In a world destabilized by inequality, climate change, and war the deaths of several high profile bankers leave national security experts scrambling for answers. A disgruntled and discredited F.B.I. Agent striving to bring to justice the corrupt individuals responsible for wrecking his community is instead ordered to protect those same Wall Street power brokers. In the postindustrial wasteland of a bankrupt Detroit he stumbles onto a lead capable of not just cracking the case, but with potentially explosive ramifications for the future of mankind. Meanwhile a team of historians investigating a mysterious Second World War era mass grave make a startling discovery in a medieval village located deep within a foreboding Ukrainian valley. Brought together they face an ancient terror in a global adventure that forces them to confront the tragic history of Eastern Europe’s blood lands. There they struggle to reconcile their findings with the evidence that a mythic evil is possibly real, and murderously intent on keeping its existence a secret until able to set in motion events that could change human history.
This is a book that seeks to do more than just entertain. In taking the reader on a lushly described journey stretching from the time of the Black Plague, through the genocidal bloodletting of World War II, and into today’s interrelated global crisis Apex Predator leverages the werewolf as a mirror for exploring our humanity.
About the Author
S.M. Douglas is married with children and lives in Southeast Michigan. This is her debut novel.
Now the Interview Questions
Question: Tell us some of the back story of what happened with the werewolf in WWII.
Answer: World War II comes into play in a variety of ways within this book. Please note that Apex Predator has strong historical elements spread throughout it. Though most of the book takes place in the present there are four chapters that take place during the Second World War. I have a friend who is a World War II historian and he helped edit those chapters for accuracy as well as providing needed insight into the process of researching historical matters (something that comes up in the book as the book’s heroes strive to unravel the mysteries they confront). There are also several other chapters in the book where the history and mythology of the werewolf is discussed. As part of that discussion the ebb and flow to the existence of werewolves and the corresponding human belief in werewolves is juxtaposed with actual historical events. Correspondingly, World War II is set within this book as one of those species defining events created by humans that also impacts the surrounding natural order and thus creates an unintended renaissance in the werewolf’s place within the world.
Question: What first made you interested in werewolves?
Answer: When I was a kid my parents had HBO. One night the The Howling was on and my parents didn’t realize I was watching it (I was about eight or nine at the time). The werewolf scenes absolutely terrified me. I couldn’t sleep for a week, and from then on I was hooked on that werewolf feeling.
Question: Why did you choose Detroit for a setting?
Answer: I am born and raised in southeast Michigan (where Detroit is located). This has granted me a first-hand look at Detroit’s fall from ranking as one of the world’s great industrial cities (if not the greatest industrial city of the twentieth century) to the depths of bankruptcy. Today everybody talks about how downtown Detroit is gentrifying and turning things around. Few talk about how the neighborhoods are still for the most part war zones. This plays into several of Apex Predator’s central themes involving not only inequality, but the place of werewolves in the natural order and their interaction with humanity.
Question: What advise would you have for aspiring authors?
Answer: Have a day job. Just kidding – kinda. The odds of hitting it big as an author are akin to winning the lottery. Writing is something you do because you love it. If you don’t enjoy writing, if you don’t see yourself at an artist or entertainer trying to enrich or enliven other’s lives then don’t waste your time or the readers. In addition strive to be the best writer possible. Read, read, and read some more. Know your genre and know it well. Strive to be original, strive to bring something new to the table. For example, the book The Howling (by Gary Brandner and which inspired the movie loosely based upon it) was groundbreaking when it was published in the mid-1970’s. This it because it broke from the standard convention of that time which was to portray a werewolf as a person plagued with guilt over what they had become and desperate to break their curse. Brandner’s creatures were lusty, murderous creatures reveling in their animalism. Seek to be equally ground-breaking or at least to present a new and creative twist on the work you are building upon in crafting your own.
Question: How do you approach cover design?
Answer: It’s absolutely crucial to the success of a book. Nowadays most people’s first impression of a book is a one inch by one inch thumbnail on the computer screen or their smart phone. If that image isn’t compelling then they often just click on by. Moreover, a professionally done cover signals to the reader your seriousness in providing them with the best reading experience that you can as an author. The cover is a reflection of the author’s work. Anyone serious about publishing a book needs to be equally determined to find a good artist who is willing to work with them to bring their vision to life. I was fortunate enough to stumble across Dean Samed, and he was open-minded enough to listen to my ideas for what I wanted the cover to convey. Together I like to think we did a decent job in creating a cover that signals to the reader this is a werewolf book of the old-school horror variety.
Question: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Answer: I’ve mentioned Gary Brandner (for The Howling). I also loved Whitley Striber’s Wolfen – I cracked it open a couple of years ago for a second go around and it scared me almost as much as when I first read it in the 1980’s. Moreover, Steve Vance’s 1986 book The Hyde Effect is a great read with an almost unbeatable last act that you will not be able to put down. As a hat tip to their influence on me three minor characters in Apex Predator are named after them. In addition, I’ve put in several other Easter eggs for old school horror and pop culture fans that I’ve been told readers are finding amusing without being so ubiquitous as to be distracting. Beyond the three authors I’ve just mentioned I will read anything Stephen King writes, the man is a legend.
Question: What are you working on next?
Answer: The sequel to Apex Predator!
WerewolfBook.com would like to thank S.M. Douglas for taking the time to answer our questions. We congratulate her on the recent launch of her werewolf book Apex Predator. Please visit her website http://smdouglas.com/ and follow her on Social Media below: