Reader’s Guide – Journal of a Lycanthrophile
Book One, The Scattered Dark Series
My primary inspiration for writing this book was to push my own boundaries in writing more realistic paranormal fantasy, specifically a more primal supernatural experience. My intention for Lycanthrophile was to provoke squick yet remain poignantly gritty, without the romanticized tropes of paranormal erotica that are currently popular.
Why, in our culture, do we have to make Shadow pretty? We acknowledge it, yet we make it a stud, or a vixen, or sparkly. Shifters in The Scattered Dark Series are more animal than we have become accustomed. They tap into territorial, baser instincts, which only seem dark because we don’t expect them from someone we choose to identify as human. If a human shifts into an animal, and by doing so acquires heightened animalistic skills, desires, and senses, wouldn’t those attributes be reflected in more than a change in appearance and a yearning to kill, to feed? I think so, and in Lycanthrophile I’m going for the full picture.
Western culture is okay with gore and killing, but not so much sexuality and sensuality, even when darkened by violence. I wanted to weave those elements into a more full picture of a shifter than we readily see, though in an intense reversal of roles. While these shifters are emotionally human and instinctively animal, a breed of humans is introduced who not only understands these shifters, but celebrates and craves them.
Themes touched on in this series include:
- Coping with a legacy of broken traditions—being intuitively called to something you have no framework for how to grow into
- Screwing up the forging of new traditions to caretake old, if not timeless, needs
- Questioning whether animals consent to sex, and that imagined consent makes a sex act acceptable
- Envisioning role reversal in the predator/prey dynamic
- Coming out of the haze of adolescence, to vividly realize screwups that pace of the rest of life
- The idea of trafficking another species came from the King County, Washington, farm case, in which animals were trafficked for sex. That is real. Any commentary in the story around the farm is purely fictional, however.
- The documentary that is referenced is Zoo, which chronicles the life and unusual death of Kenneth Pinyan at the aforementioned farm, and questions the emotional and sexual desensitization of modern thrillseeking enthusiasts.
- The United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is real, as are the Federal Animal Welfare Act, and the creation of the Class C Felony based on this case in Washington state.
- Although I’m not certain of this, original reports on the Pinyan case stated that his stallion was gelded as a result of the activities of the farm. Later reports omitted that information.
- Suspension is an old art form and transpersonal exercise, akin to the Apache Sun Dance. The endorphins released induce trance and a lightened state of being. Many who routinely do suspension use it as a trauma relieving technique. I hold it in high respect, despite that my unnamed antagonists do not.
- What’s with the water sports? Like I said, that primal bit keeps the shapeshifting in check. I mostly wanted to write something that flies in the face of most submission guidelines. Sorry my bonus tidbit isn’t more seedy, but almost all publishers–even of erotica–refuse to touch golden showers. I find that interesting, as when you consider other sexual practices and kinks that were once not acknowledged for publication, among them you have anal sex, oral sex, homosexuality, BDSM… all of which sell tons of books, now.
- While we’re at it, what’s with the quasi-beastiality? Again, I wanted my shifters to be more animal than human, with all the seedy details the wolf form and habit entails, yet I didn’t want to venture completely into zoophile territory because the component of fantasy would be lost.
- The swinging lights phobia is an homage to one of my own. I’ve never heard of anyone else having that particular phobia, but I’ve had it since adolescence. Just. don’t.
- Jesse’s remarks about his hastiness to act pushing the traffickers further underground came out of an experience years ago when Live Journal banned accounts that contained artwork or writing depicting underage sex. While their intentions may have been good, their actions only made people causing real harm harder to track. That kind of short-sighted “help” for victim of crime stuck with me.
- In the end Jesse is a misguided romantic. He has the best intentions, though is still pining after his lost first love, at the risk of losing himself and any love that comes after.