I’ve mentioned Zoe a lot on this blog, but it’s not my fault she’s so prolific! She joins us today to give us insight into one of her more recent releases, Peter the Wolf.
Zoe E. Whitten writes in a variety of genres and publishes her work through Smashwords (ebook) and Lulu (print). Her blog contains her rants and rambles, rare review for music, books, and other stuff, and links to her latest releases.
If you had to choose one negative word to describe you best, what would it be?
Your fiction is often dark with a playful over-tone. Why do you think humour has its place in horror?
ZEW: I think humor plays an invaluable part of our coping mechanism in real life, or it always has been for me. So when things get really dark in the story, I often feel I need to shake up the situation with some humor. This is what often happens to me in real life, and I like to add a little extra touches of awkward realism to my fictional worlds. It’s what helps make some of my more monstrous characters into flawed and believable people. So when the going gets tough, my characters turn into part-time stand-up comedians.
ZEW: I was thinking for a long time about doing a werewolf story, but I wanted to avoid falling in with the rest of the pack, pun intended. So I started first with the desire to showcase a single male wolf, a skinwalker who needs a tanned hide to transform. I also wanted to avoid pack telepathy, at least for the breed of wolf that I was depicting. This is an aesthetic choice to separate myself from other writers doing wolves lately, (Though there’s nothing wrong with the trope, and I enjoy it when those writers use it.) but I’ve also done a lot of telepathic characters, and I wanted to avoid that trope this time around.
When I started trying to draw on the personality traits for the character, I was thinking of a friend of mine who had suffered sexual abuse at a very, very young age. She was also physically abused and emotionally tortured, and because of this, as an adult she could drop into flashbacks which are as terrifying to outside observers as they were to her for reliving lucid memories.
When I convinced my friend to seek help, the medical “professionals” called her a threat and drugged her. It didn’t fix her. They misdiagnosed her, prescribed the wrong pills, and broke her mind for good. Then they gave her some more pills, just to see if they could do worse. They could, actually. And that’s the wounded animal I lived with, watching her suffer and knowing that she really couldn’t get help from the normal people. They could only make her worse.
So I thought, what if I made the character a victim like Cherry, but they were also a wolf and didn’t know it? What if, during all the abuse, this kids’ parents never directly said, “Oh yeah, you’re a werewolf.” They had a sibling that died, and that was the last staw that made them turn in their tormentors. So imagine this person already struggling with so many inner demons, the abuse and detah of a sibling and survivor’s guilt, and then they have to put up with the compulsive voice of an inner animal that makes them see people as food or sex objects.
And then imagine what happens when this bleak intro instead leads to gymnastics, cheerleading, and a belching contest in the back of a 737. Because the story only starts off bleak, and this is my story of how a wounded wolf finds hope living in a foster family of sheep.
Which of your characters in Peter the Wolf would you LEAST like to invite to dinner, and why?
ZEW: Wouldn’t want to have dinner with? I’m going to have to go with Peter’s mother, Naomi Lupita. Mainly because she might eat me, and not in the good way.
Most importantly, who is the sexiest character, and why should we want to read about them?
ZEW: Um, I may get in trouble for this answer, but Alice. Alice represents forbidden fruit, the one thing that will undo all of Peter’s good life, and yet, he really cannot resist her. And once she understands his attraction and grows to know him after a few years, she begins encouraging him. So what I find sexy is her power over Peter, her ability to keep talking him into seeing her even though he shouldn’t.