So, today, #SPNFamily woke up to loads of tweets and announcements from the likes of Eric Kripke, Jared Padalecki and Theo Devaney, telling us this awesome news;
Yes, hit show Supernatural has been renewed for Season 15.
So, in my month dedicated to the show, I interview regular Supernatural author Tim Waggoner, ahead of his latest media tie-in #SPN novel #ChildrenofAnubis
TD: Firstly, tell me a bit about yourself please
TW: I’ve published over forty novels and five collections of short stories. I write original dark fantasy and horror, as well as media tie-ins, and my articles on writing have appeared in numerous publications. I’ve won the Bram Stoker Award, the HWA’s Mentor of the Year Award, been a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award and the Scribe Award, my fiction has received numerous Honorable Mentions in volumes of Best Horror of the Year, and I’ve had three stories selected for inclusion in volumes of Year’s Best Hardcore Horror. I’m also a full-time tenured professor who teaches creative writing and composition at Sinclair College in Dayton, Ohio. Now, the main reason I wanted to talk to you of course, is that I’m a huge fan of the TV show Supernatural – and you have worked hard to get quite a few books out there in the SPN World – in fact your forthcoming SPN book next Feb is ‘Children of Anubis’. What are you allowed to tell us about this book? In Children of Anubis, Sam and Dean travel to Indiana to investigate a murder that could be the work of a werewolf. But they soon discover that werewolves aren’t the only things going bump in the night. The town is also home to a pack of jakkals who worship the god Anubis: carrion-eating scavengers who hate werewolves. With the help of Garth, the Winchester brothers must stop the werewolf-jakkal turf war before it engulfs the town – and before the god Anubis is awakened…
TD: OMG Garth! That’s amazing – he’s a fan favourite.
How much research do you have to do in order to write a book like the Men of Letters Bestiary?
TW: I’ve been a fan of the show since it premiered, but that doesn’t mean I remember every little detail of the series. Fan wikis were invaluable resources for me when I was writing The Men of Letters Bestiary. Even though the book was written in Sam and Dean’s voices, and I was allowed to have the brothers theorize about the various entities they’ve encountered (which meant I could make some stuff up), it was important to get the information correct.
TD: If you were stuck in an apocalypse world – any kind – and you had to choose between Sam or Dean, who would you get to help you survive?
TW: It’s a hard choice. Dean spent his time in Purgatory fighting constant battles with the monsters who inhabit that realm, and I think that experience would make him more suited to dealing with a violent apocalypse scenario. But in terms of day-to-day survival – finding shelter and supplies, etc. – Sam would probably be better because he’s such a planner. So I guess it depends on what kind of apocalypse we were faced with.
TD (courtesy of Gavin Kendall at www.kendallreviews.co.uk
Recently you released The Mouth Of The Dark via Flame Tree Press. It’s been received very positively. Congratulations. Do you find you have to rein yourself in for the SPN universe as there are some pretty far out (and deliciously disgusting) things going on in that book?
TW: Whenever I write a tie-in book, regardless of what movie or series setting it takes place in, I do my best to capture the tone and feel of the original property. The SPN universe is less graphically violent than some, and I try to reflect that in my stories of Sam and Dean. I don’t feel restrained when I write tie-ins because I have a different mindset going in than I do when I write my own horror. That said, Children of Anubis is has a higher level of violence than other Supernatural books I’ve written, but since it features a family of vicious werewolves, that’s only appropriate.
TD: Are there any ‘no go areas’ from the powers that be ie the SPN Estate?
TW: They prefer that tie-in writers avoid using the larger season arcs as material for our stories. They prefer the tie-in fiction be more self-contained and, when all is said and done, it shouldn’t make any significant changes or additions to the show’s lore. After all, the show is the only official Supernatural canon. Sometimes they’ll tell the writers to avoid using certain characters or concepts because they’re going to be coming up in the show before long. When I wrote Carved in Flesh, I was told not to use Bobbie Singer in any way, shape, or form because he would be returning to the show soon. Little did I know it was going to be in ghost form!
TD/GK: As successful as SPN is, the return to the ‘Gods & angels’ storyline has caused a bit of a stir amongst some community members. Do you find the return to pre-existing lore frustrating as a creator. Gavin Kendall said “ I for one miss the ‘monster of the week’ stories that SPN did incredibly well.” Which is your favourite ever episode?
TD: It doesn’t bother me when the show returns to characters and lore that have been used before. It makes the show feel more real because these elements do return, just like people and situations can recur in our own lives. That said, I’m not as fond of the long season arcs as I am the monster-of-the-week stories. I enjoy seeing the brothers go up against different threats, as opposed to having to watch several episodes in a row where they must deal with Angels or Leviathans or Lucifer or whatever. Plus, since the Supernatural novels are monster-of-the-week stories, those kind of episodes are good inspiration for us writers! I don’t know if I can choose a favorite episode. The more metafictional episodes – “The French Mistake,” “The Real Ghostbusters,” and “Fan Fiction” – are a lot of fun. They bring out the show’s humorous side really well.
TD: Ha ha those are some of my favourites too. I love the scene with with Jared artwork on the horse plus the “you married fake Ruby!” comment from Dean. Plus, Fan fiction really goes out there giving kudos to the fans whilst joking about elements of fan fic. The fact Sam is more concerned with the language when it comes to ‘Destiel’ is hilarious. Love that episode. Now, we’re coming up to Stoker Award recommendation period. Personally I believe this award is vital to the horror industry. You yourself won the long fiction award for ‘The Winter Box’. Why do you think these awards are so important – not just the awards but the whole recommendation process?
TW: The whole idea of the Stokers and the nominating process is to celebrate work that’s currently being produced in the genre and make both the membership of the HWA and the public in general more aware of that work. The nominees and winners are mentioned in various media, which helps get the word out about horror of course, but the nominating process gets members thinking about what they consider superior achievement in horror, and they get a chance to see what other people recommend. No award process is perfect, and there’s no such thing as “the best.” Art’s too subjective. In the end, all a literary award really means is a particular group of people decided to recognize a particular work at a particular point time. But when your peers – people who know what makes good horror writing – tell you you’re doing good work, it’s extremely validating.
TD: You are well known for supporting young or new writers. What essential three pieces of advice would you give to horror writers looking to move forward in the genre? Tim answered below:
Give readers characters they care about. Horror stories aren’t about the monster. They’re about how people react to the monster. (Or in some cases, react to becoming monsters.) If readers care about your characters, if they empathize with them, then the threats these characters face will be meaningful to readers. If your characters are the equivalent of video game avatars with no personality, the threats they face will be meaningless to readers.
Avoid clichés. Horror is about the unknown, and once a specific type of character, threat, or story structure becomes too familiar, it loses its power to engage and affect readers – especially in horror. It’s important to not only write a good story, but one that pushes you as a writer and (hopefully) stretches readers’ view of what horror is and what it can do.
One of the most common pieces of advice new writers hear is “Write what you know.” But if you take it too literally, all you’ll do is write personal essays, not fiction. Better advice would be to write what fascinates you, what scares you, what infuriates you, what mystifies you . . . Write the kind of book you’d love to read, only it doesn’t exist yet. Write the book only you can write, one that grows out of your imagination and obsessions, not anyone else’s. TD: Finally, other than Children of Anubis, what do you have in the pipeline at the moment?
TW: My next original horror novel for Flame Tree Press, They Kill, will be out in April 2019. I have a creature-feature novel called Blood Island due out from Severed Press sometime in 2019. And I’m currently working on a tie-in novel set in the Alien universe titled Alien: Prototype.
TD: Thanks so much for your answers – I’m sure the #SPNFamily out there will be eager to grab Children of Anubis in spring. Tim Waggoner Links: Website: www.timwaggoner Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tim.waggoner.9 Twitter: @timwaggoner Instagram: tim.waggoner.scribe