book's theme?

To me, it's more about what damage can be caused by an outsider entering a closed community than it is a werewolf story. The underlying theme is, What price are we willing to pay for peace or freedom? And ultimately, does a person's conviction make them right, or just dangerous?

8. Who would you say is your favorite character?

I never have a favorite character because I generally love all of them...even the really bad ones. But... David was probably my favorite to write in Autumn Moon because of some of the snarky things he said. I laughed when I wrote some of his dialogue, and laughed again during a recent re-read of the book. He was definitely fun to write for.

9. What's been your favorite fan response so far?

Someone wrote a review on Amazon and described the book as “like Stephen King at his best, but without all the weird stylistic tics.” That description made me laugh out loud, but also gave me that glowing feeling in my chest (which may have been heartburn, but I like to think it was pride).

10. What can we expect from you in the future, writing wise?

The sequel, I am the Night, is due out next September from Permuted Press. I have some ideas on carrying the story further, but I want to wait and see how the reaction is to Autumn Moon its sequel. And I suppose it depends if Permuted wants me to write more in the series.

Besides that, I have a crime novel that's in need of a rewrite, and a superhero novel that's half finished, so I intend to get back to those soon. Once they're completed, I'll begin the slow, tortuous process of submitting them and waiting, waiting, waiting...

Thank you for your time, Slade! It's been a blast.

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