Sudbury-born author Mark Leslie has released his latest title, “Fear and Longing in Los Angeles.”
The book follows the ongoing adventures of Canadian Michael Andrews attempting to live a normal life while dealing with the reality that every full moon he turns into a wolf.
The curse comes with the side-effects of enhanced senses as a human, and Andrews stumbles his way through using those superpowers to help others, following in the footsteps of Spider-Man.
In this latest adventure, which is the second full-length novel and third book in the “Canadian Werewolf” series, Andrews heads to Los Angeles to work on a movie set and to try to get away from the pain of being rejected by his true love.
After meeting a mysterious woman who carries deep secrets, he learns that, if New York is the city that never sleeps, then L.A. is where you have to sleep with one eye open. There’s something even more cut-throat than Hollywood itself lurking in the shadows.
“Yes, I’m a huge Spider-Man fan,” Leslie said in a press release, and shares that he read the comics growing up, often purchased at Comics North in Sudbury.
When asked about whether this series is partially wish fulfilment brought to the written page, Leslie laughs. “Sure, an author who is successful enough to have movies made from his books. There’s a little bit of wish fulfillment there.”
Leslie, who is the co-author of the 2013 book Spooky Sudbury, was raised in Levack, and says that, growing up, he considered Sudbury the “big city” and his first trip into Toronto was a mind-blowing experience.
“The tallest building in Levack was a four-story apartment building,” he said.
“Downtown Sudbury was overwhelming enough. But when that school bus from a Levack District High School business trip to Toronto moved through the streets of Canada’s largest city, it felt like I was in that sci-fi canyon that Luke Skywalker had to navigate on the Death Star in Star Wars.”
The author says that his first visit to New York made the Toronto experience feel a little quaint. But it was his first visit to New York City and visits to Los Angeles that inspired the two full-length novels.
A Canadian Werewolf in New York was originally written after Leslie had been to Manhattan, was walking through Battery Park, and imagined what it might be like for a man to wake up there naked, with a bullet hole in his leg, and no memory of the night before when he’d been roaming around the city in wolf form. Figuring out what happened would have to come only after he was able to scavenge for some clothes and make it back to where he lived three-quarters of the way across the city.
Similarly, Fear and Longing in Los Angeles took inspiration from a pair of trips to LA and Hollywood where Leslie was a keynote speaker for writer conferences.
“I so enjoyed the locations I’d visited as well as the people I got to hang out with there, that I wanted to incorporate some of that into a story with my werewolf character,” he said.
“Many of the bars and restaurants in the book are real places I loved visiting, not to mention the unique charm and character of Venice Beach and Muscle Beach. I imagined what it might be like for Michael Andrews to wander those same streets.”
It’s available in eBook and print (Paperback and Hardcover editions). The audiobook, narrated by Scott Overton, retired Sudbury radio personality and sci-fi author, is soon following.
Leslie’s books, including the Canadian Werewolf titles, are available online in most formats. If they are not in stock at your favourite local store, they can be ordered.
You can also request them at your branch of the Sudbury Public Library.