Jonathan Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories. His work has been championed by authors like Joe R. Lansdale, Brian Keene, and Jack Ketchum; he has also been lauded by Publishers Weekly, the Library Journal, and the School Library Journal. His novel Children of the Dark was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Horror Book of the Year. Jonathan’s main interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children.
KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?
Howdy! I’m a husband/parent/teacher/writer from West Lafayette, Indiana who has written over a dozen novels and a bunch of shorter works too. And though I love teaching and writing, my family means everything to me.
KR: What do you like to do when not writing?
Well, the above answer touched on this a little bit, but I love to be with my wife and kids. They probably get sick of me. We like to watch movies together, go places together, work out together, etc. When I’m alone, I’m either reading or writing.
KR: What is your favourite childhood book?
Hmm…I’m going to go way back here and say the Frog and Toad stories by Arnold Lobel. Those tales and the stories of Dr. Seuss are my very favorites and gifts I love to share with my own children.
KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?
Wow. Great question. I’d say…the Charlie Brown Christmas album (by the Vince Guaraldi Trio) is my favorite album. As far as writing goes, yes, I love listening to Baroque music (especially the Baroque music played by Yo-Yo Ma) when I write.
KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director?
John Carpenter. Not too original an answer, maybe, but if you’ve made Halloween and The Thing, you’ve done something right. As far as a favorite horror movie, I know everyone loves this one, but I’d say Jaws.
KR: What are you reading now?
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. I’m really digging it.
KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?
Originally, it was Stephen King, and it will always be Stephen King. Several others who have inspired me include Joe R. Lansdale, Elmore Leonard, J.K. Rowling, Brian Keene, Jack Ketchum, John Sandford, Gillian Flynn, and Richard Matheson.
KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I’ve worked both ways, and both ways have proven effective. It depends on the project and the amount of time I have to write.
KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I research a bit beforehand, but I also find myself doing quite a bit of research on the fly. Often, I’m not sure what I’ll need to know until I get into the story. Then, because the tale has taken an unexpected turn, I find I need to know something about the sewer systems of Chicago or the cockpit of a helicopter.
KR: Describe your usual writing day?
I get up around 6:30 or so, drink a gallon of coffee to clear away the fog, put on my music, nestle into my favorite chair, and let the words flow until about noon. At night, after everyone is asleep, I sometimes edit.
KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?
Hmm…that’s a heck of a good question. I have a novella called The Dismembered that’s technically a shorter work (even though it’s 39,000 words). I can’t wait for folks to see that one.
KR: Do you read your book reviews?
Sometimes, I do. That can be fun and rewarding, and it can also be very unpleasant. Most reviewers mean no harm and honestly want to like the work. Whether they end up liking it or not, those are the ones I appreciate.
KR: Any advice for a fledgling author?
Gravitate toward do; avoid getting too hung up on don’t. Sure, there are things to avoid, but you should never feel scared or self-conscious when you write. Pay attention to the people who talk about what you should do rather than fixating on the people who are constantly negative and self-important. This industry has plenty of both types.
KR: What scares you?
Something bad happening to my family. This fear dwarfs all my other fears.
KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?
All of the above. I read more on my Kindle than any other way these days, but I still appreciate the texture and smell of a paperback or hardback.
KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?
Absolutely! It’s called The Siren and the Specter and will be published on September 6th by UK publisher Flame Tree Press. It’s a ghost story set along the Rappahannock River in Virginia. I’m very proud of it and can’t wait for folks to read it.
KR: What are you working on now?
I’m nearing the end of Children of the Dark 2.
KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?
You can choose…
a) One fictional character from your writing.
I’ll choose a character named Iris from a new novel called Nightmare World. She’s smart, tough, funny, and knows how to survive. It’d be a platonic relationship, of course, since I’d still be true to my wife.
b) One fictional character from any other book.
How about Hap Collins (or Leonard Pine) from Joe R. Lansdale’s Hap & Leonard series. Both those guys have a great sense of humor, so whichever one was on the island would definitely break up the monotony. Or I might choose Luna Lovegood (from Harry Potter) because she’s so kind and relentlessly caring.
c) One real life person that is not a family member or friend.
Tough one. Maybe Stephen King. If he were trapped on the island with me, maybe he’d let me co-write a novel with him. Plus, I could tell him how much his work has meant to me. And then he’d probably tell me to stop acting like a stalker, and I’d have to skulk around the island in shame for a while.
KR: Thank you very much Jonathan.
Thank you for having me. I had a blast with these questions!
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When David Caine, a celebrated skeptic of the supernatural, is invited by an old friend to spend a month in “the most haunted house in Virginia,” he believes the case will be like any other. But the Alexander House is different. Built by a 1700s land baron to contain the madness and depravity of his eldest son, the house is plagued by shadows of the past and the lingering taint of bloodshed. David is haunted, as well. For twenty-two years ago, he turned away the woman he loved, and she took her life in sorrow. And David suspects she’s followed him to the Alexander House.
Released 6th September 2018.
Will Burgess is used to hard knocks. Abandoned by his father, son of a drug-addicted mother, and charged with raising his six-year-old sister, Will has far more to worry about than most high school freshmen. To make matters worse, Mia Samuels, the girl of Will’s dreams, is dating his worst enemy, the most sadistic upperclassman at Shadeland High. Will’s troubles, however, are just beginning.
Because one of the nation’s most notorious criminals—the Moonlight Killer—has escaped from prison and is headed straight toward Will’s hometown. And something else is lurking in Savage Hollow, the forest surrounding Will’s rundown house. Something ancient and infinitely evil. When the worst storm of the decade descends on Shadeland, Will and his friends must confront unfathomable horrors. Everyone Will loves—his mother, his little sister, Mia, and his friends—will be threatened.
And very few of them will escape with their lives.
Chicago is gripped by terror. The Sweet Sixteen Killer is brutally murdering young women, and the authorities are baffled.
When the police are called to an affluent home in the middle of the night, they learn that a seemingly normal fourteen-year-old boy has attacked his family. The boy exhibits signs of demonic possession, and even more troublingly, he knows too much about the Sweet Sixteen killings. Father Jason Crowder, a young priest assigned to the case, must marshal his courage in order to save the boy and the entire city from the forces of evil.
But this is a darkness mankind has never encountered before. It craves more than blood. And it won’t rest until it possesses Father Crowder’s soul.
Praise for Jonathan Janz
“One of the best writers in modern horror to come along in the last decade. Janz is one of my new favorites.” – Brian Keene
“A perfect choice for those missing old-school Stephen King.” – The Library Journal on Children of the Dark
“A horror storyteller on the rise.” – Booklist