Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Book Feature and Guest Post by John Vamvas and Olga Montes, authors of "Wherewolves"

Today, Now is Gone welcomes John Vamvas and Olga Montes, the authors of the new book Wherewolves.  From the synopsis: "Using a fun, explosive style, full of new slang and fresh dialogue, WHEREWOLVES is the story of a group of high school seniors, most “military brats”, who are headed for an army-type survival weekend."

One reviewer described it as Lord of the Flies vs Silver Bullet.

After the guest post, I'll include some more information about the authors and the book.  Now, without further ado...

Hello, we are John Vamvas and Olga Montes, authors of the recently released horror/thriller, WHEREWOLVES.

WHEREWOLVES (yes, the H is deliberate) is the story of a group of high school seniors—most of them military brats—and their teacher, The Sarge, who go on a survival training weekend and must face their biggest enemy: themselves. It's thought-provoking, edge-of-your-seat intense, and action-packed. We approached the topical issue of bullying with edgy, layered characters and plot twists that will keep you guessing.

The rapid-fire story was originally a screenplay we completed in 2010. A few days after it was written, we sent it to a producer we were acquainted with and within a week, she optioned the script; she said the story blew her away. Things were rolling. Then, just over a year later, it all fell apart.

We then started to send out query letters to agents and producers and were lucky enough to get literary representation (Whitt Brantley at WBMT Agency). But getting a screenplay off the ground takes a lot of time. So, we decided to write the novel based on the screenplay in the meantime. We really want to get the story out, and readers thus far have responded with high enthusiasm.

We have written critically acclaimed plays, teleplays, and screenplays, but this is our first stab at novel writing. We've been asked over and again what it was like to turn a script into a novel, so here goes: It's been a thrilling/terrifying/overwhelming challenge, to say the least.

Screenwriting is all about creating the skeleton that the actors, director, cinematographer, sound, lights, etc. will shape and make unique.  This time, though, we got to be everyone, feel everyone, see and smell everything. Amazing. It took nine months of sleeplessness to come up with a first draft. We gave it to a few people to read. Some loved it. Some thought something was missing. All had corrections.

We decided to get a professional opinion and searched for an editor on line. We stumbled on a Saskatoon writer/poet/editor, Shelley A. Leedahl, who was familiar with our writing style. We wrote her asking if she could edit a novel that has the film feel; meaning, our writing is intense, the dialogue is quick, the slang is fresh, and the descriptions blend with the action. The story moves, just like a movie reel. She said, "Send it over." And we did. We were confident. Maybe a little cocky—I think we were looking for a professional pat on the back. We got our manuscript back four weeks later. We expected to find circled a few typos here, a couple of commas missing there. Ha! Ha! What we got were notes. Plenty of them ("Work harder!", "Whose POV are you in?", "This section is boring! Cut it!", etc.), and pen marks littering almost every page. Plus a detailed 20 page report. We almost cried. But all her notes were in keeping with our writing style—not hers. She was pointing us in the right direction. The task seemed daunting but we took it one page at a time. The hardest part was the narration and making sure that the changes in point of view were clear and flowed smoothly. Soon, the task turned into an exciting challenge.  And we were flying. We came up with our second (we thought final) draft. And sent it back to her—still looking for that pat on the back. Two weeks later, we got more (but not as many) notes. We were, according to her, well on our way.

Hiring a professional editor was, we think, an awesome decision for our novel. She was relentless (and we love her for it). We felt she sat perched on our shoulders scrutinizing every correction. She pushed us well beyond what we thought we were capable of.

Lucky for us, we found an editor who knows how to bring out the writer's best. Not who changes things as she would write them.

We hope you enjoy reading WHEREWOLVES as much as we enjoyed writing it.

Thank you very much for taking the time to get to know us,

John and Olga

And I say:
As a freelance editor, I must say I think you're right!  Sounds like you partnered up with a great editor.  As you say, what we are supposed to do is to make your writing better, not try to make your writing sound like our own!

Now, to help you know the authors a bit more, here is some info about them.

Together for over 20 years, John and Olga started as an acting team but soon began to write their own scripts for lack of finding two-person plays they could tour across North America. They wrote and toured four full-length critically acclaimed plays to packed houses across Canada and the United States, including, Bad Boy, which they performed Off-Off-Broadway at New York’s Creative Place Theatre in the heart of Times Square.

In 2001, they were approached to star in and rewrite the short film, Things Never Said in Playa Perdida. Playa won the audience award at the New York Short Film Festival in 2002 and tied first place at the Festivalisimo festival in Montreal.

WHEREWOLVES was written as a screenplay in 2010. They wrote the novel to get the story out while they wait for it to hit the screens.


John Vamvas grew up in one of Montreal's (Canada) roughest boroughs. His high school teachers always told him that he'd be in jail or dead by eighteen. Thank God for the Arts. Actor, playwright, screenwriter and now novelist, he has been writing with his writing partner/wife, Olga Montes, for over twenty years. He loves words, especially dialogue, and has a lot of fun coming up with new ways to say the same thing.


Mother, preschool French teacher, avid reader, Olga dreamed of being a writer as a child and spent many high school lunch hours working on her writing with her English teacher. She has a college degree in Professional Theatre and a university degree in Spanish and French grammar and literature. She was on her way to becoming a translator for the UN when she heard of an open audition at one of Montreal's biggest theatres. She almost didn't get the role, though, because the director and co-star, John Vamvas, was scared of falling in love with the actress and ruining the play. That was 1992. She and John have been writing and working together on stage, screen, and in life ever since.

“BANG-ON DIALOGUE. Vamvas and Montes make it look, sound, smell real.” The Edmonton Journal

“IMPRESSIVE TALENT in this writing/producing/acting team”, The Winnipeg Free Press

“Montes and Vamvas continue to demonstrate their skills with SWITCHBLADE-SHARP EARS FOR DIALOGUE and hard, thoroughly believable plot lines.” The Sunday Journal

“A SEXY and EXPLOSIVE style that pulls the patrons forward to the edge of their seats”, The Edmonton” Journal



A group of high school seniors and their teacher, The Sarge, go on a survival training weekend and must face their biggest enemy: themselves. A growl they hear and one by one they disappear. What is out there? Can it really be werewolves?

A fresh take on bullying told using a fun, rapid-fire style; with edgy, layered characters and a plot twist with as much depth as impact.
Thought provoking. Intense. Action packed.
"5 stars. It reminded me a bit of Lord of the Flies versus Silver Bullet but only way cooler."
"5 stars. Finally! A thriller that is unpredictable. A real page turner that expertly knows how to balance dialogue and description."
"There is plenty of action in this book to keep anyone happy."
"Chillingly terrifying... This is one horror novel that will have you thinking long after you've finished reading."
 Link to cover, author bios and pics, book excerpt (first two chapters), synopsis, and reviews: www.wherewolvestheblog.com
Twitter: @WHEREWOLVESfilm https://twitter.com/WHEREWOLVESfilm


  1. A Fan's Cut


    This is my blog on how Great Films Could Have Been Made Differently.

    if you have time then please take a look.

    I'm also looking to collaborate with a screenwriter.

    Comments are welcome

    I liked your title-"Now is Gone"-the moment we finish reading the first word now and then when we go to the second,it is gone-nice idea.

    Sorry for disturbing,thanks.

    1. Thanks for commenting! And thanks for the compliment on my blog title; it's actually a poem I wrote when challenged to write a three-word poem many moons ago. Simple yet deep.

  2. Sounds interesting. Love the cover.

    1. Yeah, that's a great cover! Dale, they're looking for folks to review it, so do contact them if you would like to read it.


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