Pre-Pandemic Research Road Trip: Rock Town Distillery

My werewolves make moonshine.

Okay this wasn’t really a “road trip” because Rock Town Distillery is in my home town. But it was a research trip, I swear. Not about sampling amazing whiskey.

But seriously, the whiskey is amazing.

A Little Writing Backstory

The Slaughter Chronicles contains a universe very much like our own but also very different. There is a parallel/alternate reality where all the scary things live. Sometimes those scary things make their way over into our world. But no one talks about it. It’s a secret.

Werewolves, vampires, and other supernatural creatures that like to interact with humans generally don’t broadcast what they are.

Humans who do not live in blissful ignorance are either in league with the monsters or they hunt the monsters.

When I was world-building my fictional werewolf pack, the Gluttons, before I figured out they were all former monster hunters, I had no idea how they made money.

My very first draft had my werewolves living in a big city (I was going for more of an urban fantasy vibe) and regular 9 to 5 jobs in the human world. They would come together whenever the Alpha needed something but, as my characters’ personalities developed, I realized my setting needed to change. My werewolf pack needed to be somewhere far enough away from human civilization where they could live without fear of discovery and still be able to buy groceries.

Then came the problem: what can they do to make money in a rural area? My very first draft had (and this is really bad) them living in an abandoned electrical plant. I know… WTF? And they were basically in a forest with nothing around them. That’s almost as bad as writing your characters in a blank room.

It was also really boring; there was no tension, no risk of losing control and killing innocent bystanders. No conflict.

One of the difficulties (I’ll make a post about this topic soon) of turning a story from an RPG (role-playing game) into a novel is that there are a lot of supporting details, like how your characters feed themselves or even where they live, that you don’t have to worry about while you’re playing the game. But when you try to write a novel, those missing details appear as plot holes.

So, I had to find a balance between my wolves working within the setting realistically. The series isn’t about hiding from humans but the underlying tension is always there.

Enter Silver Wolf Stills, my fictional bar and distillery. Loosely based on Rock Town Distillery.

It’s got alcohol. It’s got inspectors. It’s got customers. My werewolves use it as camouflage. They keep things up to code and don’t eat the guests. They also supply local restaurants and stores with their stock. Now, what if one day the werewolf hunters nuked the pack? There’d be no more distillery. No more bar. People would ask questions.

And even if the monster hunters knew about my wolves, it would be very hard to exterminate them without drawing attention to the fact that supernatural creatures do really exist. And that is something the hunters don’t want.

I hope you enjoyed that little behind-the-scenes trip through The Slaughter Chronicles Universe. Thanks for reading!