August 15, 2011

Author Interview: Sylvia Shults (The Taming of the Werewolf)

Today I have Sylvia Shults, author of The Taming of the Werewolf, for an interview!

When did you know you wanted to be an author? 

Oh, I think I've pretty much always known. I didn't get really serious about the idea of writing until I was in high school, but I've always enjoyed stories, telling them and reading them. My dad tells me I taught myself how to read when I was two -- I can't remember being pre-literate. I cannot recall NOT being able to read. I've immersed myself in words my entire life.

What is your favorite book from childhood?

I really dug The Chronicles of Narnia. My dad (thanks Dad!) introduced them to me when I was very young. I re-read the entire series about a dozen times. I'd finish The Last Battle and I'd start right over again with The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. (Yes, I'm one of those purists that insist on reading the books in publication order, not chronological story order.) But my absolute favorite books from childhood are Tuck Everlasting and Bartholomew and the Oobleck.

Who inspires your writing?

Honestly, I'm inspired by all of the authors I read. I read omnivorously and voraciously. Reading is as important to me as breathing. And when I read, I'm inspired all over again, every single day, to go out there and make my own contributions to the world of print. Reading is such a joyful thing -- I'm so grateful that I can be a part of that writing world.

Do you take a lot of character traits from people you know?

Oh yes. From people, even from animals. I have two dogs. One's quite smart, and the other one ... well, she's challenged. The not-very-bright one will lick at a spot on her flank until it's bare, if we don't stop her. (And we DO have to physically stop her. If we spray No-Chew stuff on it, she'll just lick that off too.) I saw her doing that one evening, and that nervous habit made its way into The Taming of the Werewolf. In human form, Katharina bites her nails. In wolf form, she licks at her fur. I saw the two habits being interchangable, and I just couldn't resist!

Can you tell me about your latest release?

My most recent novel is a fun little book called The Taming of the Werewolf. It's a novelization and re-imagining of one of Shakespeare's most beloved comedies.

Why did you decide to use a Shakespeare story as your muse?

I'm a huge fan of mashups. I think they're delightful if done right. I loved every single moment of Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. So, I was thinking about doing my own mashup, and I decided I wasn't too proud to jump on a bandwagon, as long as I was reasonably certain of finding my footing once I was up there. My husband had gone back to college and had just taken a Shakespeare class. It was really his idea to re-write The Taming of the Shrew. The more I thought about the story, and the theme of the war between the sexes, the more it made sense. Why was Katharina so dead-set against getting married? What caused the vicious tension between her and Bianca? And how could I rewrite the "taming" part to my own satisfaction, without Katharina seeming to just knuckle under to Petruchio? I had so much fun rewriting the play into a novel. Better than chocolate, man.

What major differences between the original story and yours would you like to disclose?

Well, I gave my Katharina a whole lot more backstory than Shakespeare did. In The Taming of the Werewolf, you'll find out why Katharina really, really doesn't want to get married. You'll discover how Bianca really felt about Katharina when the two girls were growing up together. And you'll realize that there's a whole lot more to Katharina's and Petruchio's relationship than just Katharina being "tamed". My resolution to their squabbling is more complex (and, I hope, more satisfying) than the ending of the play.

Is there anything you would like to say to readers?

Pick up a copy of The Taming of the Werewolf. Or get your library to buy a copy, and check it out. It's a funny, smart, delightful read, and you won't be disappointed. And thank you -- I couldn't do this without you.

Thanks for visiting Sylvia!

Visit Sylvia on her Website

"Sylvia Shults is the princess of darkness, a mistress of malevolent miracles...and her lean, mean prose will keep your nightlight on well past your bedtime. Highly recommended." -- Jay Bonansinga, national bestselling author of FROZEN, TWISTED, and THE SINKING OF THE EASTLAND

"Price of Admission is beautifully composed, brilliantly executed. Sylvia Shults plays upon the English language, like a master musician on a fine-tuned instrument." -- Andrea Jones, award-winning author of HOOK & JILL

Publisher: Dark Continents Publishing, Inc. (April 2011)
Purchase book HERE
“Before I met you, I never knew wolves could smile…”

Was ever any gentleman thus grieved as Baptista Minola? An Italian lord with two daughters, the youngest of which cannot be married until the elder, Katharina, is wed…

“And thereby hangs a tail…”

Because Katharina is cursed. She has a fearsome temper and a sharp tongue. And even sharper teeth.

“Kiss me, Kate, for we will be married on Sunday…”

“I’ll see you eaten on Sunday!”

Petruchio is determined to win her hand. A large dowry is a rich incentive indeed for this less-than-gentleman from Verona, even if there are… issues.

The sexual politics of Renaissance Italy succumb to the true nature of the beast within. This is Shakespeare with teeth.

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