• Gaby Triana

Nicest Horror Author Ever, JONATHAN JANZ

Today on the Witch Haunt, I interview the author of Children of the Dark, one of Booklist's Top Ten Horror Books of the Year, a nominee for Goodreads Choice for Best Horror, and a super down-to-earth dude. His new release, The Dark Game, releases on April 11th. Please welcome Jonathan Janz!

WH: Hi, Jonathan! Please give us a brief introduction of your fabulous self:

Hah! I don’t think I’m fabulous, but I’ll share the basics. I’m a husband, father, teacher, and writer. Everything I do is for my family, and despite how trite that sounds, it’s true. I love books, movies, and nature. I’m a proud Constant Reader. Those facts are good enough to get us started.

WH: I don't think it's trite, and this is what makes you fabulous. If someone was new to the works of Jonathan Janz, which book should they start with?

Like most writers, I love all my stories and consider them my other children, but of my currently published children (including the soon-to-be-released THE DARK GAME), I’d say that one (TDG), THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER, CHILDREN OF THE DARK, and THE NIGHTMARE GIRL. It really depends on the kind of horror one prefers, because I write a pretty diverse variety of stories.

WH: What other career would you have if not writing?

Hmmm…something in the world of books or movies. I could see being an editor, bookstore owner, or a librarian. I could also really get into editing films, writing screenplays, or directing. I know those areas are tough to crack, but we’re talking hypothetically here, and I might as well be honest.

WH: I'm in the middle of trying to make "bookstore owner" come true. We don't have enough independent stores where I live! Jonathan, tell us a little bit about your creative process:

I always have ideas, so there’s this pressure I feel to express them, to get them out on the page. I let the ideas percolate until they’re ready to be poured, and then I get after it. I brew some coffee, play some baroque music, nestle into my writing chair, and let the words flow. I write my rough drafts in a white heat, usually going three thousand words or more per day. When I’ve finished, I set the draft aside and work on something else. After that cooling off period, I come back to the draft and begin an exhaustive editing process. I take twice as long to edit a book as I do to write it.

WH: This is how I work, too. People are amazed I write so much in a day, but it's really just a basic storyline purge. Let it rest then come back to it. If you could interview any author, gone or alive, who would it be?

Stephen King. That’s one of my life goals, to meet Stephen King and let him know how much he has changed my life and helped me.

WH: How have you changed as a person from your early life until now?

Big time. Sure, some aspects of me have endured, but I’m a completely different person now than I was back in my teens and twenties. Mainly, I’m more confident with where I am as a person. I’m not content, of course, because I still have a great deal to work on, but I am happier. I’m so thankful for my family and for my two jobs (teaching and writing).

WH: What is something few people know about you? Any secret talents?

Not many. I do think I’m pretty decent at what I do, but it’s not like I’m hiding an amazing singing voice or a mastery of origami. As far as stuff people don’t know…I would guess that most folks wouldn’t know I often cry at movies, especially ones that remind me of my children. TOY STORY 3 almost destroyed me. I doubt I’ll ever watch that movie again.

WH: Same. Yet people think horror authors are twisted! What was the last horror movie you watched? What did you think of it?

This is a series, but I watched THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE with my son and absolutely loved it. People who dismiss or reduce horror would be shocked if they gave HILL HOUSE a chance. Actually, I bet they’d argue the series isn’t horror, because horror can’t be heartfelt and heartbreaking, right? The fact is, that’s exactly what horror is—full of emotional depth—and HILL HOUSE was a prime example of what the genre can be when handled the right way. My son and I just loved that series.

WH: It was a family watch here too (we have all teen boys). This is what made Shirley Jackson one of my favorite authors. How do you like your coffee? What’s your favorite dessert?

Black coffee, but not scalding hot. My favorite dessert would be…banana pudding? Also no-bake cookies and rice krispie treats.

WH: Food choices tell us so much about people. Seems you're a no nonsense kid at heart. What is the witchiest thing about you (we’re all a little witchy)?

Hmm…I guess I sometimes wonder about the power of mind over matter, which can relate a bit to witchcraft. I think will matters a great deal, and I’ve often thought that there are hidden powers in the mind (telekinesis and pyrokinesis, for example) we’ve all read about in fiction that might have a basis in reality. I don’t know if that’s “witchy” or not, but this is the best I can do.

WH: Definitely witchy. Harnessing those powers and making them work for you. What do you feel makes a horror story (book or film) scary/compelling?

Great characters. I know that sounds like a pat answer, but I really do believe that characterization is the key to everything. When we care about the characters, we care about what happens to them. When we care about the characters, we worry about the scary situations they face. In the best horror stories, the artist forges an unbreakable bond between reader/viewer and character.

WH: Absolutely, and it's the same for any story in any genre. What is the most awesome thing happening in your life right now that you’d like to share with us? What’s next for you? We can’t wait to see what you have coming up!

Okay, this will make you roll your eyes, but the most awesome thing happening right now is my family. I love going home to them and spending time with them. Whether it’s drinking coffee with my wife and hanging out with my children, it’s always fulfilling, and I’m always happy when I’m in their presence.

Not rolling my eyes at all! I love the simplicity of your answer and how quickly it came to you. You are a focused family man and that is your driving force. Thanks so much for chatting with me today. Can't wait to check our your newest release, The Dark Game! For more information on Jonathan Janz, check out the links below:

* Website: www.jonathanjanz.com

* Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Jonathan-Janz/e/B008IIP7J0/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

* Latest release: https://www.booklistonline.com/The-Dark-Game/pid=9715238

* Facebook: Jonathan Janz

* Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4389526.Jonathan_Janz

* Twitter: @jonathanjanz

* Instagram: @jonathan.janz

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, Jack Ketchum, and Brian Keene; he has also been lauded by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and School Library Journal. His ghost story The Siren and the Specter was selected as a Goodreads Choice nominee for Best Horror. Additionally, 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. You can sign up for his newsletter (http://jonathanjanz.us12.list-manage....), and you can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.

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