Werewolves are sexy, right? And big and alpha and “insert your own cliché here”.
Maybe I’m wrong about that, recycling all the old chestnuts out of ignorance – the whole shifter genre is something I only looked at from the outside until quite recently (and the only shifter novel I’ve read is J L Merrow’s excellent Camwolf). Like so often with my writing, I sort of got nudged into writing in a new genre, in this case producing a short story about werewolves – gay werewolves, to boot, and in an urban setting. I was a total innocent abroad (story of my life!) and knew I’d have to learn a lot, quickly.
Then I had this mad idea about a society (almost a gentlemen’s club) of highly intellectual, genteel and gentlemanly werewolves, who could meet at a place resembling the Natural History Museum in Kensington, on nights of the full moon – for the purposes of hearing lectures and, if the rain sodden English clouds parted, for shifting.
It was the sort of story which grew in the telling and allowed me to both explore a new genre and have a bit of a pop at some favourite targets, including the tabloids (read the story and you’ll see why). On a more serious note, I could also explore the plight of the gay, closeted, Premiership footballer (and there are some, believe me). So, out of all these disparate elements, Wolves of the West was born. Because I didn’t know the genre well I didn’t know if there were any rules to play by, so I just went with my own shifter world view. (That’s the story of my writing life, too!)
People have asked me if Rory and George, the heroes of Wolves of the West, will be making any further appearances. The answer is “yes”...if I ever get around to finishing the WIP in which they appear. I do, however, have another shifter character appearing this summer, in the short story “Sollicito” from the anthology “Lashings of Sauce”. Not a wolf, this time. A sloth. And when you’ve stopped laughing at the idea, let me assure you – weresloths are sexy, too.
Sometimes your life is defined by the things you have to keep hidden, whether it's being gay or what happens when the moon is full.
“One of you has been indiscreet. Horribly so.” The chairman took a long, steady look at each of the assembled members. Rory racked his brains, but apart from having to relieve himself in the bushes at Wentworth he could bring no transgression to mind. He took a glance at his colleagues, all of whom looked equally perplexed.
“I refer to this.” The chairman held up a copy of The Sun , making another shudder of distaste fly around the table. He opened the tabloid newspaper gingerly, as if he feared catching mange from it. “The headline reads 'Wolf eats Sabrina’s Chihuahua'. I quote,” the chairman shivered slightly, “the lady in question. I'd just stepped out of the shower when I saw this brute eating my little Destiny'.”
Perhaps, of all those present, Rory was the only one who didn’t have to have it explained who Sabrina was. He followed all the England sports teams, was well aware, even before the chairman began his explanation, that the lady–euphemistic term–was the girlfriend of a premiership footballer.
The tabloids must have loved this story. It contained all the elements–scantily clad girl, pets, football–that meant so much to them. If only the wolf in question had been governed by some absurd EC rule they’d have had a full house.
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