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The Werewolf Whisperer: from Web Series to Novel Series

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Left: Bonita Gutierrez, Right: Camilla Ochlan

Left: Bonita Gutierrez, Right: Camilla Ochlan

*free Halloween download 10/31/14*

“Work begets work.” You’ve heard it. The cliché your friends quote when they rope you into working on their micro budget short — for no money. There’s another truism you might be familiar with — the old “you just never know…” In the case of Camilla Ochlan and Bonita Gutierrez’s road to publishing their first novel, The Werewolf Whisperer, both sayings proved prophetic. These two women are a great lesson for the mantra many of you have heard from me at conventions: “Create what you are passionate about. Assemble a great team. And recognize the constraints of your budget and storytelling.

A sometimes actor and part-time teacher, Camilla is a full-time, all in, story-obsessed writer who parses life through the prism of fiction. An actor, writer, filmmaker and producer, Bonita thrives on a diet of Star Wars and Buffy… and the occasional hamburger.

The idea for The Werewolf Whisperer arose on the micro budget short film Dog Breath, a challenging ghost story written and co-produced by Camilla. While observing the on-set dog trainer, Camilla wondered “what if?” She later shared the idea with her college friend Bonita who had generously agreed to work on the short for no pay. Driven by the strength of the concept and its unique slant on the ‘werewolf thing,’ the women developed The Werewolf Whisperer as a web series over one summer, fully intending to produce and act in the twelve short episodes. But once the first season of The Werewolf Whisperer had been written, it became clear that the expense of shooting the series properly was prohibitive, especially in light of the challenges with monetizing web content. Further, the tenacious writing partners were unwilling to let go of the story, which was rapidly outgrowing the limitations of its originally intended medium. “So Camilla had the bright idea of writing our web series as a novel,” says Bonita. “I’d never written a novel. I was scared out of my mind. But I said ‘yes’ anyway.”

The first in a series, The Werewolf Whisperer is a contemporary dark urban fantasy with a comic edge. Lucy Lowell, The Werewolf Whisperer, and her partner Xochitl Magaña are thrown into chaos when the Kyon Virus turns a disturbing number of Angelenos into Werewolf-like creatures. As the outbreak expands to epidemic proportions, Lucy’s uncanny ability to control the creatures makes her “the silver lining in our werewolf apocalypse” add the authors. “Unlike Thelma and Louise, Lucy and Xochitl are not driving off any cliffs. They are fighters. They take it on and dish it out.”

Featuring colorful landscapes and language, The Werewolf Whisperer uniquely highlights California’s cultural and ethnic diversity, while creating a unique world with far-reaching consequences and tangled mysteries.

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When asked why she writes in this genre, Camilla remarks, “I love dark urban fantasy. So, I write what I love to read.” Bonita says “two things I love: fantasy fiction and martial arts. And getting to combine the two in this novel is so cool. I love telling stories centered around characters with mixed heritage like myself.”

What struck me when I got my sneak peek at reading the The Werewolf Whisperer was the strong grounding of the female characters. Approaching the writing from a place of emotional honesty honed by years of actor training and experience, both women found the vulnerabilities in people of the Werewolf Whisperer world, making them real to the reader despite the fantastical nature of the cataclysmic plot.

And do pardon the pun, but these gals refused to ‘bite off more than they could chew,’ and let the story dictate their medium of choice. Rather than compromising their content due to budget restraints with a web series, they were savvy enough to recognize they could create their ideal with a series of novels.

For more Werewolf Whisperer bits to chew on visit www.werewolfwhisperer.com

Halloween free download!:

Trick or Treat? We say “treat” yourself with a free download of The Werewolf Whisperer on Halloween 10/31/14

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The story continues…Look for The Alpha and Omega (book 2 of The Werewolf Whisperer series) in 2015. And this Christmas Eve stuff your e-stocking with the novella

The Werewolf Whisperer:¡Feliz Navidad!

 

Stephanie Thorpe

About Stephanie Thorpe

Stephanie Thorpe is a veteran web content creator, serving as a producer, director, writer and actor on numerous projects—in fact, she just crossed her 100-episode milestone. Recently she and her producing partner Paula Rhodes acquired the film and television rights to the 35-year-old cult comic book "ElfQuest," which they are currently developing for the screen. Stephanie also co-created and produced "The Ladies & The Gents," a web series consisting of 60 episodes of comic vignettes. That series just launched in April and will roll out through the summer. In addition to these projects she has many other irons in the fire, some of which she can share info on ("Shelf Life" "SlumberCon") and others are coming soon! A founding member of the "League of Extraordinary Ladies," she is frequently thrilled to find herself speaking on panels at Cons throughout the year. As an actor she recently appeared in "The Ladies," "Pairings," "Night of the Zombie King," and was featured on Bonnie Burton’s program "Geek DIY." Stephanie is very excited to be a contributor to the online mag "Ms. in the Biz!"