Continuing with the Q&As with the authors of our June releases, today we are talking to Jonathan Janz. He talked about his inspirations for writing, what his favourite Gothic books are and what it takes to make it as a successful writer!
What is the book about?
It’s about a man trying to get back what he lost, both from himself (since he treated his father badly) and from the world (his wife cheated on him, and he’s lost his self-respect).
What are the underlying themes?
In addition to the above thoughts, the book is about healing and being there for people when they really need you to be. Above all it’s about trying to cling to one’s morality when everyone around you is behaving selfishly and cruelly.
Did real life experiences bring about any of the plot of this tale?
Just an image: a bunch of cowboys in a valley roasting an old man on a spit. That image spawned the novel. Also, the vampires were inspired by FRIGHT NIGHT (the original) and NEAR DARK (especially the Bill Paxton character).
What about the setting stimulated your imagination?
I absolutely love the Old West. That lawless setting served as a beautiful backdrop for this tale. People love westerns because they truly lay bare the human psyche, both its nobility and its depravity.
What are some of your favorite vampire books?
I am Legend
The Light at the End
Some of Your Blood
Who influenced you most in the writing of the book?
The western aspects were inspired by Elmore Leonard, Cormac McCarthy, Larry McMurtry, and Joe R. Lansdale. The horror came from my imagination and the aforementioned vampire novels.
Is there any advice you can give someone starting to write?
You will only succeed if you love it, if you burn to write. If you’re not passionate about it, you need to get out, because that passion and determination will keep you going when things go badly. And they will go badly. You’ll be rejected, you’ll be discouraged, you’ll be told you’re not good enough. You’ll likely experience soul-sucking self-doubt. But if you love it enough, you’ll stay with it. That’s how you climb. By not quitting.
Where did you write?
Like most of my novels, this one was written in my home, in my writing room. It’s an inspiring setting filled with books and an aura of magic.
Did you write in silence, or to any particular music?
I write to Baroque music. It’s the perfect fusion of mystery, passion, and energy, and listening to it, the words just flow from my fingertips to the page. It also drowns out the ambient noise that I sometimes find distracting.
What are you writing now?
At the moment I’m writing a top-secret novel that's going as well as anything I've ever written. In addition to that, I'm editing the second CHILDREN OF THE DARK book and editing another novel named MARLA, which is probably the creepiest thing I've ever written.
Thank you to Jonathan for taking the time to speak to us about his writing practices, his inspirations and telling us a little about Dust Devil's. You can pick up this new FLAME TREE PRESS edition of his book, along with the other June releases now. It will be available in paperback, hardback and ebook. Check out our website for details.
Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard, which explains everything. Brian Keene named his debut novel The Sorrows "the best horror novel of 2012." The Library Journal deemed his follow-up, House of Skin, "reminiscent of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub's Ghost Story."