More than a few readers nominated Jameson Currier’s The Wolf at the Door for a 2014 LGBT Book Gem. I asked him to give us readers a little of the story behind the novel.
The Wolf at the Door, my novel set in a haunted gay-owned guesthouse in the French Quarter of New Orleans, was begun in 2003, after several visits to New Orleans, including participating in the annual Saints and Sinners Literary Festival and taking innumerable walking tours throughout the French Quarter, Garden District, and local cemeteries. At the time I started writing the novel I was also writing several ghost short stories, all with gay characters, gay situations or gay themes. I read more than 1,000 ghost stories to understand the craft, technique, and style of literary ghost stories and to sharpen the themes I wanted to present in my own. What I liked about New Orleans was its rich sense of history in its everyday life. I finished my final draft of the novel on Sunday, August 28, 2005, the evening before Hurricane Katrina landed ashore in Louisiana. It was apparent to me in the ensuing days that this would be a manuscript that I would have to put aside because of the unfolding tragedy and aftermath of the hurricane. I continued to work on other ghost stories set in difference locales and these stories were collected as The Haunted Heart and Other Tales. By 2010, when I launched Chelsea Station Editions, a small press devoted to gay literature, New Orleans was back on its feet and I decided the first book the new press would publish would be The Wolf at the Door.
The Wolf at the Door is not a horror story per se, but more of a comic hallucination of an overworked man who drinks too much and thinks he is seeing ghosts and angels and all sorts of other spirits. I think Avery, the main character in the novel and the owner of the guesthouse, is the character who comes closest to who I am today: a funny, boozy, aging gay man. Throughout the novel Avery is the only person witnessing ghosts and other supernatural activity and he must convince himself he is not crazy and persuade those around him to help him put the supernatural activity to rest. I hope that the novel is regarded as the kind of spiritual adventure of, say, A Christmas Carol or It’s A Wonderful Life.
This novel required me to do a lot of historical research on New Orleans and its history of slavery and the fact that in New Orleans there were many freed slaves who owned slaves themselves. In the course of writing the book I studied several historical slave narratives and memoirs to create the fictional one that is excerpted in the book. It was also important to me that the backstory of the haunting be gay-themed. The novel also references the many religions and cultures that are part of the New Orleans melting pot, including Catholicism, Voodoo, and Native American mythology.
I continue to be a frequent visitor to New Orleans and a regular participant at the annual Saints and Sinners Literary Festival. I’ve recently started work on a sequel to The Wolf at the Door titled A Devil in the House.
Of interest to readers might also be a small booklet that I created called Ghost Stories by Gay Authors. (Free PDF download)
Jameson Currier is the author of nine works of fiction, most recently the novel The Forever Marathon. His gay-themed ghost stories have appeared inWilde Stories, Unspeakable Horror, Best Gay Romance, Velvet Mafia, Icarus, Next Magazine, and All Hallows: The Journal of the Ghost Story Society. In 2010 he founded Chelsea Station Editions, a small press devoted to gay literature. He is editor and publisher of Chelsea Station Magazine, now online at www.chelseastationmagazine.com.