Their leap of faith could unleash magic—or plunge them into darkness.
Henry Thorn has worked at Larkin’s since graduating high school. He likes it—especially when he can use his secret skill of hiding inside shadows so his boss can’t find them. Without that talent, he would never had survived growing up different.
When a hire enters the store, Henry’s other latent talent kicks in. He can smell an emotional response even before he lays eyes on the redhead.
Jamey Currey came out, and his conservative parents promptly kicked him out. He, too, is different—he senses Henry’s attraction the moment they met. The first time they kiss, torrential rains fall from skies split by lightning.
Their kiss also awakens the Watchers, diabolical hunters who will stop at nothing—even extermination—to keep magic suppressed. With the help of a friendly coven of friendly witches, the boys embark on a quest to discover an ancient key to restoring magic to the world, and to understand mysteries of their own hearts.
The question is, will this quest cost them their lives?
Release Date: Wednesday, August 26 2020
Publisher: JMS Books
Cover Artist: JMS Books
Genres: gay paranormal romance, gay fantasy, fantasy, quest, adventure
LGBTQ+ Identities: gay
Tropes: Outsiders, Magic always has a price, Hero(es) and the Quest, Good v. Evil, Boy gets boy, boy loses boy, boys get back together, hidden bad guys manipulate society behind the scenes
Keywords/Categories: gay werewolves, devils and demons, old gods, monsters, old gods, witches, gay, gay romance, paranormal, paranormal romance, fantasy, mm romance
This book was originally published in 2016, using the current title, The Werewolf and His Boy. This second edition had minor revisions.
How did I choose the subject of werewolves for this novel?
Initially, the inspiration for this novel, and its subject matter, came from a dream, but not mine. My boyfriend-now-husband was making some changes in his new townhouse. He was going to Lowe’s all the time. He dreamed of a monster lurking in the rafters in the store’s high ceilings. This monster would only come down at night. He told me his dream and that monster became a werewolf when I wrote “Lowe’s Wolf” (Icarus Spring 2010 issue). The story then grew into the novel.
I find werewolves fascinating and have enjoyed their various television and cinematic versions, most of which presented the werewolf as a bloodthirsty monster between man and beast. They were that secret, or not-so-secret beast that lurks in all of us. Humans, it seems, are far closer to the savage and the bestial than we would like to admit. I found the werewolves in True Blood more interesting and engaging: they were wolves and they were people. But I think it is more interesting if one always influences the other.
In the story, the wolf is Harold, sometimes Harry, and he’s gay. He’s in the closet because it is safer—and in the beginning he doesn’t know he is a werewolf as he is one of those not bound to the full moon. His mother suppressed this knowledge so he could pass as normal.
I thought Harold was a name too stereotypically nerdy, so in the novel, he becomes Henry. Harold worked at Lowe’s, Henry, at Larkin’s. Harold/Henry meet Jamey at work.
Jamey has the Sight and is descendant of the old gods, which gives him some extraordinary talents. He, too, has to learn who and what he is. They also must learn what it means to love another person so much that they would put themselves between the other and harm. Turning the short story into a novel led me, to my surprise into an alternate reality of suppressed knowledge and restricted access to information and technology. I found myself learning even more about my two heroes and their companions along the way, as they found themselves on a quest and fighting evil. I didn’t know until I expanded the story that the old gods had made werewolves and other similar creatures as Pets. To protect, the Watchers were left, to suppress any magical expression that might expose the Pets to human cruelty,
Sometimes I don’t discover my goals and intentions until I reach the end and look back to discover just what story I was really telling. Be that as it may, I set out to write a gay love story about two young men who are outsiders. Henry is an orphan, and not the best of students, but then he spent most of high school hiding. Both parents rejected him. Henry has strange dreams. He can literally hide in shadows. Jamey has been thrown out of his house, rejected by both his very conservative religious parents. He remembers being able to fly.
In the context of their relationship I want to explore the intersections of the magical and the mundane, of good and evil. I would argue that these intersections, these juxtapositions, are part of the human condition, the human experience.
What is something the reader doesn’t know about Henry and Jamey? I think the reader still needs to learn—and perhaps will in some yet-to-be-written sequel—that while Henry is quiet and shy, he still has acquired more strength of character and soul than expected. As for Jamey, the reader doesn’t see his true strength until the end, when he defies his mother. They both are only beginning to believe in themselves.
I had little to do with the cover of this novel. I had to describe the main characters and list important items and things associated with them, such as a raven, and a key. For the most part, I was satisfied with the cover. But the cover-Henry was far too clean cut for a boy who is on the fringes of society and needs to go running in the woods as a wolf. I wanted him to look scruffier and his hair to look closer to fur. The new JMS Books cover I like a lot more: it’s sexier.
What might my characters say about working for me? Henry and Jamey would probably say looking for me is not a bad gig—I mean, they did get to the British Museum in London and Tintagel in Cornwall. But I think they want me to know them better. What would they say about their core motivation? I think they would talk about what they did—fighting the evil Watchers, saving the world—as being a personal act of love for each other. I think both want to know more about what it means to a werewolf, a godling. I think they both want to know more about how to love each other—even in the face of evil and discord.
I want them to be happy with who and what they are and the end, be together and in love, and have a hopeful future.
Right now, I am working on what feels like two novellas. One is the continuation of “The Boy on McGee Street” (forthcoming in my collection, The Wicked Stepbrother and Other Stories, and first published in Queer Fish 2, Pink Narcissus Press, 2012). I wanted to know what happened to Fletcher and Sam next. The other novella is a sequel to my first novel, The Wild Boy, and takes place one hundred years later, as humanity recovering from the Long Nightmare of the Lindauzi conquest. When can you expect these novellas? Next year, I hope. I also want to revisit a novel I have rewritten a few times, The Golden Boy, set in alternate history, in the world of the Columbian Empire.
Jamey screamed. Henry's heart turned over.
Dr. Melloy grabbed a long, carved oaken staff from a corner and stood very still for a moment. "My books, almost all my books, are in this house, and some of these are my mother's, my grandmother's," she whispered, clearly in pain. "Let's go," she said, sighing heavily as she threw the heavy zipped bag over her shoulder and ran for the door. Henry hugged his duffel and blanket to his chest and ran after her. He wanted to tell her thank you, thank you, for saving him and Jamey, and that she was one of the coolest -- no, the coolest person he had ever met. She had been so nice to him ever since he had moved in and he wasn't sure he really knew why. I'll thank her. When things calm down I will definitely thank her.
Up the stairs, down the hall, in and out of pools of light from this lamp, the other, the overhead, the front door, and down and Jamey stood holding onto the car door.
They looked up.
No stars. No moon. Shadows, winged, darker and blacker than any shadows around them. The lead one keened, high and sharp.
"Watchers," Dr. Melloy said. Behind the creatures were the beginnings of a storm. Lightning snapped and forked, striking the professor's house and setting the roof ablaze. Fire came down the roof, down the gutter pipes, the brick wall, over the windows, into the bushes growing against the house and into the pine-straw-covered yard that crackled, snapped, into flame.
"Jamey, Henry, get behind me, now," Dr. Melloy shouted as the Watchers hovered just above the thicket of cedars that screened the house from the street. They screeched and keened, throwing themselves against some invisible wall between them and the witch and the two naked boys.
Jamey hooked one arm around Henry's neck, and then he hopped as Henry half-carried him to stand behind the witch. Thunder, loud, close. Lighting struck the house again. Muttering, Dr. Melloy thrust her staff upward and light poured out of it as she threw out a fine, gauzy, sparkling net that spread out and over and above them, shimmering against the darkness. Something shattered, and grey and white chunks of dying light fell into the cedars and the gravel and hard earth of the driveway.
"Dammit! They broke the first ring of wards!" Dr. Melloy yelled over what now seemed like constant thunder and the roar of the fire. The wind tore at the flames, throwing bits and pieces into the air and the now-burning cedars. Flames and heat pushed against the net that glowed between them and the burning house and yard and trees.
"What are we going to do? Henry? Where'd he go?" Jamey yelled back, then stopped. Henry squeezed the arm around his neck with one hand, Jamey's waist with the other. Henry seemed to be flickering in and out of sight, the way he had done in Larkin's. Jamey could see the flames through Henry.
Henry looked at his hands, his feet: they were invisible. He shuddered, flickered on and off. "We wait just a few minutes more -- oh, werewolves do that -- camouflage, on and off. Henry, try to calm down."
"Wait?" Henry said, his voice trembling. He could feel and smell Jamey's fear and his own fear. Calm down?
"There are two more rings of wards and this shield-net, and all three have to be breached for those Watchers to get to us. We just have to hold on for a few more minutes. If only the moon were full," she added. "I'd have a lot more power to draw on. Can't be helped."
Something shattered. Chunks of light, this time, gold, fell again. A third shattering followed right behind the second, green chunks of light. Thunder. Lightning. Wind, bits of fire in the air, fire engulfing the house, the trees.
"Get right behind me. Get close."
The Watchers were right on the other side of the shield-net. They pushed, keened, ripped. The shield quivered. Bits fell.
A siren, another, and then another. The Watchers screamed.
"Finally," Dr. Melloy muttered.
"The fire department can stop these things?" Henry asked as he helped Jamey get as close to her as they could, their bodies bumping against hers.
"Watchers fear disclosure more than anything. Nothing attracts attention like a fire truck. And it looks like everybody in the neighborhood is out in the street. They could ignore the first few, but not this mob."
More thunder. The sirens were getting closer. The heat of the burning house and trees pressed against the shield-net. Sweat dripped down Henry's face, his back. His eyes burned from the salt, even as he tried to wipe it away with his free hand. With his other hand he held on tight to Jamey. Henry could feel Jamey's sweat on his bare skin; he knew if he licked Jamey's skin, he would taste salt. The Watchers charged against the net, and ripped, their claws caught in its shimmer and sparkle, frantic to beat the coming fire trucks.
"Get in the car. They're almost here."
Henry shoved Jamey into the backseat and crawled in after him and jerked the door closed. Dr. Melloy threw out one last layer of net, this time over the car, and slammed her door closed just as the sirens slowed down. Heavy tires crunched on gravel. He heard water hit fire as one truck started with the burning trees. With the Watchers screaming in the air above them, Dr. Melloy stepped on the gas, barreled down the driveway, hung a left onto Three Chopt, and drove through the crowd. Then she really floored it.
Warren is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour
Warren Rochelle lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, and has just retired from teaching English at the University of Mary Washington.
His short fiction and poetry have been published in such journals and anthologies as Icarus, North Carolina Literary Review, Forbidden Lines, Aboriginal Science Fiction, Collective Fallout, Queer Fish 2, Empty Oaks, Quantum Fairy Tales, Migration, The Silver Gryphon, Jaelle Her Book, Colonnades, and Graffiti, as well as the Asheville Poetry Review, GW Magazine, Crucible, The Charlotte Poetry Review, and Romance and Beyond.
His short story, “The Golden Boy,” was a finalist for the 2004 Spectrum Award for Short Fiction. His short story “Mirrors,” was just published in Under A Green Rose, a queering romance anthology, from Cuil Press. “The Latest Thing,” a flash fiction story, is in the Queer Sci Fi anthology, Innovation.
Rochelle is also the author of four novels: The Wild Boy (2001), Harvest of Changelings (2007), and The Called (2010), all published by Golden Gryphon Press, and The Werewolf and His Boy, published by Samhain Publishing in September 2016. The Werewolf and His Boy was re-released from JMS Books in August 2020. The Wicked Stepbrother and Other Stories is forthcoming from JMS Books in late September 2020.
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