Nathan Hopp || Interview With a Werewolf

What got you into anthropomorphic characters and how old were you when you discovered them?

For me, it all began when I was a little kid and was thrown into anthropomorphic characters from animated films like Disney’s Robin Hood, Balto, All Dogs Go To Heaven, etc. It wouldn’t be until I began my first year of high school that I fully got back into animation again (I was in a phase where I thought it was all kid’s stuff for a bit), and eventually again renewed my love for anthropomorphic characters a little later. It’s hard to remember how exactly, but I discovered the furry fandom through the Internet during my sophomore year of high school. What really got me into loving anthros was not only how cool they looked, but the endless possibilities one could be done with a fictional character that has half-human/half-animal characteristics. Whether it be simple contemporary fiction with anthropomorphic animals instead of humans or epic fantasy involving werewolves, I felt this type of sub-genre can really ignite the imagination.

 

Do you share the same love for shapeshifters such as werewolves, or are you strictly an anthro fan?

I’m a huge fan of werewolves, but not to the same extent as anthro fiction. Personally, what it all amounts to is how a story involving shifters like werewolves or werecats is written. Sure they’re awesome, but it all depends on how the story they’re in is unique or how interesting the characters, setting and plot are.

 

What do you think it is that attracts you to anthros?

That’s a very philosophical question to ask. Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve always liked dogs and cats, especially wolves if I ever saw them. My first pet was an old German shepherd, who I guess cemented my love for my animals despite being a city boy. From that, combining my love for anthropomorphic animal characters like Robin Hood and the wonders of the Internet, and you have yourself a perfect member of the furry fandom. *laughs*

 

What kind of anthro tales do you most enjoy? 

It all depends on the idea behind it and how the characters being anthros comes into play. Sure a contemporary story with anthropomorphic protagonists in an anthropomorphic world is neat to see, but it’s often better when the settings, genres and styles are different as well. I especially like seeing how the setting is affected by them being animals and how it comes into play.

 

What does the ideal anthro look like in your opinion? Give some Cinematic examples if you have any.

Hmmm, that’s a tricky question. I guess I’d have to go with one that either serves the plot or is a prominent protagonist, or at the very least a good side character. I get bored with cinematic stories that only have anthros in the background just to get members of the furry fandom interested.

 

What should an anthro NOT look like in your opinion?

Bland or unoriginal. I guess that’s about it.  I’m not a big fan of Taur or quad, but it all depends on if it can impress me or be original enough 🙂

 

Give a cinematic example of a anthro character that didn’t quite meet your expectations.

Hmmmm, with an anthro character, I’d have to go with…honestly I can’t think of any that comes to mind. Maybe the dog from Son of the Mask? *shudders*

 

Stepping away from the cinematic side of things, what is your favourite furry novel and why?

That is…a very difficult question to ask me. I know I’m an immense fan of works by Kyell Gold, Rukis Croax, Mark Engels, Ryan Campbell and countless others, so it’d be very hard to choose only one novel. With that said, I’d either have to go with “Waterways” by Kyell Gold or “Circles”, a comic series by Steve Domanski and Andrew French. The former was my first novel written exclusively for furries, and helped provide a gateway into the fandom, while the latter has an emotional weight that taught me how powerful relationships can be. Both have fictional characters who are honest, complex, and (dare I say it?) so human enough to seem real.

 

Back to cinema, what is your favourite werewolf film?

Now that’s a definite question I can answer! Now there are plenty of werewolf movies out there, but I have to say my favorite is the anime film “Wolf Children: Ame and Yuki”. It has inspiring characters, powerful emotion, fantastically incredible animation and is criminally underrated as a werewolf movie. It doesn’t have gore or horror or that many action scenes, but it has all of the fantasy elements that make it an entertaining film for the average werewolf enthusiast.

 

Do you have any werewolf related songs to recommend?

To answer your question, that’s a difficult one. There isn’t that many songs focused on this one subject, so I’ll have to go with “Tabi no Tochuu”, the opening to Spice and Wolf.

 

Do you have a particular favourite furry artist, what is it about their art that you love?

Well I don’t like to play favorites, so I’m tied between Rukis Croax (her realism and artwork are just stunning, especially in either illustrations or comics) and Zeta-Haru.

 

What do you think of the way representation of anthropomorphised characters and furries has changed over the years? (In both literature and cinema.)

Well, furry art has definitely moved more toward adult audiences as well as expanded away from just Saturday morning cartoons and comics. In a way, this is a form of change that is necessary. It shows how anthropomorphism isn’t a sub-genre that’s solely for children, and can tell incredible, mature stories to attract an older audience. However, I partly feel that anthropomorphic furries in fiction have kind of forgotten it’s origins. That’s kind of why I liked writing “The Adventures of Peter Gray”, since not every single form of furry fiction has to be adult-oriented. It can be geared towards kids and teens without relying on adult themes. It can be read by anyone of any age while telling an amazing story with memorable characters.

 

Tell me something that makes the anthro characters in your works unique. What makes them special?

With my anthro characters, especially ones like Peter Gray, you would find them likable and relatable even if they were not anthropomorphic at all (at least that’s what I hope my readers will think too). In fact, when I started writing “The Adventures of Peter Gray”, my protagonist was a human and not anthropomorphic at first.

Tell us about some of your other passions besides anthropomorphic art and literature?

Well outside of looking at art and non-anthropomorphic literature (me preferring science fiction/fantasy, historical and contemporary works), I also enjoy browsing the Internet, exploring new places, biking when I can, small-time gaming when I can as well as watching Netflix and anime that looks exciting!

 

 Tell me about your most recent anthro related work.

My most recent anthro-related work? Besides my upcoming novel, I’m working two projects as we speak. The first is an ongoing personal project that allows me to practice my comedic writing.
The other is a short story that I hope to submit for an upcoming anthology, about a gay couple struggling to escape the effects of the Yellowstone eruption while trying to survive together in a harsh wasteland that was once North America.

 

Who is your favourite character within your own work and why?

Hmmmm…now that’s a tough question. I love my characters all the same. However, one of my favorites has to be Peter Gray himself. He is mischievously eccentric and a goofball, but innocent and has a heart of gold. He does not care about judging someone on their appearance, but on their heart, and whether or not they can be fun to talk to, play with, laugh with. Writing Peter brought me back to the fun times I had being a child, and makes me nostalgic for a time where everything was more simpler.

Do you have any big upcoming plans relating to anthro characters? Any new works on the way?

Mmm, well outside of considering a sequel, I think I’m going to keep writing short fiction while honing my craft. I have been working on a couple of other ideas for novels, but short stories and flash fiction always help to keep my brain invigorated with creativity. Like Ray Bradbury once said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

 

Will you be available to meet other furry fans in the near future, are you doing any outings or signings, or attending any conventions?

Outside of a couple of friends I met in Europe, I’ve attended a couple of conventions in the past and definitely will again in the future, but none that I can say for sure. However, I will announce any book signings on my Facebook and Twitter.

 

Do you have any places online where other anthro fans can contact you to discuss your work or anything furry related?

I have a constant presence on DeviantArt, SoFurry and FurAffinity where I also upload my other works too. And of course Twitter. In fact, some of my followers did help me put together a little mock interview of my own with Peter himself by leaving me questions to ask him in the comments. On any of these platforms, interested readers can message me anytime and I’ll gladly reply back. I encourage it.

 

Anthro characters have always been popular in media aimed at children, but increasingly now we’re seeing them in media aimed at adults as well. (Think Brian in family guy etc) What do you think has caused this shift, and do you think it’s something that will continue to grow? The furry fandom is huge, there is no denying that, but do you think it is set to become more acceptable and something that people are more accepting as time goes by, or do you think that there is too much stigma surrounding it for that to happen? 

Like I mentioned before, anthropomorphic characters are a concept that has limitless possibilities, and studios have slowly realized this can be used for adult markets as well. Adults grew up from childhood with these anthro characters; that’s why Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh are still cherished by millions. This shift will continue to grow the same way we all grow and change as people. However, the lack of more media aimed at children may disparage more potential anthro fans.
I believe one of the main reasons the furry fandom is misrepresented as only being adult-oriented is because it has forgotten its roots. Like I mentioned before it began when we discovered animation & cartoons, depicting storylines and art that sparked our imagination. Then we grew up & created an adult side to our subculture, like any other fandom out there. Don’t get me wrong; adult works in the fandom led to great ideas and brilliant authors that continue to inspire and entertain, but some furries forget that fandom-focused books, animation & art doesn’t always have to be adult. It can be for kids, teens, adults or both! I’m not saying adult works in our fandom should be suppressed. I’m saying that creativity should be expanded upon. Let there be erotica, Let there be adult romance, but let there also be furry books for teenagers, kids and furry comics for anyone to read and enjoy.
When that happens, there will slowly grow more acceptance for the fandom as a whole. Granted there will always be the misinformed news station that ridicules or simplifies is into a single stereotype of deviance, but that’s been changing lately. Zootopia, arguably a furry movie, netted a billion dollars for Disney, and furry conventions are growing larger each year while fundraising donations for good causes. We’ve even had furries work for major studios and gain doctorates. Not to mention how close strangers within the fandom are becoming, helping each other out the more the Internet grows.
Overall, I know that anthro characters will continue to grow and gain acceptance, but only if we evenly provide creativity across our vast, amazing subculture and beyond. Truth be told, one of my personal goals of becoming an author is to write popular furry books anyone of any age can read.

 

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