Friday, December 11, 2015

Jonathan Janz & Wolf Land


Not long ago I got to review Wolf Land by Jonathan Janz. I loved it! A lot,,,, So much so that it will be included in Horror Maiden's Top Twelve Books of 2015. When I got a chance to interview Jonathan Janz for the Oh, for the Hook of a Book blog tour I just about did a happy dance. I've included my review and a giveaway link after the interview. Read on & follow the tour to learn more about Jonathan and just ignore that howling coming from outside,,,

Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard, and in a way, that 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."

2013 saw the publication of his novel of vampirism and demonic possession The Darkest Lullaby, as well as his serialized horror novel Savage Species. Of Savage Species, Publishers Weekly said, "Fans of old-school splatterpunk horror--Janz cites Richard Laymon as an influence, and it shows--will find much to relish." Jonathan's Kindle Worlds novel Bloodshot: Kingdom of Shadows marked his first foray into the superhero/action genre.

Jack Ketchum called his vampire western Dust Devils a "Rousing-good weird western," and his sequel to The Sorrows (Castle of Sorrows) was selected one of 2014's top three novels by Pod of Horror. 2015 saw the release of The Nightmare Girl, which prompted Pod of Horror to call Jonathan "Horror's Next Big Thing." His newest release is Wolf Land, which Publishers Weekly called “gruesome yet entertaining gorefest” with “an impressive and bloody climax.” He has also written four novellas (Exorcist Road, The Clearing of Travis Coble, Old Order, and Witching Hour Theatre) and several short stories.

His primary interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children, and though he realizes that every author's wife and children are wonderful and amazing, in this case the cliché happens to be true. You can learn more about Jonathan at You can also find him on Facebook, via @jonathanjanz on Twitter, or on his Goodreads and Amazon author pages.

HM: Tell me a little about yourself.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog!

Well, I’m a writer, obviously, but more important than that, I’m a husband and a father, and those roles mean more to me than anything in the world. I’m also a teacher, which means my writing schedule is more erratic than I want it to be. But I love both of my jobs.
HM: I loved that your werewolves in Wolf Land were terrifying. What did you like best about writing such an unapologetic monster?

I liked that they felt true. It sounds paradoxical, but there’s more truth in fiction than most people realize. Therefore, it’s absolutely paramount for the author to always strive for truth. The truth of the story, the truth about the characters, the truth about human nature. And the truth about bloodthirsty lycanthropes.
Telling the truth in this case required venturing into some very dark places, darker than I’d ever visited. That was difficult. But I’m very thankful that I went there because I can be proud of what’s on the page.
HM: What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Hobbies?
I’m probably the most boring, predictable dude in the world, but that’s fine by me. When I’m not teaching or spending time with my family, I’m writing. If I’m not doing that, I might be visiting my ninety-one-year-old grandparents, lifting weights, or…spending more time with my family. I don’t really get out much.

HM: How long have you been writing?
Good question, but a tough one. I knew when I was a senior in high school I wanted to be a writer. I dabbled in writing in my twenties but because I was getting my degrees, starting a family, and coaching, I didn’t get serious about it until about seven years ago. At that time, I had the desire, but I didn’t have the skill or experience. So after being rejected mercilessly for three years or so, I final got my first big acceptance from Don D’Auria at Samhain. Things have been steadily building since then.
HM: Who or what inspired you to be a writer?
Stephen King. Oh, my family had a lot to do with it, and my childhood played a major role, but more than anyone else, it was Stephen King who opened that door for me. I wasn’t even a reader until the summer before my freshman year, when I picked up THE TOMMYKNOCKERS and was, for the first time, transported by a book. I proceeded to devour everything Stephen King wrote (I’m still devouring his work, by the way), and over time, I realized that this was what I wanted to do for a living. If I ever meet him, I’ll probably be a stuttering idiot, but I’ll hopefully be able to thank him too. He changed my life.
HM: What do you find most challenging and enjoyable as an author?
Interacting with fans is awesome, as is meeting my writing heroes. A few years ago, if you’d told me I’d be in contact with Brian Keene, Joe R. Lansdale, Edward Lee, Jack Ketchum, and F. Paul Wilson, I would’ve bellowed laughter. I’ll never get over being a huge fan of those guys, but it has been a revelation to learn how extremely kind they are too.
As far as writing itself is concerned…I love the discovery writing entails. From the earliest conception of a story to the final edits, writing is all about the discovery of a world that never existed before. The characters, places, and events are all new entities, and the fact of that new energy and life just blows my mind. I love the process of handing over the story to my characters, and I love the arduous, glorious process of fine-tuning a book. Searching for the right word. Enhancing the dialogue. Extracting the errant word and finding the best metaphor to describe a smell. I love all of it, every last bit of the process.
HM: What books do you enjoy in your free time?
I read widely, but probably two thirds of what I tackle is dark in nature. Over the past month or so I’ve read Gillian Flynn, Brian Keene, John Sandford, Agatha Christie, Michael McDowell, J.K. Rowling, and M.R. James.
I also read a ton of Stephen King, Elmore Leonard, Joe R. Lansdale, Jack Ketchum, Richard Laymon, Ray Bradbury, and too many others to name. If I don’t read at least an hour a night, I feel incomplete.
HM: Who is your favorite author/book and why?
My favorite author will always be Stephen King. He simply touches my heart and stirs my imagination the way no other author can. With regard to favorite book, I’d have to choose Ray Bradbury’s DANDELION WINE. I view that novel as love on paper. There’s the relationship between a grandson and his grandparents in that book. There’s the heartbreak of a friend moving away forever. There’s a chilling chapter that shows how frightening Bradbury could be when he wanted to be. And there’s another chapter about an atypical romance that, in some ways, is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read. It involves lime-vanilla ice cream…
HM: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t let “don’t” steal your joy. In other words, don’t fill your head so full of “DON’T DO THAT—EVER!” that you become self-conscious. Yes, it’s important to learn all the rules, and yes, there are habits you’ll want to break or avoid, but the vast majority of writing advice on the net and elsewhere focuses on what not to do rather than what you should do. That’s because it’s easier to tear down than to build.
I’d also argue that the best way to learn how to write is to learn how to read. By this I mean reading as a writer. I’m exceptionally choosy about what I read because I have to be learning as I’m reading. If an author can’t teach me something, I don’t waste my time with him/her. Every time I pick up a Cormac McCarthy story, I learn something. Same with John Steinbeck. I read, consider, and adapt what I’ve absorbed to fit my own style and voice.
HM: Can you tell us about any of your new work?
Absolutely! 2016 will see the publication of at least three books: CHILDREN OF THE DARK, EXORCIST FALLS, and the release of a brand-new version of a novella called WITCHING HOUR THEATRE. Additionally, I’ll be starting my first ever “big series” of books, which I’m beyond amped about, and I’ll be finishing a novel called THE DARK GAME. I have three other book ideas I’m dying to write in 2016—I just hope I can find the time!
HM: What question do you wish someone would ask and what is the answer?
Can we make WOLF LAND into a movie, and the answer is yes.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I had a blast!
HM: You are so welcome Jonathan!

Wolf Land by Jonathan Janz [5 stars]

From the Description

An unholy predator on the prowl!

The small town of Lakeview offers little excitement for Duane, Savannah, and their friends. They’re about to endure their ten-year high school reunion when their lives are shattered by the arrival of an ancient, vengeful evil.

The werewolf.

The first attack leaves seven dead and four wounded. And though the beast remains on the loose and eager to spill more blood, the sleepy town is about to face an even greater terror. Because the four victims of the werewolf’s fury are changing. They’re experiencing unholy desires and unimaginable cravings. They’ll prey on the innocent. They’ll act on their basest desires. Soon, they’ll plunge the entire town into a nightmare. Lakeview is about to become Wolf Land.

I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this book.

Wolf Land is not my first book by Jonathan Janz but it is my favorite so far. Fans of great werewolf stories will be slavering to sink their teeth into this well written and gruesome book. This is action packed horror at it's finest! As I read this novel I got extremely annoyed every time something would interrupt me, only the best books elicit that response. Some of the scenes in this novel were incredibly horrific and not for the faint of heart, but if you love your horror gritty and terrifying like I do you won't be able to put it down. Jonathan Janz has created a realistic world and peopled it with characters that could be people you know then introduces a whole new werewolf legend to rip them to shreds. I highly recommend this relentlessly fast paced story. A hair raising 5 star read.
Buy Wolf Land

Praise for Wolf Land and Janz

"One of the best writers in modern horror to come along in the last decade. Janz is one of my new favorites." –Brian Keene, best-selling author

“It’s the best of its kind I’ve read in years, such that I’d call it “The Quintessential Haunted House Novel.” You’ve taken the old school traditions of the form which readers want and then have injected modern style, characters, and macabre, hard-edged mayhem into the guts of the story. THAT’S the way to do it, my friend!”-Author Edward Lee on HOUSE OF SKIN

“Jonathan Janz is one of the rare horror novelists who can touch your heart while chilling your spine. His work offers incisive characters, sharp dialogue, and more scares than a deserted graveyard after midnight. If you haven’t read his fiction, you’re missing out on one the best new voices in the genre.” –Tim Waggoner Reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story, this should please readers who appreciate a good haunting.”
—The Library Journal

“Jonathan Janz is one of the rare horror novelists who can touch your heart while chilling your spine. His work offers incisive characters, sharp dialogue, and more scares than a deserted graveyard after midnight. If you haven’t read his fiction, you’re missing out on one the best new voices in the genre.”
–Tim Waggoner, author

“A 10-year high school reunion is the catalyst for lots of furry, toothy scares in this gruesome yet entertaining gorefest.” –Publishers Weekly

"Probably the best werewolf novel I've read in a decade."- Pete Kahle, author of The Specimen

"If you like werewolves, you will think you have died and gone to heaven. Highly recommended." -Confessions of a Reviewer

"This fast-paced read was a frenzy of carnality in epic proportions. Visceral and surreal, Janz has outdone himself with this newest title."
-Nikki, Horror After Dark

"For years now, the werewolf has been hijacked by the shifter romance genre. Well, Jonathan Janz has claimed a bloody morsel back for the horror genre!"
-2 Book Lovers Reviews

"Janz is the literary love child of Richard Laymon and Jack Ketchum (with a little Joe Lansdale DNA in the mix), with all the terror that implies. Try him out. You won't be disappointed." -Pod of Horror

“Jonathan Janz has created a realistic world and peopled it with characters that could be people you know then introduces a whole new werewolf legend to rip them to shreds. I highly recommend this relentlessly fast paced story. A hair raising 5 star read.” –Horror Maiden Book Reviews


Enter to win ONE (1) print copy signed by Jonathan Janz of WOLF LAND! Click the link to enter. There are several things you can do to get multiple entries each day. Forward any questions to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at