Stephanie Gallon || Interview with a werewolf

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

I love the idea of uncontrollable animal instinct embodied in a reluctant human. There’s something exhilarating and fascinating about them. I was very young when I discovered them, but I was eleven when I first realised that I loved them.

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

It depends on the creature. My second favourite are Selkies—seal women of Irish ad Scottish lore. Generally speaking though, werewolves hold my heart.

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

A bit of what I said above. But also how diverse the mythos is. You can be turned in to a werewolf through a bite, but some say it is a deal with a devil, pelt from a witch, drinking water from a wolf’s paw print… there is so much to be explored. It’s always interesting to me how a character responds to their transformation.

Do you prefer a gory werewolf tale or a more modernised, romanticised version?

I prefer a mid-ground. Not overly gory, but not romanticised. I like my werewolves traditional and terrifying.

What does the ideal werewolf look like in your opinion?

Can I just say female? There is a severe lack of female werewolves in fiction. The first female werewolf in English literature didn’t come along until the 19th century. Apart from that though, I would say stronger, bigger than life and deadly.

Give some cinematic examples of your ideal werewolf.

I’d like a more muscular Remus Lupin werewolf. And the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood is perfect for a purely animal lycanthrope.

What should a werewolf NOT look like in your opinion?

The Bad Moon werewolf, definitely. And while I love the original Teen Wolf, he is not the best designed wolf.

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

I was disappointed by the 2010 remake of The Wolfman. I loved the original movie, and I thought Anthony Hopkins in a werewolf movie would be amazing. It wasn’t a bad movie. It just wasn’t as big or as interesting as I imagined it to be.

Stepping away from the cinematic side of things, what is your favourite werewolf novel?

This is like asking a mother to choose between her children. There are so many. I love Angela Carter’s wolf trilogy. And Clemence Housman’s The Were-Wolf is one of my favourite novels. I did my MA dissertation on the female werewolf, and got to read a lot of amazing werewolf novels. I suppose if I had to choose, it would be Wolf-Alice.

Back to cinema, what is your favourite werewolf film?

I wish all of Trick ‘R Treat was dedicated to Laurie and her pack of man-eating werewolf sisters. I loved everything about their tragically short segment. If we’re talking a full movie, I’m torn between Red Riding Hood for the Gothic romance and beautiful cinematography, or Ginger Snaps for the glib look at female puberty and the comparison to lycanthropy. Besides, I love a good pun.

Do you have any werewolf related songs to recommend?

Nothing that hasn’t been recommended a million times before I’d imagine. Animal I Have Become by Three Days Grace and Animals by Maroon Five are both good for getting in to the predatory side of the wolf.

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

In the 19th Century we have the popularity of the penny dreadful and chapbooks encouraging a surge of Gothic tales. The werewolf featured in many of these. They were cheap thrills with melodrama at the core. Enter the 20th Century, and suddenly the equivalent is pulp magazines. Horror magazines write werewolves as darker and gorier. Meanwhile literary writers and horror writers are writing them with more dignity than their earlier counterparts. Now we have werewolves being serialised. They’re characters with arcs, and they’re being tamed and romanticised. There’s nothing bad about this. It happens to all horror icons. It’s the same treatment vampires got. The hope is that werewolves are never declawed. A great book to read about this is She-Wolf by Hannah Priest.

Tell me something that makes the werewolves in your works unique, what makes them special?

I write women werewolves with more to them than boobs and blood. They have identities outside the usual thing we see in werewolf stories. They’re not sexualised, they’re not demonised; I like to think I write them as compelling heroines and villains. Whether I achieve that or not is up to my readers.

What are you other passions? Vampires, zombies? Body horror? Etc etc.

I like horror films in general, but I gravitate more toward individual directors (Dario Argento, Mario Bava, John Carpenter, Roger Corman, Wes Craven, David Cronenberg, Brian De Palma, Guillermo del Toro, Michael Dougherty, Stuart Gordon, Tobe Hooper, Roman Polanski, Sam Raimi, George A. Romero, Ti West) than specific subgenres.

Tell us about your most recent werewolf related work.

It’s the same as the work above. He’s a minor character in a Little Red Riding Hood crime story, but I have Monroe. He’s a wolf being blamed for the disappearance of Melody Hood. He’s a shy, book-loving cross-dresser and I love him to pieces.

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

I’d have to say Beast from Wolfssegen (published in Werewolves Versus #02). It was fun writing a character who doesn’t speak and still trying to get her to be emotive and engaging.

Do you have any big upcoming plans relating to werewolves?

I’m hoping to finish Dotty Grimm this year.

Where will you be available to meet fans in the near future, if you are doing any outings or signings?

I’m afraid not. But if anyone is going to Newcastle Comic-Con in November, feel free to message me! I love Anthema, an amazing graphic novel about a tragic lesbian werewolf.

What do you think of the furry movement and how it has affected the way people perceive werewolves?

I’ve had some friends who were furries. I don’t have a problem with it. I think the furry movement is still subculture enough that it doesn’t affect mainstream opinion of werewolves.

Vampires and zombies have both had some serious popularity in the last few years; what do you think needs to happen to give werewolves that same boost? (Because whatever it is we need to make it happen!)

We need a well-written Twilight. It revolutionised paranormal romance, for better or worse. I would like to see something similar happen with werewolves. Hopefully it would be more about the werewolves and less about glamourizing abuse and glitter.

Useful Stephanie Gallon links:

Twitter

Website

Purchase her work here