Castle of Ambition: Walking the Halls of Darkness with Author Jonathan Janz
By Glenn Rolfe
I got a chance to interview one of the most fun and prolific horror writers from the Samhain family, Mr. Jonathan Janz. His debut, The Sorrows, brought him high praise from Brian Keene and a rabid following. He’s tackled ghosts, vampire westerns (Dust Devils), serial novels (Savage Species), and soon, exorcisms (yikes!). I admire his style, his effortless ability to churn out one quality piece after another, and his accessibility. He doesn’t shy away from his fans. You can find him responding on a daily basis to his faithful followers on Facebook or his blog.
This month, Janz returned with his latest effort, Castle of Sorrows, the sequel to his highly praised debut. He took a few moments out of his hectic writing/family schedule to chat with me.
Glenn Rolfe: Thanks for taking the time, man.
Jonathan Janz: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me!
GR: What was your main profession prior to writing? Do you still work, or is it full-time writing for you?
JJ: I’m a high school and junior high English, Film Literature, and Creative Writing teacher. I write during summers, before school, and after my family has gone to sleep.
GR: What really kick started your interest in this gig?
JJ: Stephen King and a car crash. When I discovered King when I was fourteen, I discovered the joy of reading. When I crashed my car during my eighteenth year and nearly died, I spent several weeks in bed with nothing to do but read and write. I realized I loved to write, even though I wasn’t any good at it back then.
GR: Your talent seems so natural. What really helped your writing early on? When did you think ‘I can do this’?
JJ: Thanks, Glenn! I had several people who encouraged me. My family, some teachers…but I still doubted myself until some people I really trusted to be objective—Don D’Auria, Louise Fury, and Brian Keene, to name three—said positive things about my work.
GR: Those are some pretty nice people to listen to.
Your vocabulary is off the charts. I find myself looking up words pretty regularly in your novels. Where did this come from and where can I get some?
JJ: Hah! Thanks again, Glenn. It’s all organic for me from my reading. Like you, I’m in love with the language, and when I read a word I really like, it sort of sticks in my brain and germinates and awaits the right moment to be called into action. But it has to fit; otherwise, it’s just pretentiousness. Most of the words I find myself writing down in my daily life are normal words that I’ve simply neglected to use. Words like indicated or slashed.
Don’t stop here, because Glenn Rolfe and Jonathan Janz continue their friendly chat, and you’re definitely going to want to read this beauty in its entirety, there’s a lot of excellent info disclosed throughout the full interview. And you can do that by visiting Glenn’s page by following this very link!