The Red Light District

Jean-Loup Benét Chat Transcript 10/4/05

Catwoman1022:: Welcome to Fireside Chats. Tonight’s guest is Jean-Loup Benet, the master of the werewolf. Just some reminders: maximize your chat window to keep up with the chat. If you have a question, please post a ? and I will call on you in turn. If you need to talk to someone in chat, please pm them, but also please don’t pm the guest, he has a lot to keep up with. Tonight’s prize is a group of signed, limited chapbooks, Sepsis by Graham Masterton, Diary by William Morris and The Dead Cat Poet Cabal by Gerard Houarner. Now who would like to go first?  
deadscrypt:: I'll jump in, lol
Catwoman1022::'re first
Nickolas Cook:: Jean, can you give us an idea of a typical writing day for you?  
JL_Benet:: I have school (which I'm at late since I'm also involved in theatre). I get home, and relax on the internet. Since the start of the school-year, my writing time has been an hour or two around midnight
deadscrypt:: (tentacles are a pain)
lucysnyder:: mmm ... tentacles ....
Tomokat0:: holy hentai batman
Catwoman1022:: Laura
LauraLongMartin:: What fascinates you about the werewolf mythology? Is it the duality of man...the beast Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde....or Hesse's Steppenwolf?
lucysnyder:: now I totally want some fried calamari
JL_Benet:: I've been working on a few projects, one of which is a creative writing textbook
Nickolas Cook:: cool...thanks.
Catwoman1022:: J-L...Laura has a question up
JL_Benet:: I like the duality, the hidden strength and beastly nature. Perhaps it's also the tie to nature that I get from my Dad's side of the family (all of those spooky Seneca myths/legends)
JL_Benet:: I have to admit, I didn't like Steppenwolf as much as I thought I would.
Catwoman1022:: How much studying into the werewolf legend have you done...and do you believe there are some out there?
JL_Benet:: It also seems more real to me somehow than the vampire/zombie/etc legends
Catwoman1022:: Do you think Vampires and Werewolves go hand in hand? Alot of movies portray them together?
JL_Benet:: I've been interested in werewolves almost all of my life. Looking through some old papers, I found a story I wrote in Kindergarten about werewolves and vampires.
Catwoman1022:: (if you guys want to ask questions just post a ? for those of you who just joined)
JL_Benet:: I've been studying it intensely since about 2001, when I decided to do my Master's thesis on werewolves.
JL_Benet:: Actually Wampyr means "wears the skin of a wolf", as originally werewolves sold their souls to the devil for the power to shapeshift
Nickolas Cook:: Is it hard to balance teaching with writing, other than schedule, I mean? Do you find professional barriers from people who don't get the horror thing?
JL_Benet:: When they died, they had no souls, and were forced to walk the earth for eternity
JL_Benet:: Oh, yes. When I get home, my brain is fried. It takes a lot to get into the groove of writing.
JL_Benet:: A trick I do is I have a writing hat. I literally put on a special black fedora. When I have it on, my brain knows it's writing time
Catwoman1022:: So your hat is your muse so to speak?
Nickolas Cook:: good trick.
JL_Benet:: And, I live in northern Michigan, not exactly friendly to horror writers. I have to be able to defend everything I do to my school-board/parents/administration
JL_Benet:: Yes, just the weight of it on my head puts me in that mode.
Catwoman1022:: If one wanted to read up on Werewolves...what would you suggest?
JL_Benet:: I always suggest Sabine Baring-Gould's "Book of Werewolves"
JL_Benet:: It's old (and even in public domain now) but it is still the most comprehensive, and easy to understand
deadscrypt:: Obvious and lame question: what's your favorite werewolf movie?
JL_Benet:: Tough one, I have favorites for different reasons
Catwoman1022:: I was a Teenage Werewolf?
Catwoman1022:: Michael Landon....
JL_Benet:: "Beast Must Die!?" is stupid fun. "Curse of the Werewolf" has a cool plot and acting (even if it drags a bit)
Catwoman1022:: I'll never forget that one
JL_Benet:: I also like some of the new ones, like Gingersnaps and Dog Soldiers
deadscrypt:: lol, thought that'd be easier, but thanks!
JL_Benet:: Yes, Teenage Werewolf broke some ground in the horror genre. Mixing science with hormones gets you some bad results
Nickolas Cook:: Damn, that Whit Bissell!
Catwoman1022:: According to your bibliography you haven't written a you have one?
Catwoman1022:: or working on something?
JL_Benet:: Yes, my Master's thesis was actually my first novel
JL_Benet:: I had written a screenplay before that
Catwoman1022:: anything coming up?
JL_Benet:: They are both being shopped around now
Catwoman1022:: cool!
Catwoman1022:: keeping fingers crossed for you
JL_Benet:: I've got a non-fiction book on the Bearwalker legends of northern Michigan, and a novel dealing with the Nain Rouge legend of Detroit
deadscrypt:: When did you complete your thesis?
deadscrypt:: and how long did it take you?
JL_Benet:: November 2004
JL_Benet:: It took me almost 2 years from the seed of the idea, to finished manuscript
deadscrypt:: wow. It must be something.
Catwoman1022:: Nick
Nickolas Cook:: In your fiction, have you found it difficult to incorporate the werewolf legends in a modern day world?
deadscrypt:: (good one)
JL_Benet:: Yes, but that difficulty is what makes it fun for me
JL_Benet:: I love the Indian werewolf-like myths, and I love working out ways to fit those into modern settings
Catwoman1022:: How do you compare writing a screenplay to a story?
JL_Benet:: There are some great books dealing with werewolves in ultra-urban settings (like New York City). It presents a whole new set of problems that the older tales didn't have to deal with
JL_Benet:: I actually found the novel more liberating. The screenplay format felt to structured. I love description, and evoking all of my senses. I couldn't do that in a screenplay  
deadscrypt:: So what is it that draws you to werewolves above other "conventions" if you will?
deadscrypt:: Oh, that was sort of asked, never mind, lol
Catwoman1022::'re too quiet
Nickolas Cook:: Yeah...
deadscrypt:: Let me put it this way, at what age did you know werewolves were 'the shit"?
Nickolas Cook:: I don't trust her when she gets this quiet
LauraLongMartin:: I'm here
JL_Benet:: Well, I can say that part of the reason for choosing it for my thesis was the lack of a lot of werewolf scholarship
LauraLongMartin:: Listening
LauraLongMartin:: For once
Nickolas Cook:: hehehe..
Catwoman1022:: There's a werewolf scholarship?
JL_Benet:: I would have chosen something "horrific" regardless. In a certain sense, I don't really know what drew me to werewolves  
JL_Benet:: Oh yes, not a whole lot, but it's out there
Nickolas Cook:: Why do you think it is that werewolves haven't hit the romantic heights of, say, vampires?
Catwoman1022:: Heh...ever have erotic fantasies with werewolves?
JL_Benet:: werewolf scholarship, as in literary and anthoplogical studies on werewolves
Nickolas Cook:: actually...
Wrath White:: I have
Catwoman1022:: figures you would Wrath
deadscrypt:: that's hot :P
JL_Benet:: I actually wrote a scene in my novel dealing with something like that
Wrath White:: right after seeing Howling. That sex scene by the campfire
Nickolas Cook:: oh yeah...
JL_Benet:: I actually had someone walk out of my thesis defense when I read that passage
deadscrypt:: lightweight!
JL_Benet:: I think the vampires have it for sexy-cool, but werewolves have a more beastly, raw power
Nickolas Cook:: raw power is sexy
Wrath White:: much like myself
Catwoman1022:: gotta quit teasing like that
Nickolas Cook:: HA!
LauraLongMartin:: *sweating
deadscrypt:: I can smell the pheromones.
LauraLongMartin:: *hands shaking
Wrath White:: LOL
JL_Benet:: I think the pendulum is swinging away from vampires as the market gets glutted
Nickolas Cook:: Have you ever studied the Chinese were-tigers, were-foxes, etc.?
JL_Benet:: You will be seeing a bunch of werewolf movies in the coming year (most are already in post-production)
Wrath White:: I hope they are done without the use of CGI
JL_Benet:: Yes, I studied them when I studied the werewolf legends around the world, but they aren't my specialty
JL_Benet:: I am sorry to say, that they are not. A couple that are coming out are CGI
Wrath White:: CGI has made Hollywood lazy
Wrath White:: it sucks
deadscrypt:: cheers to that.
Nickolas Cook:: Yes, the Chinese inundate all their were creatures with spiritual powers
JL_Benet:: Blood & Chocolate, Bitten, Silver Wolf should hit theatres in the next year (all based on bestselling books)
Nickolas Cook:: beyond the physical
Wrath White:: Blood and Chocolate? Sounds like my kind of party
JL_Benet:: I think B&C wasn't going to use CGI, if memory serves
Nickolas Cook:: Jean, that's what I read as well...hardly any CGI
JL_Benet:: It's a play on a woman's "time of the month," except the blood-flow is much greater
Wrath White:: Then I look forward to seeing it
Catwoman1022:: hummmm
Nickolas Cook:: Ah...sounds like home.
JL_Benet:: Perhaps that makes the chocolate sweeter
Wrath White:: LOL
Nickolas Cook:: Jean, what do you find hardest in writing: the start or the finish?
JL_Benet:: Finish, as in the end of the story; or finish, as in completing the manuscript?
Nickolas Cook:: end of story
JL_Benet:: Actually, middle.
Nickolas Cook:: how so?
JL_Benet:: I can usually see where I want to start, and a big ending, it's the hurdles in between that give me some trouble
Catwoman1022:: Jean-Loup...if you are into werewolves...why did you use cthulhu as your ezboard name?
JL_Benet:: I often know exactly how I want it to end
Catwoman1022:: Sorry Bill....
JL_Benet:: Very good question. I have no idea
Catwoman1022:: Bill you have a question
alienmotives:: issok.
JL_Benet:: I got cthulhu when ezboard first started up in '96
JL_Benet:: And forgot the password, and had to get cthulhu3
Catwoman1022:: heh...we should have a Jean-Loup a good werewolf name
alienmotives:: It's always a risk, asking a question after you come in late, but I'm still curious: were there any guides by "established" authors you found helpful when you were starting? Or did you just do it on your own?
deadscrypt:: You mean "Jean-LOUP" isn't a good werewolf name?
alienmotives:: Or the third alternative, writing group?
JL_Benet:: Tim Esaias was a great help in starting my novel. Mike Arnzen has been my mentor for a while. Dallas Mayr gave me a boost I needed.
JL_Benet:: And Keene took time out of his Stoker celebration to fix a prologue problem that greatly improved my novel
Catwoman1022:: One thing you gotta love about Horror writers...they're willing to help each other.
JL_Benet:: Going to Seton Hill for my Masters was really what did it though. Up until then, I wasn't sure of myself
LauraLongMartin:: Keene's a great guy, no doubt
JL_Benet:: Teaching actually improves my writing as well. I am forced to hone my craft, because my students look to me for examples and critiques
alienmotives:: Another thing about writers: a lot of them are very bright and learned.
Catwoman1022:: J-L who do you like to read?
JL_Benet:: Ketchum is tops for me
alienmotives:: Although few seem adept at puzzles. ... :/
Catwoman1022:: LOL
JL_Benet:: I read a fair mix of literature and horror.
alienmotives:: What would you say distinguishes horror from literature?
deadscrypt:: Speaking of wolves, my dog is pawin' me. I'll drop in later. Thanks for your time, Jean-Loup, I will keep an eye on ya. I used to have fantasies about changing into a werewolf and murdering my Math teacher, Sister Elizabeth, right in front of the whole damn class.
JL_Benet:: I am always surprised at the level of writing from my friends on the boards. I know Pic, Clegg, and Ed Lee before I ever read their books.
JL_Benet:: When I did, I was blown away
deadscrypt left
JL_Benet:: I think the evoking of fear. It is a fine line, and I think there are many books that can fall on either side.
Nickolas Cook:: erm...
JL_Benet:: For me, it comes down to that basic emotional response
JL_Benet:: I think Kafka and Calvino belong in the genre just as much as Lovecraft
JL_Benet:: Of course, then you get into "weird fiction" and the waters get muddied even further
Catwoman1022:: Thanks for joining us in Fireside Chats. Special thanks to tonight’s guest Jean-Loup Benet. Tonight’s prize is a group of signed, limited chapbooks, Sepsis by Graham Masterton, Diary by William Morris and The Dead Cat Poet Cabal by Gerard Houarner. And tonight’s winner is Laura Long Martin. Laura e-mail me your address at with your address. Be sure to join us this Sunday for a Fireside Chat with John Skipp!!! I now declare FREE FOR ALL!
Nickolas Cook:: Thanks, Jean. You were great!
JL_Benet: Thank you all for the great chat!

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