Author Jonathan Janz Defines Horror

Today’s a big day for Samhain Horror authors Hunter Shea and Jonathan Janz, whose respective books, Hell Hole and Castle of Sorrows, hit shelves both physical and digital. I’ll be posting something with Hunter in a few weeks regarding both Hell Hole and his recent Kensington release, The Montauk Monster, which is already on my Kindle just aching to be read. Both guys have been supportive of me in my schlep toward publication come November 4, and I can’t wait to meet both at a yet-to-be-determined horror convention down the road.

But today’s post involves Jonathan Janz, which isn’t his real name and I’m still not sure how to refer to him when I write to him. But that’s another story. Isn’t this a kick-ass cover? (Yes.)

Courtesy: Amazon (Lord of Everything)

Courtesy: Amazon (Lord of Everything)

Castle of Sorrows is the sequel to Jonathan’s 2012 release, The Sorrows, which I read, and which involves the thing you see perched in the window frame on the cover. That is not a nice thing. I know, how could a monster with hooves and ram horns be anything but a cuddly Care Bear with a heart on its fluffy belly.

Courtesy: Google (the Other Lord of Everything)

Courtesy: Google (the Other Lord of Everything)

Put it this way, you don’t want to be beat up or have sex with that thing above (the ram-horned monster, not the Care Bear). I’m waiting for my Castle of Sorrows trade paperback to arrive, and I’m sure I’ll dig it, as I do pretty much anything Jonathan writes. What Jonathan’s going to write about here is how he defines horror. I find it to be a difficult-to-define genre. What say you, Jonathan?

“I see horror as a very broad definition that encompasses much more territory than most people would consider horror. For instance, in addition to stories and films that deal with the fear of physical mortality, I’d expand horror’s reach to narratives that deal with psychological, emotional, or even spiritual horror. Books like King’s ‘SALEM’S LOT, Peter Straub’s GHOST STORY, and Richard Matheson’s HELL HOUSE are almost universally considered horror novels. And I, of course, would agree with that label. However, I also view Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD, Harold Pinter’s THE HOMECOMING, and Arthur Koestler’s DARKNESS AT NOON as horror stories. These stories deal with the shadowy realms of the human mind and the base viciousness of human behavior. The horror I felt during THE HOMECOMING was more powerful than the horror I experience when reading most horror novels. In THE ROAD, McCarthy demonstrates just how terrible and wonderful human beings can be. In DARKNESS AT NOON, Koestler chronicles a slowly unfolding nightmare, and while the political backdrop and social commentary matter, I just see those as further examples of the great potential the genre possesses.

“I suppose this is why I want the genre to be more inclusive rather than exclusive. No, everything is not a horror novel, but horror is far more than a vampire or a mummy or a crazed backwoods cannibal.” ###

Agreed. It’s not about the monsters, as Stephen King once tweeted (I’m sure it was in response to my blog).

Good luck to Jonathan Janz with his latest release! And, Hunter? See you in a few!

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