Interviews

Andrew Klavan: Literature Shouldn’t Be Stuffy … or Boring

Even then Klavan had a weakness for what’s glibly termed “genre” stories, something literary magazine editors seized upon. One such form letter had the following handwritten note on it, “ …this is too entertaining for us,” Klavan recalls.

Suffice to say that editor would have rejected the award-winning writer’s latest out of hand.

Werewolf Cop” finds Klavan fusing a murder mystery with a cop cursed to feast when a full moon appears. It’s vintage Klavan: smart, sophisticated and exhilarating in its pacing.

And, of course, entertaining.

“I’ve never signed on to the idea that literature is inherently serious and stuffy and boring,” Klavan says.

51HH4ZY+p4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_“Cop” features a flawed officer named Zach who is attacked by a werewolf while pursuing an international thug. The assault leaves Zach with a curse familiar to horror fans. It still won’t prevent him from catching his prey …. and maybe saving the world in the process.

Literature once boasted horror gems like Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” a story Klavan says was described as “grotesque” in its day. Now, it’s considered a classic examining science, religion and more.

Horror fiction produced today isn’t given such consideration, he says. Our culture too often elevates literature for the elites, forgetting its populist roots.

“A Dickens novel used to be for everybody,” he says.

Klavan’s “Werewolf Cop” explores themes above and beyond its pulpy title. The protagonist struggles with his faith, and a backdrop of politically charged protests lends texture to the narrative.

Universal Monster Movies Leave a Mark

As a boy Klavan worshiped monster movies, harboring a “particular fondness” for werewolves. Years later, he lamented how few storytellers understood the lycanthrope’s scariest element. The best movies, like “An American Werewolf in London,” “derive their horror from the werewolf situation, not the situation of the victim,” he says.

“When you wake up, you’re a good person who has done something dreadful,” he says of these cursed figures.

The author originally envisioned “Werewolf Cop” as an ebook. About halfway through he realized the story was “one of the best things I ever wrote,” he says. He feared an ebook release might limit its exposure.

Christianity in the Cross Hairs

Klavan is a Christian who pens stories filled with mature situations. That occasionally spawns heated emails from fellow Christians.

“You call yourself a Christian?” they ask him.

“Our state is a sinful state. It’s true of all of us … I can’t write a book without writing about that, in that state of sin,” he says.

“Werewolf Cop’s” hero is a very flawed Christian, grappling with a momentary weakness that puts his marriage in jeopardy. The story also incorporates bigger threats, including how European society teeters on the edge of extinction.

That’s hardly fiction, worries Klavan.

“Europe as a culture… is dead,” he says. “The things happening there now, the Islamisation of neighborhoods, the inability to fight back against bad ideas and evil actions, are a sign of that death.”

It’s a tease of Klavan’s other career, that of a gimlet-eyed pundit who writes “Klavan on the Culture” for PJ Media. Just don’t expect him to publish the great American political novel soon … even if his “Empire of Lies” thriller came close to just such a tale.

“I don’t mind writing from a political point of view,” he says. Hitting politically sensitive targets, though, gives the stories a dated quality. He’d rather focus on timeless tales about good versus evil, or the individual versus the collective.

“A work of fiction … says something to me now while conveying something that lasts,” he says.

Andrew Klavan’s “Werewolf Cop” is available now from Amazon.com.

photo credit: Diritto Civile Italiano via photopin (license)

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