Children of the Dark is one of the most original horror novels of recent years and we got the chance to speak to author Jonathan Janz about the book, his inspiration and the incoming sequel.
Tell us where a story like Children of the Dark comes from?
Much of it originated in my childhood. The house in which Will and Peach live was my exact house growing up. And like Will’s property, mine was bordered by a dark and creepy forest (in which I had a couple different forts). Will is poor; I was poor. Will is good at baseball; I was a decent athlete. Will crushes on a girl who’s out of reach; I did that pretty regularly. There are quite a similarities.
Without giving too much away there are two narratives throughout the story, how hard was it to make them a coherent story?
I have to admit–I had some help with that. While the story was of course all mine, my agent and her team pointed out to me that the two parallel plots could use some more connective tissue. That suggestion ended up spawning one of the coolest facets of the book: Carl Padgett’s kinship with the Children. But aside from that, the way they coalesced was very organic and a joy to watch as it unfolded.
Are there any characters from books or films you based any characters on?
Absolutely! Great question. I often “cast” my books with movie stars or allow movie stars to influence my characterization of my characters. For Will and Chris and Barley, I was powerfully influenced by STAND BY ME and, respectively, Wil Wheaton (hence, Will), River Phoenix (Chris Chambers=Chris), and Corey Feldman (Barley). Sadly, there’s no Vern in CHILDREN OF THE DARK.
How do you find the writing process?
I love it. Every part of it. Truly. I love the discovery of ideas, the process of finding the story, the writing of the tale, the editing, the parts that come after like holding the book in your hand and interacting with fans. I love all of it.
Are there any plans for a follow up book?
As luck would have it, I’m about 55% of the way done with the second novel in the series and should be done by April. The editing will take awhile, but I’m guessing it’ll be published some time in the first half of 2019.
What has been your favourite story to write so far?
Wow. Great question, but a tough question. I’m enjoying the process more and more as I get older, maybe because I have more confidence now than I used to have. I’m loving the sequel to CHILDREN OF THE DARK, and I had a great deal of fun writing a book recently called NIGHTMARE WORLD. I haven’t yet shown that one to my agent, but I loved writing it and have high hopes for it.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
A few things: One, read and write. You have to do those things consistently to get better and to find your voice. Secondly, be very careful about whose advice you take. There are many who speak with authority about subjects they know little about. Don’t get caught up in that negativity, and find the teachers/mentors who inspire you. Lastly, give yourself permission to suck. The first draft doesn’t have to be perfect or even readable. Just get the story down. You can always go back later and improve it.
Are you a fan of horror, if so what are your favourites?
Big time. Stephen King is my all-time favorite. After him, I’d choose Joe R. Lansdale, Jack Ketchum, Brian Keene, J.K. Rowling, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Ramsey Campbell, Gillian Flynn, and too many others to name.
Buy Children of the Dark HERE