Son of the Wolf: A Sockhops and Seances Interview with Kara Dennison!
Please tell us a bit about your story!
“Son of the Wolf” is, in short, “What if a roller coaster was haunted by the vengeful ghost of the coaster it replaced?” In less short, it’s a pair of twin sisters investigating a haunted amusement park ride: Lily, who’s very logical and down-to-earth; and Heck, who believes in Every Paranormal Thing and believes herself to be a psychic or doom prophet or something (depending on the day and her mood).
What inspired “Son of the Wolf”?
I was equally inspired by two pairs of real roller coasters. The Beast and Son of Beast at Kings Island inspired the overall naming convention and the idea of a “sequel” coaster, while the Big Bad Wolf and Verbolten at Busch Gardens Williamsburg inspired the actual events. The Big Bad Wolf was a fan favorite that hadn’t seen much turnover, and there was a bit of a to-do about its closure in 2009. Verbolten really does pay tribute to its predecessor in a lot of the same ways the fictional coaster does.
I’d had the basic concept floating around in my head for a while, but nowhere to use it. When I decided to pitch to Sockhops & Seances, I thought that might be worth a try; I’d been watching a lot of Defunctland and had that sort of vintage amusement park vibe in the back of my head. I did some research into what sorts of coasters were around then, and discovering that the first full-sized steel coaster was built in 1959 ended up being a perfect jumping-off point.
As for Lily and Heck, I always imagined them being played by one actress in a sitcom or movie of the time, a la Patty Duke or Hayley Mills. I think that’s part of why they’re ridiculously polar opposites as opposed to just a bit different. But they ended up being really fun to write. I’d intended them to be one-off characters, but I’d love to revisit them.
What was it about Sockhops & Seances that captured your imagination?
The mid-20th century was such a formative time for genre entertainment, especially as we see it on film. I’ve watched and read a lot from that time period, but I’ve never actually played in it as a writer. I love going back to this era because this is where a lot of our trope creators live — here and into the 60s. That, and I just love the overall aesthetic of sci-fi and horror from this era. So much of it is still very playful, even if it ends up getting dark.
Where can our readers find you online?
I’m always writing geeky stuff for Crunchyroll and Fanbyte — mostly about anime, but I also cover games and Western entertainment on occasion. I’ve got a blog at karadennison.com and a couple more long-term projects: Altrix Books (altrixbooks.com), a publishing imprint I run with Paul Driscoll; and Owl’s Flower (owlsflower.com), a series of light novels I write with Ginger Hoesly. If that’s still not enough, I tweet @RubyCosmos.