Today we’re speaking with author Wayne Turmel. His newest book, Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disc, is about a Chicago detective who happens to be a werewolf. Wayne’s previous books were non-fiction business guides focusing on leadership and three historical fiction novels, The Count of the Sahara, Acre’s Bastard, and its sequel, Acre’s Orphans.
Wayne used to be a standup comic. He’s very, very funny. There were parts of The Count of the Sahara that made me LOL. The same with Acre’s Bastard and Acre’s Orphans, although they were more serious, taking place as they did in Jerusalem during the Crusades, with bloodshed and all kinds of depravity unfolding around the streetwise young hero.
Wayne lives in Las Vegas, having moved there from Chicago, allegedly to avoid the cold, snowy winters. However we suspect he wanted to be closer to the nonstop action and the free buffets at the casinos.
Q. Is that true? Did you move to Las Vegas so you could gamble and eat oysters at Caesar’s Palace?
A. Caesar’s ain’t my style. I’m more of a local dive-bar casino and race book kind of guy, although any time you can eat oysters is good. My ideal life would be a sea otter—floating on my back and eating seafood off my belly all day.
Q. What, if anything, do you miss about Chicago, where Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disc takes place?
A. I miss everything about Chicago except the weather. My daughter, Her Serene Highness, still lives there, and I still follow the Blackhawks and Cubs. In many ways, what was fun about Johnny Lycan was I got to write about what I love—and what drives me crazy—about a city where I spent eighteen years. I would be there still, but my bride informed me that if I wanted to continue living with her it would be somewhere warmer and sunnier. Oh, and local bookstores like Centuries and Sleuths support local authors.
Q. How did you come up with the idea of a detective who’s a werewolf?
A. I think it began years ago when I read Robert McCammon’s The Wolf’s Hour. Here was a secret agent. Okay, a Russian secret agent. Wait, he’s a Russian secret agent fighting Nazis. Oh, and he’s a werewolf. How freaking cool is that? Werewolves have always been my favorite monster…. Ever since I was 13 and saw Oliver Reed in The Curse of the Werewolf. At that age I could identify with something hairy and vicious hidden inside me and trying to get out.
Then I had the idea for the opening scene of Johnny Lycan. I write almost everything in first person, and I kept imagining what it would be like to have this rage-monster stuck inside you when you’re basically a good, normal dude. Johnny is a typical blue-collar thirty-year old Chicagoan who just has this THING inside him and we get to be in his head as he navigates the world. He thinks his being a werewolf is the weirdest thing there is… and he’s about to find out he’s wrong. The Anubis Disk is actually something I wrote in a short story that was published at Storgy.com. I love taking things I’ve written and melding them together. I’m forming the Johnnyverse, like the Arrowverse only way more obscure and less financially successful.
Q. What appeals to you about detective fiction? What made you decide to switch to that genre after writing historical fiction?
A. I grew up in the late 60s and 70s so it was all cop shows and detectives in my house. Truthfully, this is more of an Urban Fantasy story laid on top of a detective tale. (Book marketing and genres make my head hurt.) I was actually reluctant to tackle this story because so far all my novels have been historical fiction, which has a certain air of class about it. Who wants to hear a 59-year-old man talk about imaginary monsters? I was afraid I’d hurt my author brand, but then I realized I wasn’t selling much anyway, what was I going to offend BOTH of my readers? So, I decided to do it and it’s been so much fun. I’m already starting on the second book.
Q. Wisecracking Philip Marlowe or brooding Sam Spade? Or do you prefer Sherlock Holmes and his pal Dr. John Watson?
A. If I had to pick one, it would be Spade in the Maltese Falcon. If you’re looking for Johnny’s inspiration, though, it’s more like Spenser for Hire… a blue collar mook who is a little rough around the edges.
Q. What scene gave you the most trouble in Johnny Lycan?
A. Oh, Lord, it was the sex scene. Yes, not only is it werewolves, but he has a rather energetic romp with an older woman. One of the people I asked to blurb my book said he wouldn’t do it because the sex scene was too much for him and I thought, “dang I must have written the snot out of that scene.” You get told to write what you know…. But I wrote it anyway.
Q. Without giving away the ending, what did you enjoy most about writing Johnny Lycan?
A. I got to take my filters off. In my business writing, I have to be a grown up. In my historical novels, I’m restrained by the genre and the language and way people acted in a certain time. This is 2020 Chicago and I can be as unfiltered as I want. There are a couple of jokes I’m either ashamed or proud of, depending on who’s reading them. Plus I got to write about werewolves!
Thank you, Wayne, and good luck with Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disc. Here’s the link to buy it from Amazon in Kindle or paperback format:
Here’s the link to purchase it from Black Rose Writing, and to check out all the other great books available:
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