Why Werewolves?

This post is a recap of my guestblog for the Full Moon of Werewolves at Lori Devoti’s blog.

My Harlequin Spice December 2009 release, Moonlight Mistress, is an erotic novel set during the early days of World War One. It also happens to feature two werewolf characters, one male and one female.

The werewolves aren’t the main characters; their presence generates plot because an evil scientist tortures them with his experiments. It’s the human characters who rescue them and send them off to what I hope will be another story, their own story.

So why have werewolves at all? It’s not as if World War One doesn’t provide enough plot all on its own. However, I realized pretty quickly that World War One is not the most ideal setting for an erotic romp.

World War One supplies plenty of conflict, but it all revolves around soldiers, refugees, the wounded, and the dead. Despite my deep interest in reading about the war, I didn’t want this book to be grimly realistic. There are plenty of memoirs and other works of nonfiction where those details can be found. I chose to use enough details to give the reader an idea of the time period, but not so many as to give them nightmares.

Adding a werewolf plot meant I could inject a little fantasy, to let the reader rest from the unrelenting horror of war. The werewolf element could open the door for further thoughts of fantasy, thoughts of erotic fantasy. Not only are werewolves fantastical, they can be sexy, too.

It was a tricky balance of realism and fantasy. Too much realism, and the book isn’t fun anymore. Too much fantasy, and the book loses plot tension. I balanced the two elements by giving my werewolves realistic characterization.

One werewolf is a soldier, the other serves as a spy. Their werewolf attributes are more science fictional than fantastic. I didn’t want to travel too far from a “realistic” or “mimetic” approach, so I decided their transformations would not be linked only to the full moon, and that the full moon would not force a change. I also decided that being a werewolf was hereditary, and though interbreeding with humans was possible, the trait rarely passed down in its entirety. I didn’t go into the actual mechanics of transformation, but described it as a physical process rather than a magical one. I wanted the werewolves to seem as if they belonged, as if they, too, were part of the historical setting.

I hope it worked! You can find out in December of 2009.

Related post:

Of Wolves and Men.

Published by Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen’s writing showcases her voracious lifelong love of books. She reads over 120 new books each year, especially historical romance, fantasy, and space opera, and incorporates these genres into her erotic fiction. Her first erotic novel, The Duchess, Her Maid, The Groom and Their Lover (Harlequin Spice, December 2008), was translated into French and German. Her second Spice novel, The Moonlight Mistress (December 2009), was translated into Italian and nominated for a RT Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her third novel is The Duke & The Pirate Queen (December 2010). She has also published erotic short stories as Elspeth Potter. When not writing, Victoria conducts research in libraries and graveyards, lectures about writing and selling erotica, and speaks at literary conventions on topics such as paranormal romance, urban fantasy, erotic science fiction/fantasy, and the empowerment of women through unconventional means. Her daily writing blog features professional writing and marketing tips, genre discussion, book reviews, and author interviews. She also guest blogs for Heroes & Heartbreakers and The Criminal Element. She lives in Philadelphia.

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