Dear readers, tonight on the interview couch is a lupine – a werewolf, one of many breed of shape-shifters – from Seattle. He’s here to set some things straight, what is true and what is merely myth in our understanding of lycanthropy.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
Seattle’s an amazing city, but then most people would say that I’m biased in my opinion. Because I lost both of my parents before I as even in my teens I grew up on the streets, crashing with friends, or occasionally fellow lupines. Sure, the streets can be a tough place to grow up, so I ran with one of the gangs, and lived off petty crime and handouts.
Now, you may think I spent a lot of nights sleeping on the streets or went hungry a lot, but thanks to my lupine heritage that didn’t happen often. I could head out to the hunting grounds on Cougar Mountain, and hunt down a rabbit or two and spend the night in wolf form.
Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
My father left after I started showing signs of having inherited my mother’s lupine abilities. Somehow, she’d kept this side of her life from him even after they married, and she ended up having to raise me on her own. It was a tough time, because she sank into the bottle, blaming herself for my father leaving and she was in and out of jobs for a long time.
I had to learn to hide my shifting abilities, as well as hunt in wolf form just so the two of us could eat. But I’ll never forget those lessons, or the day I lost my mother while we were hunting.
What do you do now?
I miss those simpler days. Running with the gangs didn’t leave me much time for school, and I barely graduated. For someone like me it was hard getting a job or keeping it. I’ve never dealt well with authority, and I’ve had more than my share of run-ins with the police. Somehow, I can’t seem to stay out of trouble, and I know that’s partly how I ended up in my current predicament.
In the space of one night I went from having a great woman in my life, to a drunken brawl which somehow resulted in me being blackmailed into something I should never have agreed to. I couldn’t face being trapped in a cell for what happened, so I made a devil’s bargain and agreed to join a taskforce that investigates and hunts the criminal elements in the supernatural community.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
I shouldn’t say anything at all. But we’ve been receiving reports of attacks on mortals that bear the hallmarks of a rogue vampire, or possibly an unsanctioned haven.
It might turn out to be nothing, but I’m told we can’t risk the exposure that might result from it. It’s easy enough to discredit the odd attack that gets mentioned in the tabloids, but if this continues, reports could show up online, or even in reputable news.
What did you first think when you were assigned to the investigation?
Honestly? I never really expected to end up doing field work for the taskforce. It was supposed to be a consultancy role, but of course the bargain got changed, and the threat of jail time still hangs over my head.
It’s just one investigation… Supposedly. But I have a feeling it’ll end up being more than that and I hate the thought of what might happen if I’m ever put in the position of going up against a pack member. Or worse, the Alpha.
What is the worst thing about being a lupine in Seattle?
With so many people around, you have to be very careful about not revealing what you are. But then I guess that goes for any of the supernatural races. At least there aren’t too many that can’t pass for even remotely human.
What is the best thing about it?
The Seattle area is an amazing place. On the one hand you have one of the busiest cities in the US, and on the other some of the most beautiful woodlands for hiking or hunting in. Somehow though, I suspect my wolf and I are always going to disagree on which is the best.
Tell us a little about your friends.
I don’t have that many worth talking about. Honestly, when you run with the gangs, you rely on as few people as possible. Jimmy Williams is the rare exception. He was one of the first people to take me under his wing when I hit the streets, and he’s stuck by me ever since.
Even though he got out of the gangs, and now has a pretty good job with an advertising agency, he’s still my go-to when I need advice. Even though he’s a mortal he knows pretty much everything about me, including that I’m a lupine. If it wasn’t for Jimmy I’d probably have made a lot more trouble for myself than I did.
Any romantic involvement?
Before I was arrested, and ended up blackmailed into this job, I was dating someone. But then everything got screwed up by my drinking, and I ended up leaving her without even saying goodbye. One day I might even forgive myself for that.
There is one redhead at work I’m interested in, but she was with the Seattle PD before joining the taskforce, and took a dislike to me from the start. I didn’t think my rap sheet was that bad until she pulled up the details. “Just researching the team members” she’d said. But I never saw her looking at anyone else’s records.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
Ugh… Don’t even start me on this one. We’re back to teammates again. Garfield Feldman, retired marine, grade A A-hole who apparently hates everything about me, including the fact that I’m breathing. Then there’s the Chief, the woman who blackmailed me into this outfit. She manipulates everything around her to get what she wants. And with me? She wanted a lupine on her team, and guess what? She got it.
What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
It may seem obvious given the fact that I’m a lupine, but getting out into the wild, shifting into wolf form and taking a nice long run. Of course, I start my day with a run through the city streets, but that’s more for the challenge and keeping myself in shape. It just can’t compare to all the sounds, smells and textures of the wild places.
What does the future hold for you?
I’m going to figure out a way to get out of the taskforce, that doesn’t result in me being locked up in a jail cell for the rest of my life. But with everything the Chef has on me, I just can’t see how… Yet!
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
I’ll never admit to this, even if you record this. But there are times when working for the taskforce aren’t so bad. They’re just extremely rare… And that never gets repeated… Got that?
Timothy Bateson is a writer who broke into the market in 2014, with three short stories being featured in Halloween and science-fiction anthologies. In 2016, Bateson self-published a re-release of “Under A Hunter’s Moon”, the first of a several stories set in the “Shadows Over Seattle” world, which he co-writes with his wife, Sandi.
Bateson is also a blogger who often spotlights books and fellow indie authors, alongside his other interests, such as the Brain to Books Cyber Convention events, falconry, journaling, quotes, and reading.
You can find Richard on the pages of Under A Hunter’s Moon.
Join us next week to meet an apprentice assassin and his master. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.