Michael Andrews is a successful author and a minor celebrity living in Manhattan. His lycanthropic affliction poses a bit of a challenge. Such as waking up from his latest night on the town, naked, with a bullet in his leg, and a sneaking suspicion he ran into another wolf the night before. It’s just another day in the life of a polite, small-town Canadian trying to stay alive in the Big Apple.
Will Michael be able to survive with his lycanthropy in the Big Apple, or will he be forced to return to Canada and a slower pace of life? Mark Leslie, the author of Michael’s challenging situation in ‘A Canadian Werewolf in New York’ has kindly set aside a few minutes to chat about books, writing and city dwelling werewolves. Mark, the day-to-day lives of werewolves isn’t something that is usually explored, what inspired you to write about this?
The book started off as a short story I wrote that was targeted for an anthology that looks at the person behind the “monster.” I wanted to outline the perspective of a man living with the side-effect of being a werewolf and focus on what it was like for the man dealing with that. The 10,000 word short story turned into a novel when a friend of mine started asking what might happen next.
When you were posed with what would happen next, where did your thoughts go? Did you take experiences from your own life to explore these next steps?
Yes. I started to write it after my very first visit to New York. I tried to imagine what it might be like for a visible celebrity in a compromising position (waking up with no clothes) trying to move, undetected, in a such a busy metropolitan area.
*Laughs* I’m very curious to find how or if you can move around undetected, but I don’t want to spoil the fun for the readers, so they’ll just have to pick up a copy of this book to find out how. When you’re placing a character in the middle of a city, there’s obviously going to be many more characters involved. How did they develop?
They just seemed to pop into my head as the story was unfolding, and slowly developed lives of their own via their own dialogue and actions.
As characters and story unfold more complexity arises. Looking through this complexity, what do you feel is the central takeaway for readers to understand?
That, regardless of supernatural abilities or superpowers, it’s really just about the humans trying to live the best they can and follow their own moral compass.
Did you find yourself learning alongside these characters as they tried following their own moral compasses? And more specifically where along the writing process did you learn the most?
When I was trying to find the right balance of humor and suspense. Layering an element of romance to keep the reader wanting to find out if Michael and Gail get back together.
Do you keep things like getting the balance between humour and suspense at the top of your mind as you write?
When I’m writing I have my preference as a reader in mind.
Has your author voice improved over time as you’ve kept writing with the reader in mind?
Yes, for sure. I find my author voice comes most naturally when I don’t think about it too much and just write.
Has your approach to an author brand for your self-publishing efforts come as naturally as writing does? And can you share a little about your branding approaches?
I am both self-published and traditionally published and have established my brand as a “horror” writer. Most notably, I’ve been taking a life-sized skeleton named Barnaby to book events for the past 10+ years.
*Laughs* Now that is a marketing trademark to remember! Only someone with a sense of humour takes their own skeleton to a book event, so let’s make that humour shine with some fun questions now. Like, what do you think would have if Batman got bitten by a vampire?
Then he might actually have superpowers
*Laughs* Poor Batman, everyone picks on him. But perhaps not for long if he gets some vampire infused powers. If space is a vacuum, who changes the bags?
The folks at Dyson
Obviously, that’s one of their less documented tasks. Are you left or right-handed?
Right for writing. Left for sports. Although I don’t sport much.
Fair enough, if you don’t sport much perhaps you have a good idea about the next question. If money doesn’t grow on trees then why do banks have branches?
To whack people over the head with when they can’t bleed their pockets dry
That actually makes a lot of sense and is probably something that some bank managers might be thinking of employing in the near future. Can you cry underwater?
With confidence like that, it’s obvious you’ll also know the answer to, why is a square meal served on round plates?
For balance, my friend, for balance
Life is all about balance, on the plates and off. In the writing world, there’s a wonderful balance of words, what’s your pick for a favourite?
Now a beer would balance quite nicely with those round plates, but would it balance with a new creation in the animal kingdom? If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?
Who hasn’t wanted to see a real jackalope?
Jackalopes are certainly on my list of animals to see one day! From chatting with you I can see a healthy mix of humour, fun and a love of words in your mind, which is a great combination to become a writer. Do you find that the process of writing is exhausting or energising to you?
Both. I wake early in the morning eager to write. But sometimes the ideas that I can never keep up with can overwhelm and exhaust me.
Have you been lucky enough to take a little time away from writing, perhaps on a literary pilgrimage, to break through the overwhelm?
Every single day for me is a literary pilgrimage, because everything I do, see, hear, feel and experience is fruit for some piece of fiction or non-fiction writing.
It must make it easy to wake up every day when you have a new literary adventure to embark on, even if you may never reach the end of them all! Which leads me to wonder a little bit about the current adventure you’re on. What can you share about your current writing project?
I’m currently working on a non-fiction book about ghosts and haunted locations. Spirits Untapped.
Non-fiction spirits weren’t my first guess for your next project, but thinking about it, I think I can see how you might have tapped in new ghostly locations. Since I don’t want to keep you from your next spiritual connection, I’d best let you return to your ghostly pilgrimage, whilst the readers and I go and pick up another copy of ‘A Canadian Werewolf in New York’. Thanks so much for sharing a little taste of lycanthropy lives in New York, and I’ll be awaiting the chance to meet Barnaby in person!
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘A Canadian Werewolf in New York ( ASIN: B01N0Q8VOU )‘.
Want to find out more about Mark Leslie? Connect here!