So today, as a break from me shilling my own stuff, I invited my friend (and sometimes collaborator) Matt Serafini over to the blog to talk about his new book, Devil’s Row.
Now, I haven’t had a chance to read this far-flung prequel to Feral, but I have read the original and one of the things I like about the book is that Feral draws into focus an idea I’ve had percolating for a good long while: Werewolves and vampires, or whatever supernatural monster McGuffin you want to name, endure in storytelling because of their versatility. In the case of werewolves this is doubly true because they have a much more fluid canon (and internal mythology) than say, the Stoker vampire or the Romero zombie.
In Feral we get the Matt Serafini’s take on werewolves, and it only takes you a chapter or two to realize that these are not members of Lon Chaney Jr.’s pack, nor do they traverse the moors with David Naughton, although they do owe a combined debt to Gary Brandner and Joe Dante, the idea of werewolves come with so much conflicting cultural baggage that a good author can make them his or her own.
Which is good, because I’d like to take a crack at the hairy mothers one day and I want Cesare-wolves to feel different enough.
I hate talking about myself.
I know that probably reads like an attempt to dispel the inbound barrage of vanity blogging, but I swear to you it’s genuine. I’m never more uncomfortable than when I have to talk publicly about my work. But just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean I won’t do it. I did write a new book and I’d like for all of you to read it.
The whole concept of guest posting is kinda new to me, so I suppose I should begin with a few words about myself. I’m Matt Serafini, and Adam was kind enough to invite me over to his blog to say a few words about my new novel, Devil’s Row.
Devil’s Row is a werewolf story. It’s sort of a prequel to my first novel, Feral, although I’m hesitant to dwell very much on that concept. Yes, there’s some connective tissue linking the two, but Devil’s Row is better described as a game of cat and mouse between a werewolf and her hunters, where everyone has more to lose than they think. It’s also a period piece that uses real world historical settings and takes all kinds of liberties with them.
This is probably a good place for the blurb:
They came together for a blood hunt.
Sebastian and Timothy are thief-takers driven by the lure of money, while Garrick is a soldier pursuing malevolent forces that shouldn’t exist. All of them are eager to find the rampaging she-wolf, Elisabeth Luna.
Following her across the Holy Roman Empire and beyond, they clash on a mountaintop high above the Moldavian wilderness. Elisabeth is taken by surprise, mortally wounded and left for dead.
Both predator and prey must navigate a war-torn land where the servants of darkness have staked a claim.
For Elisabeth, it’s about taking revenge on those who’ve opposed her.
For the hunters, it’s racing toward a sanctuary that may already be beyond their reach.
Before FERAL consumed an entire town in lycanthropic fury, werewolves stalked DEVIL’S ROW.
What the hell’s Feral? you might be asking. It was my attempt at a small town horror story. The sort of thing I used to stay up late devouring in the late 80s/early 90s. It was written over a period of about four years, a tragic completion time, sure, but done throughout several job changes, a malfunctioning laptop, and a house purchase/renovation project that spanned several months and took more than a few years off my life.
To this day, it remains the only thing I’ve written that people email me about with any type of frequency. That’s not to suggest I’m constantly flooded with fan mail, but it’s nice to see the occasional “when do we get to find out what happens next?” question land in my inbox.
After my next novel, Under the Blade, was published, I felt compelled to revisit those werewolves. I wasn’t interested in repeating what I’d done before, but I’d invested too much time in bringing that world to life to leave it alone. Of all the character histories I’d written, I think only a fraction of them found their way into the completed novel, and only in the margins, so I knew there was more to say.
To me, Feral was about shifting and disintegrating friendships set in Anytown USA, and Devil’s Row is about as far away from that concept as you can get. I always told myself that if I returned to that universe, each book would have its own identity and feel. I like to think of Devil’s Row as a horror/western…if westerns could take place in Europe in the early 18th century.
Maybe Devil’s Row isn’t cowboys and Indians, but it’s definitely gunfighters, werewolves, and witches. I wanted it to be fast-paced and to stand on its own just as much as it compliments Feral. The main character of Devil’s Row, Elisabeth Luna, appears in both novels, but it doesn’t matter where you meet her. I only hope that you will.
Thanks so much to Adam for having me. And thank you for reading. And for buying all our books, because how could that not be your very next move?