AF: So Mari, I have to admit that as much as I adore paranormal romances I've yet to read one about werewolves. What made you decide to choose them for subject matter?
MH: I like the idea of two beings trapped in one: a regular human and an uncontrollable beast. I find werewolves one of the scariest creatures in folklore, and Werewolf Nights deals with confronting the fear of not knowing in what direction our decisions will take us. My protagonist Catherine Mercy will only know what happens next, once she moves forward and away from her stagnant life. She must confront the werewolf to overcome her fears and find true love.
Also, werewolves serve as a great metaphor for writing. During that full moon when the muses operate, things begin to happen. And like the werewolf, the writer cannot always control this transformation.
AF: How did you decide what myths and legends you wanted to focus the book around?
MH: I researched a lot of Medieval European werewolf legends. To create a myth as powerful and enduring as lycanthropy, it took whole communities to conspire to accuse others, spread rumors, and believe in its existence. That’s how I came up with Wereville, which claims to have been founded by werewolves. In a communal setting, the presence of a mysterious friend or foe becomes more exciting, as people can bond while discussing their first-hand experiences and wisdom on the matter.
In social media, many begin to connect with others by discussing their favorite books, TV shows, and movies. We come together through the mythologies of our modern world.
AF: So it's no secret, even from the cover of the book, that Catherine is a baker. Where did that come from? Are you yourself a baker?
MH: I’m not a baker, but most people have celebrated a life event with a cake or a pie. The preparation of a cake usually announces a milestone or special event. In this case, the Festival of the Wolf comes to Wereville bringing the menace and excitement of werewolves appearing into the scene. Catherine Mercy’s Full Moon Bakery draws people in for a sugary bite, as they await a drastic change to their routine.
AF: How did you come to the decision to bring Hollywood into the mix as opposed to just the local area?
Werewolves and other monsters help define the human by deforming its traits. In a similar manner, the juxtaposition of a glamorous, rich, and influential circle into the financially struggling, unassuming, and for the most part uneventful Wereville helps elucidate Werevilleans’ strengths, beliefs, and stereotypes. Ironically and in spite of an acute rivalry between the two cultures, they have more to gain from each other than they would admit.
AF: What's next for you?
MH: Currently, I’m working on a romantic comedy that addresses the changes of our dating culture during the last six or seven years, when we’ve been hit by an economic recession and a social media revolution. And the sequel of Werewolf Nights is in the making. Perhaps a vampire from the East Coast will pay Werevilleans a visit. Stay tuned…
And thank you Ashley for a wonderful interview!
AF: You’re quite welcome Mari. Let me know when you have something new out because I’d love to read/review it!