Author: Travis Heerman
Description: When three younger boys show up on the doorstep of Mia's everyday suburban existence, naked and on the run, she is drawn into a shadow world where a series of strange disappearances heralds a slowly spreading plague of bioengineered lycanthropy. Mia must save the three orphaned boys from their brutal Alpha, a man-beast who believes normal humans are food.
A war is brewing for the top of the food chain. Mia doesn’t know it yet, but she holds the key to the future of the human race.
I was contacted by Travis Heermann, the author of a recently released YA paranormal novel called The Wild Boys. However, due to my schedule, I was unable to review it. I decided that an interview would be best, especially since I haven't done one in awhile!
If you would like to know more about Travis, The Wild Boys, or his other novels, you can check out his website here: www.travisheermann.com
1. What inspired you to write The Wild Boys?
The initial idea came from a dream that my wife at the time had about encountering three young boys on a bicycle path. There were terrified, on the run, and while they looked normal, somehow she knew they were werewolves. We discussed the dream, and then she told me, "You need to write this story." I agreed with her. So over the next year or so, concurrent with other projects, I developed the story further, along with the main character, Mia.
2. What distinguishes The Wild Boys from other young adult novels based around werewolves?
This book treats lycanthropy as a science-based disease, a virus, rather than a mystical curse. The problem with diseases is that they can spread. In genre fiction and movies, we've seen the Zombie Apocalypse over and over, but what about a werewolf apocalypse. I started asked "what if?" questions. What if this plague spread out of control and turned an increasing percentage of the human population into werewolves? What would happen to society? How far could this go?
3. Describe what your progress is like when writing a new novel.
I've written eight novels so far, four of which have been published with the fifth coming out this summer. I can't say definitively what my process is like because so far it's been different every time. My most recently completed novel is a horror-western, which came about as an adaptation of a screenplay I wrote with my friend Jim Pinto. Fleshing out a screenplay into a full-fledged novel required a lot of research, but the research led to some inspirations that really added depth to the original story. In the case of The Wild Boys, there were at least five drafts, mainly because Mia's character kept evolving, and I would go back through the manuscript and add more depth to her character, which created some interesting resonances within the story.
In the case of Rogues of the Black Fury, my swashbuckling fantasy novel that came out last year, the main character stormed out of my subconscious and said, "Write about me, you #*&^@!" So I developed a story around that character.
4. Do you have any authors you look up to that inspire you to write?
Absolutely, but there are many. Shakespeare is a tremendous inspiration. If I could write dialogue half that good, with characters that still resonate after 400 years, I would never have to worry about a paycheck. As for contemporary writers, Stephen King was one of my early inspirations. And along the way, other writers have set me on fire, most importantly Ray Bradbury, whose novel Fahrenheit 451 changed my life. I am a walking example of how books can change people's lives. The writer I most want to emulate, someone I look up to, is Joe R. Lansdale. From an artistic standpoint, his stories and books are often like a punch in the gut, and nobody writes redneck stupidity and rural darkness with a sharper eye for truth and detail. From a professional standpoint, I admire Lansdale because he has not allowed himself to be pigeon-holed, and he makes a living writing what he wants, short stories, novels, comics, and screenplays. His work often bends and mashes up genres so he's difficult to pin down.
5. Are you currently working on a new novel? If so, what is it going to be about?
Right now, I am between novels. The project I finished most recently is the second book in my historical fantasy Ronin Trilogy, which will be coming out in June. I'm going to spend a few months concentrating on short fiction, but after that I have a number of directions I could go with novels. A Wild Boys sequel perhaps, the final volume of the Ronin Trilogy, or a hard sci-fi novel I've been percolating for about a year.