Interview: Andrew J. Peters, Author of “Werecat: The Rearing”

WerecatTheRearingCover2Description: For Jacks Dowd, a college senior who feels ungrounded from his family and life in general, an alcohol and sex-infused weekend in Montréal sounds like a pretty good escape. His Spring Break binge takes a detour when he meets Benoit, an admiring drifter with startling green eyes. A hook-up turns into a day, two days, and then a full week in Benoit’s hostel, making love and scarfing down take-out food. But at the end of the week, Benoit demands that Jacks make an impossible choice: stay with him forever or never see him again.

The night before Jacks is supposed to return to college, he meets Benoit in Mont Royal Park to try to work things out. Benoit springs on Jacks an unfathomable secret: he’s a werecat. He traps Jacks in an abandoned cabin and performs an occult rite so they will be mated forever.

With his dual nature, Jacks can shape-shift at will, and he has amazing new senses and physical abilities. But how will he live as an unfathomable hybrid creature? When Benoit shows Jacks the violence he’s capable of, Jacks may need to find a way to destroy the one person who can help him survive.

“Werecat: The Rearing” is the first book in a paranormal romance series published by Vagabondage Press.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

 

What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?

I write mainly fantasy and some young adult and contemporary fiction. First and foremost, I write to entertain. For me, fantasy is the best outlet for that. Fighting for social justice is also a big part of who I am, and it comes up in my writing. I worked for eighteen years as an advocate and social worker for LGBT youth. So I think I’m drawn to fantasy because it gives me the opportunity to show the world the way it “ought” to be. One aspect of that is reclaiming traditional stories, or myths and legends, for LGBT audiences.

In “Werecat,” I wanted to tell a dark story in the vampire/werewolf vein that centered on a gay man’s journey through danger and romance. Homoeroticism is touched on a lot in that genre. But as a gay reader, I tend to find the mainstream portrayals unsatisfying to the extent that essentially they’re about non-gay people navigating a terrifying and erotic world, with some minor queer characters or dalliances thrown in. I like my stories with queer characters front-and-center. That doesn’t mean that I treat them with kit gloves, but they’re usually the heroes driving my stories.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I was a shy, introverted kid so writing came pretty naturally to me as an escape. When I was in sixth grade, my elementary school principal let me read from a murder mystery I wrote, using the school’s P.A. system during lunchtime. I don’t even know if they use P.A. systems in American schools anymore; it stands for public address, and every classroom used to have speakers for listening to the principal read off the cafeteria’s lunch specials at the start of the day. Anyway, I didn’t actually take up writing professional until my 30s, since it didn’t seem to be a practical career, but it’s always been part of who I am.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Gregory Maguire is my all-time favorite author. I especially loved his Wicked series. There’s a lot that I admire about his work – the incredible settings he creates, the humor, the flawed, embattled characters that I find so endearing.

More broadly, I’m drawn to the idea of retelling stories from an unexpected point of view, whether that’s vindicating a character who has previously been portrayed as a villain or taking a familiar story from a minor character’s perspective. I think Maguire’s books are really appealing for those of us who have felt like outsiders and didn’t see our experience of living in the world reflected in traditional fairytales or legends.

Where are you from originally?

I grew up in Amherst, New York, which is a suburb of Buffalo.

Do you listen to music or have another form of inspiration when you are writing?

I actually need complete silence when I’m deeply involved in writing a story. But when I take a break or I’m getting warmed up to write, I sometimes listen to an epically dramatic movie-musical soundtrack like Phantom of the Opera or Les Misérables.

 

What was the most uplifting moment you’ve experienced during your writing career?

In 2011, I was accepted as a Lambda Literary Foundation Fellow and participated in LLF’s annual LGBT writers retreat. Being immersed in a community of talented, outspoken queer writers and poets was hugely inspirational. I talk about it in the Acknowledgements of each of my books. The LLF retreat   bolstered my belief that queer stories, in their infinite varieties, are the beautiful, subversive stuff that dreams are made of.  

What can readers look forward to in the upcoming months?

My début novel “The Seventh Pleiade” comes out in November from Bold Strokes Books. It’s the story of a young gay prince who becomes a hero during the last days of Atlantis. The book is the launching point for a series of adventures based on that legend.

I also have Books 2 and 3 of “Werecat” coming out in 2014.

 

What was your first published work and when was it published?

My short story “The Vain Prince” was picked up in 2009 by a great, gay American journal called Ganymede that sadly went out of print when its editor John Stahle died. “The Vain Prince” is a retold fairytale that’s sort of a mash-up of “The Frog Prince” and “Beauty and the Beast.” I’m incredibly grateful to John Stahle for giving me the break that helped launch my career.

 

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

I tend to believe that all characters are an extension of the author. So while I veer away from memoir, there’s a bit of me, and the people from my day-to-day life, in the stories I write, even if those characters transform into cats or live in ancient places or whatever.

In “Werecat,” I think my main character Jacks is a somewhat jagged reflection of me as a college student. Jacks is more impulsive and self-destructive than I was, but we both wanted the same things: to find a place to belong and to fall in love. What’s real for him was more a fantasy for me. I never ran away with an older man to escape from the world. But the fantasy of finding someone who would provide me with emotional safety when I was confronted by—what felt like—a frighteningly uncertain future, was definitely appealing.

 

Where do you get your daily dose of news?

For better or for worse, I find myself informed the most by Twitter. That’s skewed information for sure based on who I follow. But if there’s national or world news coverage from a leftist bent or breaking stories regarding LGBT entertainment or politics, I’m in the know pretty promptly.

Author Profile

andrewjpeters

Andrew J. Peters likes retold stories with a subversive twist. He is the author of the paranormal romance series “Werecat” (Vagabondage Books, May 28, 2013). His début novel “The Seventh Pleiade” (upcoming in November 2013 from Bold Strokes Books) is the story of a young gay prince who becomes a hero during the last days of Atlantis. A 2011 Lambda Literary Foundation Fellow, Andrew has written short stories for many publications. He lives in New York City with his partner and their cat Chloë. For more information, visit: http://andrewjpeterswrites.com.

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Filed under Books, Fantasy, Gay Fiction, Gay Romance, M/M Fiction, Romance, Writers and Writing

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