I’m doing a lot of research into werewolf legends and lore right now, as part of writing my Lycanthropic series of werewolf books. It’s a fascinating topic.
My kids think it’s some kind of problem.
They snigger at me openly, talking about “Dad’s werewolf phase.” Like it’s some sort of mid-life crisis and not a smart career move.
“Some fathers grow ridiculous long beards or buy motorbikes,” I lecture them. “Some fathers go completely nuts at my age. Would you rather I did THAT? Would you?”
I stare at them until they back down. They always do eventually.
I hear them talking to my wife about me when they think I’m not following them. “Is Dad losing it?” they whisper. “Why did he give up his job to write stupid books about werewolves?”
“Don’t worry,” she tells them soothingly. “I try not to.”
I surprised them all yesterday over dinner. “What do you think about travelling to Romania this summer for our annual holiday?” I asked them. “It’s the werewolf capital of the world.”
They exchanged nervous glances.
“Um, …,” said one.
“Interesting,” said the other, in his you have totally lost your mind voice.
My wife nodded encouragingly. She’s a big fan of former Soviet bloc countries. She’ll travel anywhere if there’s a chance to visit an old labour camp or secret police interrogation chamber.
“That’s great,” I said, “because I’ve just booked a flight to Bucharest for July. We’ll be visiting Vlad the Impaler’s fortress in Poenari and staying in the Dracula-themed hotel in Turda.”
More nervous glances around the dinner table.
“A couple of tourists got eaten by bears at Poenari a few years back,” I told them. “But it’s really a very rare occurrence. The bears and the wolves live mainly in the forests. We won’t be going on a forest trek until near the end of the holiday. We should be perfectly safe up until that point.”
They didn’t look completely reassured by my announcement. “Dad, Count Dracula was a vampire, not a werewolf. You know that, right?”
“Sure,” I said, nodding sagely. I was already one step ahead of them. “But in fact both vampires and werewolves are derived from the Romanian strigoi, a shape-shifting spirit that feeds on human blood. With any luck we might even get to see a real one when we travel to the Carpathian Mountains.”
The meal continued in silence.