Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of Wereworld! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Ben Percy: A contagion is spreading – a contagion that makes people go wild, a contagion linked to the full moon. Over the course of twelve chapters, each a month of the calendar, Manitou Street – in the cozy, Norman Rockwell town of Northfield, Minnesota – goes from a tight-knit community to a war zone, as homes become fortresses and neighbors and even families turn against each other, poisoned by fear and paranoia.
BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative process in bringing the story to life alongside artist Francesco Francavilla?
BP: I’ve been hoping to join forces with Francesco for years. He’s one of my horror hall-of-famers. When we talked about the project, we challenged the collaboration of Stephen King and Bernie Wrightson in Cycle of the Werewolf. So, there is one terrifying, indelible illustration for every page of the blood-stained calendar.
BD: With an extraordinary list of writing credits, having written for comics, short story prose, non-fiction essays, and audio drama, do you find that you gravitate towards storytelling in a particular medium? Likewise, what did you find to be most intriguing about tackling an illustrated novella?
BP: Writing across mediums means I’m never bored. It also means I’m never creatively stagnant, always learning new techniques to add to my storytelling arsenal. I love the energy of collaboration—partnering with others, like Francesco, to strenuously tell the best story possible—but I also love the slow, hermetic work of novels.
BD: What makes NeoText the perfect home for Wereworld?
BP: I’ve known John Schoenfelder for a few years as a producer at Addictive Pictures. He’s a smart, smart guy with an encyclopedic mind. He pitched NeoText as a way for me to write short stories and novellas—a shrinking market in the magazine industry—and join up with world-class artists and then potentially take these narratives to the next level by pitching them for film and TV. Since I’m a prose writer, a comics writer, and a screenwriter—this lit up all my nerve endings.
BD: Do you foresee expanding the novella into subsequent books or even into other entertainment mediums, if given the opportunity?
BP: I’ve already built up my pitch for Wereworld as a film, and we’re getting ready to knock (or claw) on some doors. There’s nothing I want more than to make a horror movie, and this feels like a perfect possibility for adaptation.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
BP: I had a novel release this June—called The Ninth Metal (Mariner Books)—that kicks off a larger sci-fi saga called the Comet Cycle.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Wereworld?
BP: I believe you’ll be able to access it through the NeoText website—or purchase it here on Amazon.