Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Interview with Author William D. Carl

Good werewolf fiction is hard to come by, which is why we here at were ecstatic when we were given the opportunity to interview author William D. Carl, who has just had his explosive debut novel, Bestial: Werewolf Apocalypse published by Permuted Press.

With Bestial: Werewolf Apocalypse, Carl makes werewolves scary again! We were eager to find out what makes Carl tick and how he tackled such the seemingly difficult and under-used werewolf genre. Read on to find out more about this Bestial writer!

Fatally Yours: William, you’ve crafted a thrilling adventure with Bestial: Werewolf Apocalypse. Where did the idea for the book come from?

William Carl: Lately, horror seems to have taken a turn inwards, becoming very psychological and introspective. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. Much of it is wonderful. I, alas, happen to love creature features, especially a good slam-bang horror tale – like Robert McCammon’s Stinger or Brian Keene’s The Rising. For a first novel, I wanted to write something I’d just plain enjoy reading, and Bestial is a real roller coaster ride of a book. I wanted something exciting, and I’ve always loved werewolves, so the two together, blended with a bit of fifties science fiction, seemed to mesh well.

Fatally Yours: What were your inspirations for the novel and why did you decide to write a werewolf story?

William Carl: Werewolf movies are the best – I can’t get enough of them. Werewolf fiction, however, mostly seems to be going the way of vampire fiction – lots of ‘woe is me, I’m cursed, blah blah blah’ and even straight out romance. There are exceptions – Steve Wedel’s books, George W.M. Reynolds’ Wagner the Werewolf, McCammon’s Wolf’s Hour. The beasts in the movies never stopped for love. I wondered what certain authors would do with the werewolf theme to shake it up a bit. What would Brian Keene do? Or Michael Crichton? I wanted to translate the fury and savagry of the best werewolf movies into a book…times a couple thousand.

Fatally Yours: What is your favorite werewolf movie and/or film of all time?

William Carl: That’s a tough one. There’ve been so many good ones over the years. Lon Chaney’s The Wolfman will always hold a special place in my heart. I am also partial to Dog Soldiers, American Werewolf in London, Ginger Snaps, and The Wolfen. Tops would have to be The Howling, for me. It really epitomizes the terror one feels when confronted with the animalistic (just that scene in the porno shop at the beginning). Plus, it winks at the viewer. There are plenty of laughs to be had, but never at the detriment of the jolts.

Fatally Yours: Bestial: Werewolf Apocalypse is your first full-length novel. What were your hopes, fears and expectations for the book?

William Carl: Well, I’d love to sell a million! Seriously, though, I’d love to have people read it, like it, and want something else from me. A writer’s always afraid his/her book will be lost in the shuffle, especially in the ultra-busy small press. But Permuted Press has been great in getting the word out about the book, and people are starting to discover it and, so far, the word on the street is that people like it a lot! I’m still shocked when I talk to someone who has read Bestial and tells me how wonderful it was. I’ve actually had two ladies tell me it kept them awake until they finished it! Is there any higher praise for a writer of horror?

Fatally Yours: Do you have a special method or routine for your writing? Are there any rituals to get you in the mood to write?

William Carl: Sadly, I have to work one of those jobs that puts the food on the table. In retail management, so my hours shift around a lot depending upon when I am needed. If I open the store, I will write for a bit at night. If I close, I get up early and whack out a thousand words in the morning. If I am off work, I can make up for days when I couldn’t get anything accomplished. I have a partner, and we understand each other pretty well after seventeen years. I stay in my study, with no distractions, no music, just the computer and my poor typing skills. Most times, the dog sleeps beside me while I am writing. He’s a comfort when I can’t think of anything else to move the story forward.

Fatally Yours: Who is your favorite literary character of all time in the horror genre and why?

William Carl: The Auctioneer in Joan Sampson’s horribly under-read book The Auctioneer. He comes into a small town and begins buying things. Little by little, he chips away at the town’s soul, forcing people to sell what they don’t want to, what they don’t need to. It’s a period piece, but it could just as well be talking about the horrifying way people with power coerce those without power into doing their will. Watch the news. It happens all the time! It’s a great reflection of people with power. I know, it isn’t an action packed creature feature, but damn, it got under my skin.

Fatally Yours: How do you feel about the lack of quality werewolf films/novels out there? Why do you think werewolf stories are so hard to pull off?

William Carl: I think the films have a better consistency than the books. I also love The Company of Wolves, the Paul Naschy werewolf films from Spain, Wolf (really a publishing biz expose, but I love it still), and even Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory for kitsch value. The less said about things like Skinwalkers, Cursed, and Big Bad Wolf, the better. They missed the point entirely. Werewolves are vicious, savage, unstoppable forces of sheer brutality. They are not teen-friendly monsters. A good werewolf movie tends to be pretty violent, by the nature of the beast. The only qualm I have with the really good movies, is that there’s usually only one werewolf…at the most a small pack. A couple of silver bullets, and they’re gone. That’s why I thought of a way to spread the lycanthropy virus through the air we breathe. Tens of thousands of werewolves. A lot scarier than those slow moving zombies or the self-pitying vampires, eh?

Fatally Yours: If your book were turned into a movie, what actors would you want to play the lead characters and who would you want to direct?

William Carl: Doug Limon would be a great director. He did the Bourne movies, and he understands action. But he’s never done horror. How about Joe Dante? I’ve loved just about everything he’s done, and he understands the genre, having directed The Howling. As far as a perfect cast?

Rick – George Clooney (Steve McQueen woulda been great!)
Chesya – if Jennifer Hudsun were 6 years older, she’d be great!
Christian – Joseph Gordon-Levitt could still play 17, couldn’t he? He’d be good.
Cathy – Michelle Pfieffer, because she had that vulnerability Cathy needs.
Andrei – That big bald dude from Night Watch.

Fatally Yours: What do you have planned in the future? Is there a new novel you are currently working on?

William Carl: I’m currently shopping around a couple horror novels. I have a werewolf novella, a Western, in Graveside Tales’ The Beast Within this month. I have a story in the upcoming In Laymon’s Terms from CD [Cemetery Dance Publications]. Right now, I am working on a noir story, set in 1957. Something very different for me, but it just downloaded into my brain and it wants out!

Buy the book on Amazon!

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