In the wake of the events of book one in the series, the pack that Hunter Dalton finds himself a part of undergoes some radical changes. After so many losses the dynamic has changed and there is a deep feeling of loss, coupled with anger for the man who killed their pack members. Hunter struggles to find his place and settle down as part of a pack, but having been accepted by them he does his best and is sent to track down a troublesome werewolf alongside two other pack members. They find their quarry, but with her she brings back something ancient and twisted. A werewolf with nothing to lose and a taste for both human and werewolf flesh alike. With his arrival their world is once again thrown into chaos as he hunts them down for sport.
About the Author
Stacey Leah Mewse was born in 1987 in the old roman town of Chichester in West Sussex in the UK. She is a non-identical twin and is the younger of the two by just one minute. She spent her early years near the seaside town of Bognor Regis, and moved to Cambridge in her younger years. By the time she was of school age she and her family had moved back to West Sussex and were living in a small village near the town of Littlehampton.
Fiction has always been Stacey’s passion, and she began by writing in the fantasy genre when she was in her mid-teens. Unfortunately her first work was lost to a computer malfunction in the days of the floppy disk, and she was left with only a few scant chapters remaining of this first book. To this day it is an ambition of hers to re-start and finish that first book, but her horror writing is her primary focus.
Stacey was introduced to the world of horror at a young age thanks to the likes of R.L Stine, and then the accidental viewing of one of the halloween series at the age of 8 years old. She instantly developed a taste for horror and has never looked back. An avid reader of horror fiction, and watcher of horror films, she was introduced to the world of more adult horror writing by her mother lending her a copy of the magic cottage by James Herbert. After that fateful reading she avidly sought out his work, and he remains one of her favourite authors. Stacey also enjoys the writings of Dean Koontz, Richard Laymon and Stephen King.
Primarily interested in supernatural horror, Stacey has a real love for ‘creature feature’ style books and films. She greatly enjoys blending the unreal elements of this type of writig with real human horrors, which ground the supernatural elemnts of her literature. She also enjoys tackling taboo subject matter, and including day to day realisms in her writing to keep her stories and characters relatable despite the fantasy elements.
Not only is Stacey an author, but also a keen animal lover, artist and cancer survivor. She has a passion for unusual animals and is especially fond of hairless pets. She has even been on the committee of the UK xoloitzcuintli club, and designed their breed club logo! She enjoys painting various subjects in various mediums and also likes to craft. Crochet is a particular favourite of hers, make of that what you will! She was diagnosed with cervical cancer and then treated in 2013, and is now thankfully in remmission. One of her biggest wishes is to use her talent as a writer to earn money to donate to the hospital where she was treated.
Now The Interview Questions
Question: Would you say your book features werewolves or shape-shifters or both?
Answer: I use the terms werewolf and shape-shifter interchangeably as in my books I feature different kinds of part man-part beast monsters. Werewolf or werehyena are simply different subspecies of shape-shifters in my work.
Question: Can you give some background on the characters Nikolai Varulv and Eve?
Answer: I have not yet delved into Nikolai’s background, though I do plan to in the future. He was such a monstrous character that I don’t feel I’ve done him justice with only one book, so he will be having his own story told. I can give you a brief idea about him here without spoiling that tale though. Nikolai is very old, though he does not look it. Due to this tale having been told orally for so many years before it was recorded on paper, his precise age is unknown. He is infamous among his kind for two things. His ever-increasing savagery, and his exposure of their kind that helped to cause the werewolf hysteria from the 15th through to the 18th centaury. He is a cruel and merciless character who leaves a trail of destruction in his wake and he does not care if he exposes werewolves again. He enjoys the attention of the media and even pens notes to the police, bragging about his conquests and mocking them. He was always unpleasant, even before he became a werewolf, but his curse allowed him to take that evil to new heights. I drew inspiration for him from a variety of real life criminals coupled with things that genuinely frighten me. He is a true monster.
Eve is a personal favourite of mine. Visually I imagine her as a mixture of Nina kate and Masuimi Max. Slim and alternative with a confident attitude and an air of calm authority about her. She has a tendency to swear and joke around but she is not overly aggressive or a total goofball. She’s confidant and kind, and easily the best beta that the pack could have hoped for.
Like all werewolves Eve is much older than she looks, though her style has evolved through the ages to ensure that she can fit In with humanity to a degree when she needs to. She joined the pack after being a loner for a brief amount of time and quickly worked her way up the ranks thanks to her hard working and likeable nature. She looks at Alfred, the pack alpha, as a father figure, and loves him far more than she ever loved her human family, however she does not care for his adopted daughter. Eve’s history before joining the pack was quiet and relatively boring; it was only when she joined them that things began to become more interesting. She took on the task of helping to track down rogue werewolves and other types of shapeshifter and helped the pack to become well known for this. With her leading the team of trackers she led the pack into a special relationship with the UK council of werewolves, allowing them to bend the rules to suit them occasionally.
Question: You have a detailed and interesting transformation process. Care to share a snippet of this from the book or provide some more background?
Answer: Thank you! I find transformation scenes enormous fun to write. I have always been interested by the idea of physical transformations, and what would have to occur for the to be possible. To me it seems logical that the change would be painful and difficult. Here is a snippet of a transformation scene from Infliction.
His wrists and ankles cracked and split, twisting in jolting circles like dying insects as the bones in his arms and legs broke and re-set. A gargled whine forced its way from between his warping lips as his ribs and pelvis shattered and knitted together beneath his skin, his skull splitting and his nose and mouth lengthening into a muzzle as he squirmed upon the ground. His mouth split from one ear to the other, the meat and skin of his lower jaw dropping loose and wetly hitting his chest before feelers of muscle fibre stretched back towards the bone and lifted it, shuddering and dripping, back into place. Blood ran freely from the multitude of open wounds which had split open all over his jerking, twitching body; and as his chin sought to re-attach itself his teeth were pushed from his jaw one by one by the protrusions of his canine dentition.
Question: How does the character of Hunter Dalton drive your story?
Hunter is an unusual werewolf in that he was bitten as a child and yet survived, which is something that is almost unheard of in my novels. His maker was an infamous werewolf who made no other heirs, and he was unaware that the boy had not been killed when he was mauled. He lived alone for a long time and managed to cope with his lycanthropy fairly well, but when his maker returned to British soil he was taken under the wing of a local pack he had not known existed. He worked with the pack in book one to find the werewolf who had given him the condition, and he found his place as part of the group despite initial reservations.
Hunter is a kind-hearted man with a strong moral compass and a string of losses in his life which left him with a serious and sometimes slightly bleak attitude. He has a strong belief in doing what is right, but fitting into werewolf society is hard for him after so much time alone. He wants to right the wrongs of the world and takes it upon his shoulder when things go wrong. Without him there would be no story, as it all began with his making.
Question: Please explain the relationship of the Alphas and Betas in your pack Who was your inspiration for the character Alfred and what made you decide on the name “Alfred”?
Answer: Werewolf social structure in my books is fairly simple. The alpha runs the pack, the Betas are his second in command, and the Gammas are third in command. Then the bulk of the rest of the pack are in a kind of happy limbo without rank, where they exist without responsibility except for whatever their superiors task them to do. At the bottom of the pile are the Omegas, these werewolves are the naturally subordinate ones who are often tasked with jobs that no one else wants to do. They tend to be young or recently bitten werewolves.
In my books there is only one alpha in the focus pack, an elderly werewolf named Alfred. He has been at the head of the pack for a very long time, and is a fair and kindly leader. He rescued a werewolf in Italy from certain death and fell in love with her, and even adopted her daughter Audra as his own, but the love of his life passed away. After losing her Alfred became fiercely protective of Audra and when alone he would often sink into saddened reminiscing.
I suppose he is inspired by a collection of people I have met across the course of my life, and in my mind he represents paternal instincts. I settled on the name Alfred after deciding that he needed a slightly old fashioned name, but nothing too ancient. He actually began as Arthur, but I decided that Alfred was a better fit for him.
The Betas in the pack are Eve and Tobias, and their jobs are to enforce Alfred’s rules and head expeditions and motivate the pack. They are the enforcers of the pack, but they are both friendly and neither of them ever uses aggression to get their way with other pack members. Tobias is a joker and has a permanently sunny disposition, like a big brother to the rest of the pack. Eve is confident and social but she doesn’t tolerate idiocy and has no love for Audra. Both of them are very close to Alfred, but Eve particularly so, to her he is a father figure and he loves her as much as he loves his adopted daughter.
Question: You are one of the first Indie Author’s we have interviewed. Can you please explain your journey in self-publishing?
Answer: I have been writing for as long as I can remember, but I always put off looking into publishing because I found myself busy with other things and it seemed like an unattainable dream.
That changed when I was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. I was treated and am now in remission but it totally changed my outlook on life. I decided it was time to follow my dreams, especially in the wake of finding myself jobless after my diagnosis. It all felt like fate giving me a kick up the backside to do what I’d always dreamed of! I finished my first book and edited it with the help of a couple of people who wanted to help set me on the right track after everything that had happened, and then I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do.
I suffer from relatively severe anxiety and I was too nervous to apply to any of the larger publishing houses, and so I looked at indie publishers. After a lot of thought I eventually decided to go it alone and self publish. I settled on this option for a few reasons. I couldn’t find an indie publisher who seemed to offer enough benefits for the money that they would be taking. I did not want to wait around for a long time while publishers considered my work; and I did not want to be asked to make any big changes to my book. I will also freely admit that I am something of a control freak, which I believe to be a consequence of being so ill. After having had no control then, and having had so many negative changes, I am now determined to take life by the horns and take control myself.
Question: What role does the murder of Hunter’s parents play in the book?
Answer: Hunter’s parents are long dead, but their passing is part of what motivates him to behave the way that he does. If they had all survived the attack in his infancy then the story would likely be very different indeed.
Question: It’s been said that your werewolves “maintain their humanity while in beast form” could you please comment on this.
Answer: In my books the ideal situation is for a werewolf to embrace the duality of their nature, which means accepting lupine thoughts, feelings and emotions in human form and vice versa. To fight either half of themselves would only mean years of internal conflict and more painful transformations. My werewolves are always working alongside their inner wolves rather than working to supress them. This same effect is also seen in reverse in lupine form. They do not lose their human thought processes when transformed, or their ability to feel human emotions like empathy. Their senses are sharper, their movements are easier and they tire more slowly, but their minds are just as sharp as when in human form. Of course there are a few exceptions, but for the most part, my werewolves do no descend into a ‘beast mode’ mentality. The monsters in my books are shaped by their human halves, not the wolves within them. Nikolai Varulv for example, was a beast long before he was a werewolf.
Question: What is your approach to cover design?
Answer: I have always preferred more old-fashioned covers on books, and naturally gravitate towards dark covers with painted images rather than photoshop covers. I wanted to use the same kind of effect on my own books, and so went into cover design with that in mind. I also like to do everything myself, and so painting my own covers seemed like the correct option for me to take. I like to have a big, snarly, scary creature as the focus on my book covers, preferably looming out of the shadows.
Question: What are some of your favorite authors?
Answer: My favourite authors are James Herbert, Richard Laymon and Dean Koontz. Within the werewolf sub-genre I am fond of Graeme Reynolds’ writing style. Outside of horror I love the work of Terry Brooks.
Question: What are you working on next?
Answer: I am currently working on formatting the third book in my Primal Progeny series ready for release. I don’t want to give too much away, but this book will widen the shapeshifter universe and touches a subject that I don’t believe has been used in a werewolf/shapeshifter novel before.
I am also working on concepts for a post-apocalyptic web comic which will have shapeshifter and Mesoamerican themes. As well as that little side project I’m also busily scribbling down ideas for two more werewolf novels and another three horror novels. I like to keep busy!
We here at WerewolfBook.com would like to thank Stacey for taking the time to answer our questions and look forward to her next book. Please check out her book Infliction on Amazon and follow Stacey on Twitter @MewseFiendThews and on her website.