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Thursday, October 29, 2015

31 Days of Horror: Day 29-- God of Lovecraft Jonathan Maberry Interview

Welcome to The Gods of Lovecraft blog-a-thon within a blog-a-thon.  From the first post:
Over 9 of the next 10 days I will be featuring 10 of the 12 authors in this collection. Each has answered a series of questions from me about their God, why they picked it, what their favorite scary books are, and more.  It’s very similar to the posts I have been running by authors all month, just with a Lovercraftian spin. Expect each day’s post to bring you a handful of new authors and titles to add to your arsenal of books you can suggest to patrons. 
Our final author is Jonathan Maberry. Readers of this blog know that I proclaimed Maberry [along with Joe Hill] as the King of 21st Century horror back in 2012 in my book. I went out on a limb by writing that; in fact, I had to defend it to my editors. Thankfully, I was not the only one to see his potential as all he has done every single day since is prove me right. From winning awards, to becoming a full fledged NYT bestselling author, to landing on the cover of Publisher’s Weekly earlier this year, if you do not know Maberry, you do not know horror. Click here to see the many, many times I have written about Maberry and/or reviewed his work.

Please remember you can also enter for a chance to win one of two copies of The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft by emailing me at zombiegrl75 [at] gmail [dot] com by today at 11:59pm.

Tomorrow I will be back to begin the final 2 day wrap up of this year’s 31 Days of Horror.

Who are you?
I’m Jonathan Maberry, a New York Times bestselling author, comic book writer and anthology editor. I write for a living, having tried other less charming professions like actor in musical theater (as it turns out, you need ‘talent’), bodyguard (got stabbed, chopped with a meat cleaver and run over), bouncer in a strip club (it’s not at all like they show in the movies), and college teacher (grading papers sucks!). I’ve written a couple of dozen novels, a slew of nonfiction books on subjects ranging from women’s self-defense to the folklore of supernatural predators. I’ve also sold poetry, greeting cards, and a couple of experimental plays.

Who is your favorite horror author [besides Lovecraft]?
I’ve been a fan of horror, in all of its many variations, since I was a kid. I started out reading the old EC comics my brother left when he went off to Viet Nam, and then moved into the Warren books, EERIE, CREEPY and VAMPIRELLA. Around the same time I began devouring everything by Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch, and Shirley Jackson. A bit later I got hooked on Stephen King, Graham Masterton, James Herbert, and William Peter Blatty.

I actually got to know a bunch of the top horror writers of the late sixties/early seventies thanks to my middle school librarian, who was secretary for a couple of clubs of pro writers. I met Ray Bradbury and Richard Matheson –and they mentored me for three years. I also met Harlan Ellison, James Blish, L. Sprague De Camp, and a bunch of others. Most of those guys, knowing that I wanted to be a writer, made a point of bringing me shopping bags filled with books –science fiction, fantasy and horror. And it was through L. Sprague De Camp that I first learned of H.P. Lovecraft.

Why do you like to write horror?
Horror allows us to explore the complexities of our minds. We are fearful creatures by nature. We come into the world totally helpless, and much of out life is spent trying to understand life’s mysteries, protect against its threats, and build walls of personal security. Even a guy like me –six-four, built like Bigfoot, and an 8th degree black belt—feels fear of one kind or another every day. Anyone who says they are totally fearless is either lying or delusional.

So in fiction we get to take our fears and examine them, deconstruct them, play with them, understand them, and even have some fun with them. We get to pose ‘what if’ questions about threats large and small. And we can write that story all the way to a point of closure –and the real world doesn’t always allow that.

This is not to say that horror should always have a tidy ending or a happy resolution. Not at all, but in the process of writing the story we take ownership of it. We control the fearful elements and direct those forces elsewhere.

And, also, let’s face it, we all like to stretch out hand out to the fire or lean a little too close to the tiger’s cage. Fear is also a great stimulant. I didn’t start skydiving because I liked the geographical perspective. I was in it for the adrenaline rush. The thrill. The fear.

Which “God” did you focus on in the Anthology? What features of this god do you find most interesting?
I wrote about the Night Gaunts. They’re sly and creepy, and Lovecraft never really let us climb inside their heads. They are guardian spirits, but they’re also monsters and like most Lovecraftian cosmic beings, not at all to be trusted. Also, one of the first Lovecraft drawings I ever did was of a Night Gaunt. Wish I still had it, but I gave it to a girl a long time ago. I’m sure the fact that she broke up with me a few weeks later had nothing at all to do with it.

Please share some of the authors you are reading and enjoying now.
These days most of my friends are horror or suspense writers, so it’s hard to pick favorites. At the top of my must-have lists are Christopher Golden, Tim Lebbon, Joe McKinney, Weston Ochse, Joe Lansdale, and a slew of others. Horror makes up a huge chunk of my reading list, and any slate of favorites I name will be woefully incomplete.

What other works do you have out now?
Prior to 2006 I was a nonfiction writer, doing a ton of magazine features, columns, reviews, how-to manuals, college textbooks, and mass market nonfic books. My first novel, GHOST ROAD BLUES, debuted in 2006 and was followed by two sequels, DEAD MAN’S SONG and BAD MOON RISING. They were straight horror set in a small Pennsylvania town. Since then I’ve jumped around through different genres. I like the fast-lane and I have a very energetic agent. I write the Joe Ledger thrillers, of which PATIENT ZERO was the first and the recent PREDATOR ONE is the 7th. I just finished the 8th and am doing research on the 9th; and we’re in development for a feature film. I wrote five books of the ROT & RUIN post-apocalyptic zombie series for teens (also slated to be a feature film); two adult zombie novels –DEAD OF NIGHT and FALL OF NIGHT; the novelization of the remake of THE WOLFMAN; and a standalone Steampunk alt-history supernatural western, GHOSTWALKERS, based on the Deadlands role-playing game. I created the V-Wars shared world vampire series, which is in prose and comic book form and is in development for TV. My most recent anthology was THE X-FILES: TRUST NO ONE.

What are you working on currently?

I’m in the busiest phase of my career right now. I’m writing a space travel novel for older teens, and stacked up behind that are several projects including DOGS OF WAR (Joe Ledger #9); a teen bodyguard thriller, WATCH OVER ME; and GLIMPSE, a standalone horror-suspense novel for the mainstream audience. I’m editing several anthologies, including OUT OF TUNE Vol II (stories inspired by classic folk ballads), SCARY OUT THERE (teen horror), V-WARS volumes 4 and 5; and two more volumes of THE X-FILES short stories. I also have several comic book projects in early development. And a board game version of V-WARS debuts this Christmas.

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