John Dillard || Interview with a Werewolf

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

I have been into werewolves since at least middle school. My love of them is sort of born out of my autism and bipolar disorder. The autism contributed because my ex-PETA mother took a lot of cues from Temple Grandin and her theories on the similarity between autistic and animal cognition. The bi-polar contributed via allowing me to identify with the occasional loss of control that werewolves have

 

 Do you share the same love of other types of shapeshifters?

Yes to a degree, my novel features a werefox in the main team of heroes.

 

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

Like I said, my neurotype and the idea that werewolves would think differently from most humans in a way that I could understand is what led to the initial attraction, but nowadays I would say that the strong bonds between the members of a pack are something that I can’t help but appreciate.

 

Do you prefer a gory werewolf tale or a more serene, nature loving version?

Well, nature being red in tooth and claw aside, I find that certain nature loving werewolf tales (I am looking at you Werewolf: the Apocalypse) tend to take loving nature to mean hating technology (WtA even had shades of anti-vaxxer via Magadon putting Banes in Vaccines to hollow out people’s souls YIKES!) and that sort of fuzzy thinking only hurts the environmentalist movement. Also, my novel series features a parody of hippie werewolves as a villain faction and I love violent action, so I would have to say gory as a default

 

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

The Van Helsing werewolf is my favorite and very close to my ideal. Big, strong, two legs, may or may not have a tail, big ass claws and fangs. And doesn’t look like a naked rat thing.

 

What should a werewolf NOT look like in your opinion?

Not like the original wolf man for sure, or looking more like a gorilla than a wolf. I also don’t care for werewolves that are only on all fours. I have a slight preference for tails but it is not a deal breaker if they don’t have one.

 

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

I don’t really like the Ginger snaps werewolf design. Four legs and no fur, yikes!

 

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

Aside from my own, you mean? I have read a lot of them, but I love Linda Godfry’s cyrptozoology books on werewolves, but they technically aren’t novels sooooo…. I also love Ann Rice’s the Wolf Gift series, which has the themes of werewolf family drama that I oh so love. so it would be a toss up between that and Operation Chaos, an early (published in the 1970s!) urban fantasy action book that was a big influence on my novel and one of the first modern novels to star a heroic werewolf, though unfortunately he is the four legged kind. It has a sequel called Operation Luna, but I have yet to read it.

 

Back to cinema, what is your favorite werewolf film?

I love Dog soldiers, Van Helsing and Wolf Children (what? Puppies are cute, kids are cute, therefore werewolf puppies are double cute.)

Do you have any werewolf related songs to recommend?

Hey There little red riding hood, both the original by Sam Shepard and the cover by Amanda Seyfried. I also love the hungry wolf by X, which seems like the sort of song that werewolf couples would dance to in a 50s diner despite it being a 70s punk song. I also love Sonata arctica’s Full moon and Cruel Cruel Moon by Paul and Storm is a nice comedy song take on werewolves. The soundtrack of the indie game Wailing Heights is also a must listen for any werewolf fan, particularly the song Namborough farm, which is about as Irish a werewolf song one can get.


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

I have to say Kigai Holt since he did the cover for my book.

Nashoba Hostina is one of my favorite werewolf artists, her werewolves are just the right balance between hippie and horror, and her webcomic eldritch is what introduced me to the theories of Linda Godfry, which in turn influenced the werewolves in my novels. She also has a ton of little projects she made that act as a sort of museum of werewolf lore. Peter Von Brown’s web comic Wolverton is a cute look at how werewolves might go about building their own utopia that has some definite influence from theories of Participatory Economics and post soviet democratic socialist theory. I also like Hamster Toybox’s pure of heart, which also has my beloved werewolf family drama. And JDL’s ask the werewolves is a perfect example of the 80s style done right.

 

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

I think that over the years we have had more heroic and sympathetic werewolves, as I said earlier operation chaos was one of the first to have a werewolf hero, and while I bag on werewolf the apocalypse a lot, there were one of the first works to give werewolves their own society. The trend of werewolf works rejecting the discredited Alpha Beta Omega in favor of social family groups with lots of family drama has only just began, but I do think it will become the standard as time goes on.

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

I rejected the Alpha Beta Omega bullhonkey and made my werewolves social family group critters. Werewolf packs are just families and their drama is a recurring theme in my work. Another thing that makes them special is the the werewolf routs (basically big semi sovereign nation states of the constitutional monarchy/ nordic model social democracy type that most werewolves belong to in my works) . The the Routs are tied to international politics in a big way, since I think that messing with politics shouldn’t just be for vampires and wizards. Also, my werewolves exist openly, along with everything else magical. Finally, my wolves take a few cues from some of Linda Godfry’s theories on their biology and psychology.

 

 What are you other passions within the horror genre or out of it?

In the horror genre I love David Hill Jr’s work and I am not just saying that because I am twitter friends with him. The best horror uses the monsters as a metaphor for real life fears and issues and David certainly does that with poverty, corporate greed, the gig economy and political corruption, so you should check out his novels Blood Flow and iHunt. Outside of the horror genre I can’t wait for the Netflix movie Bright coming later this month. I mean, sure it is starring Will Smith and is written by Max Landis of suicide squad infamy, and sure it is obviously a ripoff of Shadowrun without the cyberpunk.

But when you think about it, Will Smith is sort of the indicator that a geeky genre, in this case urban action fantasy, has become main stream, and honestly we kind of live in a cyberpunk dystonia already, so ripping off Shadowrun isn’t really that bad if you are writing an urban fantasy crime drama.

Not gonna comment on Max Landis though, other than to say his father will always have a place in any werewolf fan’s heart. My other passions are history, my dog Luna and helping my mom run the Purrvana Cafe and Cat Lounge in Savannah. All the cats are rescues that are up for adoption, so if you find yourself in the coastal empire and want some cat time, come on by.

Tell me about your most recent werewolf related work.

Greater Justice Chronicles: the Beginning is an urban fantasy action take on the whole Project Paperclip, ODESSA, P2, Ex-Nazis hiding out in South America genre of conspiracy theory. It follows a team of cold war era Nazi hunters, including a werewolf and werefox, as they establish themselves in an alternate universe 1960s Savannah Georgia where magic exists openly to hunt a Nazi technomancer amid drama involving the royal family of the Irish werewolves and the mafia. A b-plot takes place in the modern day with a disgraced journalist writing down the story of these heroic Nazi hunters, even as a mysterious new threat targets the heroes, their family and their allies.

 

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

It is so hard to choose, but James Burt, of the Burt branch of the Gagnon family of werewolves, is easily one of my favorites . A mixed race tech CEO werewolf of black, white and native American descent, I originally designed him as an experiment in making a Native American werewolf who wasn’t a hippie stereotype. He just grew in my mind from there until he became a main character of the modern b-plot of the series..

 

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

I am currently working on a short story for werewolves versus fashion and I have a few chapters of Greater Justice Book 2 already done, which will focus on all the Nazi UFO theories and how exactly a werewolf would go about fighting a flying saucer in the first place. It will also be the first “on-screen” appearance of my KGB werewolf, Agent Volkanova and an opportunity to show how the werewolves of the eastern bloc do things. The greater Justice chronicles is planned to span the length of the cold war and even the 90s, so stay tuned.

 

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

Alas, there are no conventions of that sort that I know of in Savannah and I will not be able to travel until I finish college, but if there is a convention in the Lowcountry area that I do not know of, then please let me know.

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

I go by @realizationnews on twitter and you can also check out the Facebook page for my novels (@johndillardgreaterjustice), where I will post any art I have commission of my characters, excerpts from my books and links to any short stories I might write. And of course, you can buy my book and it’s future sequels on amazon. You can also contact me on Steam as Satorui.

 

 

Vampires and zombies have both become seriously popular within the horror genre in movies, do you think that as technology continues to improve werewolves will eventually reach the same kind of status? 

The weird thing is, werewolves already had that status in the high middle ages, when stories of noble and even heroic werewolves such as the Hounds of God were a common subject in folktales and poems, but I do think that as the tech advances they will reach that status again, all it takes is the right franchise to propel them back into the limelight.

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