Southern Horror Yahoo Group

AHWA chats with Jonathan Maberry


[MartyY] Hi Jonathan, welcome to Australia

[ANW] 3 minutes to official chat start

[MartyY] It's about 3 degrees outside, too

[Jonathan Maberry] Happy to be here, Marty

[Troy Barnes] Hi everyone

[MartyY] Hi Troy

[ANW] Hi Troy

[Charles S] Hey, It's supposed to be -2 degrees in Canberra

[Troy Barnes] freezing here 2nite in Tasmania brrrr!!

[Talie Helene] Yes, I must say - I'm in Sydney this week - so much for getting away from the cold. I may have accidentally packed Melbourne weather. Sorry Marty.

[ashamel] I had a friend in from Singapore. Bit of a shock

[ANW] Well I'm sitting here in a t-shirt in WA - fairly mild as usual.

[Talie Helene] Bastard.

[ashamel] How about PA?

[ANW] OK 7:30

[Jonathan Maberry] It's in the fifties and raining. Appropriately gloomy

[ANW] ready

[Jonathan Maberry] Yep

[ANW] Please welcome Jonathan Maberry. Jonathan Maberry is a multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author. A professional writer and writing teacher and since 1979, he has sold more than 1100 articles, twenty non-fiction books, six novels, as well as short stories,

[Talie Helene] I don't know F'heit temps, so I just imagine you in the 1950s.

[Jonathan Maberry] Good morning, folks!

[ANW] Also, thank you to Rocky Wood for organising this chat

[Troy Barnes] Morning/Evening

[ANW] OK. I will start the ball rolling. Tell us a bit about your book coming out in May?

[Jonathan Maberry] Ah....BAD MOON RISING is the final book in the Pine Deep Trilogy

[Jonathan Maberry] The first of the series was GHOST ROAD BLUES

[Jonathan Maberry] ...the second was DEAD MAN'S SONG.

[rockywood] Ghost Road Blues, for which JM won the Stoker for Superior Achievement in a First Novel

[Jonathan Maberry] The story deals with a town that banks on its reputation as being "the most haunted town in America'

[Jonathan Maberry] (Thanks, Rocky)

[Jonathan Maberry] The town has a long and very troubled history that it's tried to turn around by making it Halloween central....a haunted hayride, attractions, and a big Festival

[ashamel] I can see this ends badly

[Jonathan Maberry] In the first two books we learn that it's a lot more haunted than it says in the tourist brochures...

[Jonathan Maberry] and in the third, during the Festival, an army of the undead and living dead attack the town

[BT] has HorrorScope reviewed the first two? Will we be reviewing the third?

[Jonathan Maberry] I don't know, but I'm certainly open to any reviews!

[Troy Barnes] After looking into the Pine Deep Trilogy on your website.. I was wondering 2 things.. Do you feel more pressure when writing the rest of a trilogy when your readers loved the 1st book? and was it hard to let the characters go when you had finished all 3?

[Jonathan Maberry] It was very hard to let them go. I've been with them for years and have gotten pretty emotionally involved in their lives

[Jonathan Maberry] But...we had to say goodbye

[Jonathan Maberry] And, of course, I had to kill a lot of them off

[Troy Barnes] haha

[Jonathan Maberry] Few people are safe in my books.

[Troy Barnes] that's the fun part

[ashamel] They are pretty substantial in size (well, except compared to the Stand and various fantasy bricks). Is that a good length to be writing at?

[Jonathan Maberry] It was when the series was sold (in 2005)...

[ashamel] Either for what publishers want, or for your own creativity?

[Jonathan Maberry] ...since then editors are scaling way back on book length due to the rising oil prices, which in turn impacts book production

[Jonathan Maberry] The paper industry runs on oil, shipping runs on oil...

[ashamel] Wow. Hadn't heard that one

[BT] Just what we need--more obstacles

[Jonathan Maberry] So, now thriller writers are being asked to cap at about 140,000 words, and horror at about 100-110k words

[Talie Helene] That's something I'd not heard either. Makes the Kindle more attractive.

[Jonathan Maberry] It does.

[ANW] I like a book though.

[MartyY] the problems of being a petroleum-based society

[Troy Barnes] You have a great quote comparing your books to the ever Awesome Stephen King ( love his work)... but do you think the comparisons to King are being used to often for too many authors these days?

[Jonathan Maberry] And the kindle, much as I hate it on one level, will sell more individual "copies" of books

[Talie Helene] Yes, bring on the edible wearable protein-rich hemp books!

[Jonathan Maberry] The King comparison is interesting. I don't think I write like King. Or like any of the other authors to whom I've been compared (Peter Straub, Robert McCammon, etc.)

[Troy Barnes] Is it more a publishers thing then... to get ppl to read new work?

[Jonathan Maberry] ...or they draw comparisons to other well known authors in the genre.

[Talie Helene] Those are tasty comparisons to have.

[Jonathan Maberry] It's great for sales, though. My editor was delighted...and I was flattered.

[ashamel] It always struck me that the best writers were always very distinct from each other

[Jonathan Maberry] I told King that when I met him last year at the Edgar Awards

[Troy Barnes] an editor delighted is always a good thing I'm sure

[Jonathan Maberry] He joked about me being "a pretender to the throne"

[ashamel] What about the publishers themselves? Do they try to steer you in any direction?

[rockywood] JM, you had a very clear VOICE in the Pine Deep Trilogy. How easy will it be to change voice (or will you) for your next fiction project

[Jonathan Maberry] Let me answer Ashamel's question first...

[ANW] Isn't that also a change in genre?


[Jonathan Maberry] My editors don't try to shape my writing in any specific direction, but my agent conspires with me to shape book pitches that way

[Jonathan Maberry] Because the pitch has to make editors (and the marketing department) recognize that the book in question will appeal to a specific and established readership.

[Jonathan Maberry] Now as to Rocky's question...

[Jonathan Maberry] As to voice...I let the story dictate the voice.

[ashamel] Does it descend into 'high concept'?

[Jonathan Maberry] The book I just finished, PATIENT ZERO, is the first of a series of bio-terrorism novels I'm writing for St Martins Press.

[ashamel] Excellent

[Jonathan Maberry] Different characters, different mood, and definitely a different voice

[Jonathan Maberry] It's also written in first person, which changes the way in which you can use elements like foreshadowing, descriptive language, etc.

[Jonathan Maberry] I'm also writing for the mainstream thriller market, which demands a faster-paced book, even though it's also 140k words

[ANW] Do you think you will get readers of your horror trilogy to cross over, or are you aiming at a different group

[Jonathan Maberry] As far as the 'high concept'....that isn't a descent if handled correctly.

[Jonathan Maberry] You take a concept that you find topical and fascinating and explore it to find the hook that makes it fascinating to the reader, while at the same time the burden is on you to write it with your best skill and insight

[Troy Barnes] What have you gained the most satisfaction from? throwing your full speed imagination into fiction... or gaining information for non-fiction?

[Jonathan Maberry] Wait...I missed the crossover question

[Jonathan Maberry] Yes, I do expect them to follow me (I hope)...because the new book does deal with a kind of horror element.

[Jonathan Maberry] Terrorists have a plague that turns people into zombies. It's all medically explained, but the zombie element should draw some or most of my readers with me

[ashamel] I'm there

[Talie Helene] Sounds like horror to me.

[ANW] OK I see the connection now.

[Jonathan Maberry] Troy's question was about satisfaction...

[Troy Barnes] ... smiles when zombies are mentioned!!

[Andrew_McK] On fiction vs non-fiction - or, I was thinking, is the non-fiction a product of the research you might do anyway for your fiction?

[Jonathan Maberry] Talie I'll come back to that point in a second because it needs to be discussed.

[Jonathan Maberry] But let me address Troy's question....

[ANW] OK everyone. Please wait for Jonathan to answer all the questions

[Jonathan Maberry] I get satisfaction from both. They each come with their own fun and challenge

[Jonathan Maberry] Right now I'm reading the proof pages for ZOMBIE CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead, the nonfic book I have due out this August from Citadel Press.

[Jonathan Maberry] I LOVE this book. I also wrote it in a different voice than I used in my other books.

[MartyY] that book sounds so intriguing

[Jonathan Maberry] And it includes interviews and commentary from everyone from Max Brooks to Tony Todd to Brian Keene.

[Troy Barnes] Sounds VERY cool indeed!

[Jonathan Maberry] Plus interviews with 250 experts in forensics, law enforcement, medicine and the military.

[ANW] When can we buy this book?

[Jonathan Maberry] I had a great time writing it.

[Jonathan Maberry] It just went up on Amazon for pre-order, and it'll land in bookstores on August 26

[Talie Helene] Yeah, sounds like a great non-fiction gig.

[Jonathan Maberry] It was a total blast. And I allowed my own smartass sense of humor to creep in

[MartyY] so are zombies possible?

[Talie Helene] You mean it creeps out?

[Jonathan Maberry] Not poking fun at the genre (god forbid) but having so much fun with it

[Troy Barnes] Don't tell Bush if they are!! haha

[Jonathan Maberry] The issue of whether zombies are possible is nicely covered by the experts.

[Jonathan Maberry] They make a good case for the Romero zombies.

[Jonathan Maberry] The fast zombies are nixed because no contagion can spread fast enough to do what's shown in films like 28 days Later and the remake of Dawn of the Dead.

[Jonathan Maberry] But...that's all covered in the book

[ashamel] I blame nanobots

[Jonathan Maberry] Researching that gave me the inspiration for PATIENT ZERO, which was my biggest book deal (by far)

[Jonathan Maberry] And it will launch a series with a new hero, Joe Ledger -former cop and now leader of Echo Team, a division of the Department of Military Sciences.

[Jonathan Maberry] Joe's fun to write because he's a lot tougher than Crow or Ruger from the Pine Deep novels, but he's an emotional junkyard, too

[Jonathan Maberry] We already have cover quotes from David Morrell, James Rollins, etc.... and it's being read by Peter Straub, Clive Cussler, and a mixed bunch of thriller and horror writers

[Jonathan Maberry] Talie...what was the question you asked earlier?

[Jonathan Maberry] Oh, yes...about it sounding like horror.

[Jonathan Maberry] That's a crucial issue in book sales these days.

[kylaw] Ah, the sounds of horror...

[Talie Helene] Ah, I hadn't actually lobbed in with a proper question -- but you mentioned there was a point about the thriller/s being horror....

[Jonathan Maberry] Pitching 'horror', especially in the American book market is about as good a career step as pitching a book on strangling puppies.

[Jonathan Maberry] No one wants to hear it.

[Talie Helene] the SOUND of horror is interesting.

[Jonathan Maberry] But they'll buy supernatural thrillers, dark fantasy, paranormal romance, mainstream supernatural suspense....

[Jonathan Maberry] All of which are horror under other names

[Charles S] That's ironic because I think it's the opposite in film

[kylaw] Oh, I like mainstream supernatural suspense : )

[Jonathan Maberry] In film, horror is a good word.

[Jonathan Maberry] In publishing... it's not. Sadly.

[rockywood] exactly the point JM is making was made by one published author after another at World Horror Convention last month

[Jonathan Maberry] My friends who pitch HORROR, and insist on the word... get advances that encourage them to keep their day job.

[ashamel] What is the market like for non-fiction horror?

[ashamel] There seems to be a fair bit of it

[Jonathan Maberry] I pitched GHOST ROAD BLUES and its sequels as 'supernatural thrillers'...and now writing is my day job.

[Charles S] The problem is that thematically books are way ahead of the films.

[Jonathan Maberry] Non-fiction horror, as a market, does not really exist.

[Jonathan Maberry] My books are all on the 'New Age/Occult' shelves.

[Jonathan Maberry] They're even going to put ZOMBIE CSU there

[Jonathan Maberry] Which I find absurd

[Jonathan Maberry] Of course, marketing departments don't consult authors. After all...what do we know about books?

[Troy Barnes] For myself, who is starting to try and push himself out there into the market, I look at what you have achieved and I am REALLY impressed.... but is success what drives you, or more the pure enjoyment now of being able to write and be read?


[Jonathan Maberry] Good question

[Talie Helene] But kind of delightful, given New Age is cousins with Self Help.

[Jonathan Maberry] And both the author and the mercenary in me will answer

[Jonathan Maberry] I write for a living. I need to pay bills and support the family.

[Troy Barnes] omg there are 2 of him hehe

[Jonathan Maberry] That said, I also write what I want to write. I've just learned the tricks of pitching what I write so that it SOUNDS like what the publishers want to publish

[Jonathan Maberry] No one can look at BAD MOON RISING and say it's not a horror novel

[ashamel] Certainly you have the H word on the copy of Dead Man's Song I have here

[Jonathan Maberry] I have an army of vampires and zombies attacking a town. There are ghosts and werewolves in the story. People get eaten and over a thousand people get killed by supernatural predators.

[Jonathan Maberry] Sounds like horror to me.

[Talie Helene] Indeed.

[ANW] I should mention that Jonathan sells a CD full of details on writing and pitching novels.

[Jonathan Maberry] Ashamel....if you look on the spine of the book, you don't see the word horror.

[Andrew_McK] But when they accept a 'supernatural thriller' pitch for Bad Moon Rising, and then deliver horror, what do the publishers say?

[ashamel] Do things like Stoker Awards help marketing?

[BT] So has your agent help in learning the tricks of the pitch or is this something we writers have to figure out?

[Jonathan Maberry] It's 'FICTION'.

[Jonathan Maberry] Pinnacle Books no longer even has a horror line.

[ashamel] (My great plan is to win some Stokers, purely for marketing reasons)

[Jonathan Maberry] The authors allowed the transition to Fiction or they did not have their contracts renewed

[Jonathan Maberry] The Stoker wins are great (I'm still smiling), but they didn't help me much with Pinnacle Books.

[Jonathan Maberry] Pinnacle doesn't do a lot of author support

[Charles S] Crime is big at the moment. Ever thought about going there?

[Jonathan Maberry] But they didn't hurt at all when my agent pitched to St Martins.

[Jonathan Maberry] Charles... funny you should ask about crime...

[Troy Barnes] speaking of Stoker wins. I loved the small Video of you Rocky. You did well mate!

[BT] ANW or Jonathon: What's the CD called and where do we grab a copy?

[Jonathan Maberry] It's a genre I've always wanted to crack, and my agent has a pitch now for a series of crime novels about a couple of strip-club bouncers who become bodyguards

[Jonathan Maberry] Based in part on my own checkered past

[Jonathan Maberry] I introduce the characters, by the way, in BAD MOON RISING

[Jonathan Maberry] BK and Billy Christmas.

[Jonathan Maberry] BT...what CD?

[ANW] What about the CD - How do we gat our hands on that?


[Jonathan Maberry] Ah...those

[rockywood] Troy, any good zombie programmed by his author/creator. Woops, that was a story-line I meant to work on

[Talie Helene] As a writer, how important is it to have a "checkered past" -- has living beyond certain boundaries [corporate, whatever] informed your writing in a way that you feel is -- significant?

[Nathan] Mmm. Good question Talie.

[Jonathan Maberry] Forgot about those. They're templates for query letters, book proposals, etc

[Jonathan Maberry] Very popular.

[BT] Thanks

[Jonathan Maberry] I don't handle the sales directly, but they can be ordered from my website. But they're geared toward selling in the U.S. market.

[Talie Helene] Skim up to my question, if it isn't too intrusive.

[BT] noted and link copied for later

[Jonathan Maberry] Ah...well, the checkered past has mostly been useful in interviews. But I've also led a pretty bizarre life, so I get to draw on personal experiences

[Jonathan Maberry] Certainly my track record as a bouncer, bodyguard, martial arts competitor, etc have helped me tailor my fight scenes so they are 100% accurate

[Jonathan Maberry] But I don't advocate applying for work at a strip club as a way of making a book sale!

[Talie Helene] Leigh Redhead did OK out of it.

[Nathan] Others here in Australia have built book careers around it...

[Nathan] Snap!

[Talie Helene] (Leigh is lovely, by the by.)

[Troy Barnes] do you feel that there is a need or desire from readers to come up with an original nightmare instead of the tried and true zombies, vampires etc?

[Jonathan Maberry] It all comes down to how well you write. After all in a very real sense we're all retreading the same 20 basic plot forms the Greeks invented three thousand years ago.

[Jonathan Maberry] So originality doesn't depend on a new monster any more than it does on a new plot tweak.

[Troy Barnes] Re-Invention

[Jonathan Maberry] To me it's more like journalism... it's about finding the hook that makes your vision of it different

[Jonathan Maberry] Or the hook that overtly or covertly invites the reader to become part of the storytelling process by meeting the needs/expectations of his imagination with elements that get him thinking

[Nathan] What is the most effective promotional strategy you have employed for a book?

[Jonathan Maberry] Social networking. Myspace and Facebook have been pretty amazing...but they have to be managed

[Jonathan Maberry] I get fifty times the traffic there that I get on my websites

[Jonathan Maberry] Also, blogs are great.

[Andrew_McK] How much time to you spend managing MySpace, Facebook etc?

[Jonathan Maberry] Thirty minutes a day and not one second more.

[Jonathan Maberry] They can consume you if you let them!

[Andrew_McK] discipline, excellent

[Jonathan Maberry] Discipline is key

[ANW] What is your writing day like?

[rockywood] At some point a successful author has to get someone (say a volunteer) to manage their social networking sites - Joe Hill has someone (unpaid) for instance

[BT] How long have you actually been pounding the keys before you made that first important sale? Do you suggest learning the craft through shorts first?

[Jonathan Maberry] I write ten hours a day, Mon through Fri, and maybe two each on weekends.

[Nathan] Ah, another measure of writing success to aspire to

[ANW] ten! What about word count?

[Jonathan Maberry] I take 5 minutes out of each hour to stretch and move around to keep my muscles fresh (sitting for long stretches is NOT good for you)

[Jonathan Maberry] I set a word count that is just below what I know I can easily do.

[Charles S] Are all those writing courses useful, or is writing more about instinct rather than mechanics when writing fiction?

[Jonathan Maberry] So, I'll set a word count of 2500 words every day. I usually do 3-4k, but my target is 2500

[Jonathan Maberry] That way every day I'm meeting and exceeding my goals (which is good for your peace of mind and stress levels)

[Jonathan Maberry] If you set a goal that you have to struggle to meet, then as soon as you start slipping you begin to get tense, and then you start resenting the process.

[Jonathan Maberry] You start hating the book and fearing the deadline.

[Jonathan Maberry] That gets you nowhere.

[MartyY] that's excellent advice

[Jonathan Maberry] I also build in a reward system

[Jonathan Maberry] Whenever I finish a chapter I buy myself a DVD.

[Jonathan Maberry] I have a lot of frickin' DVDs

[Jonathan Maberry] I did this even before I was under contract and getting advances....

[ANW] ooh, I like that reward system.

[Jonathan Maberry] that I always equate completion of work with reward

[Nathan] Pavlov AND the dog

[Jonathan Maberry] Absolutely

[Troy Barnes] I will admit that I have not read any of your work (I feel like some people here might slap me now hmmm)... so what would you say is a great place to start?

[Talie Helene] I do a cheap and nasty version of it with journalism deadlines. It's jumping up and down after a slam dunk.

[Jonathan Maberry] Just because we know it's a mind trick doesn't make it any less effective

[Jonathan Maberry] It's okay, wife hasn't read my horror stuff either

[Jonathan Maberry] Though she really digs the thriller, PATIENT ZERO. Go figure

[Troy Barnes] Wives don't always count do they hehe

[Talie Helene] O mate, will you be sorry when they republish the chat.

[Jonathan Maberry] But to start....if you dig non-fiction, check out VAMPIRE UNIVERSE or CRYPTOPEDIA...they were really written with the intention of selling them as resources for writers.

[Troy Barnes] haha... oh damn.. delete delete

[ANW] We can edit if you wish

[Jonathan Maberry] Though they're marketed as mainstream references

[Jonathan Maberry] For fiction...since I only have three novels out so far, and they're a trilogy...

[Jonathan Maberry] you should start with GHOST ROAD BLUES

[Jonathan Maberry] However....

[rockywood] Both of those VAMPIRE UNIVERSE and CRYPTO I can recommend BTW

[ashamel] Should the Pine Deep trilogy be read in order (says the person who bought the wrong one)?

[Jonathan Maberry] ....I made sure that BAD MOON RISING (the final book of the trilogy) has enough backstory to get even a first time visitor caught up.

[Jonathan Maberry] The books were written to be read in sequence, but my publisher opted not to mention that they're a trilogy.

[Troy Barnes] Well once my Laymon is complete.. I'll be looking for Ghost to check it out

[Jonathan Maberry] It's a marketing decision that annoys the hell out of me

[Jonathan Maberry] But booksellers kind of demand it because numbered books diminish sales.

[Jonathan Maberry] On behalf of writers...GRRRRRRRRRR

[Andrew_McK] The marketing as trilogies seems to be mainly a fantasy thing

[Jonathan Maberry] So, each book has catch-up material in them

[Talie Helene] People get put off by the commitment to three books.

[Jonathan Maberry] BAD MOON RISING has the most catch-up

[ashamel] Crazy, because I certainly looked at the book to try not to make that mistake

[Jonathan Maberry] Talie... some people do get put off by a commitment to three books, but not always

[MartyY] It must be fun writing real people into your novels - how do they react?

[Jonathan Maberry] Ah, that was fun

[Jonathan Maberry] They were all really good sports about it.

[Jonathan Maberry] A couple of them I know pretty well anyway --Stephen Susco, Brinke Stevens, and James Gunn

[Jonathan Maberry] the others are folks I've run into at events

[Jonathan Maberry] None of them turned me down when I asked if I could write them into the story....

[Jonathan Maberry] ...though a few specifically requested I not kill them off.

[Talie Helene] I heard Leigh Child speak at College, and he was discussing readers - and he aims to write "airport novels" - he has a theory that readers get a great sense of accomplishment from finishing a book, especially if they are not avid readers - perhaps they only read three novels a year. A trilogy automatically dissuades that potential readership.

[Jonathan Maberry] That might drop sales by a small percentage...but if so, I haven't noticed. The books have sold very well...and continue to sell well

[Talie Helene] Sure.

[Talie Helene] I'm just rambling!

[ANW] If anyone chooses to pick up a book instead of sit and watch TV they deserve to. It is a much bigger time investment

[Jonathan Maberry] But my new series will be a true series --adventures that don't have to be read in order (like the James Bond novels, etc.)

[Jonathan Maberry] Each one is a standalone with recurring characters and themes

[Jonathan Maberry] The second in that series is one of two books I'm currently writing

[Jonathan Maberry] It's called THE DRAGON FACTORY, and deals with illegal transgenics

[ashamel] Is it easier writing two at a time?

[Jonathan Maberry] I usually do my nonfiction writing in the mornings and my fiction in the afternoon.

[Jonathan Maberry] I'm under contract to produce two books each year

[BT] so 1250 words each?

[MartyY] 2 novels a year?

[Jonathan Maberry] No... I don't cut my word count in half like that... especially since nonfiction books are shorter but require much more research

[Jonathan Maberry] The other book I'm doing is THEY BITE -Supernatural Predators in Folklore, Fiction and Film

[BT] How much does research actually cut into your writing time?

[Jonathan Maberry] It's the 4th of five books I'm writing for Citadel Press, the nonfiction imprint of Kensington Publishing

[Jonathan Maberry] I calculate research into my word count. If I'm honest and am really researching (and not loitering on YouTube) I count an hour's research time as the same word count I would have done had I been writing.

[Andrew_McK] And, does that non-fiction research fire your fiction imagination?

[Jonathan Maberry] Some days, when you're deep into a project, are all research, so you have to balance it that way

[Andrew_McK] Or do you try and separate them?

[Jonathan Maberry] I've been a non-fic writer for thirty years. It was my research into folklore that inspired me to try writing a novel in the first place

[ANW] I like the idea of giving research time a word count

[Jonathan Maberry] And it was researching prion diseases for ZOMBIE CSU that gave me the idea for PATIENT ZERO.

[Troy Barnes] I heard that some publishers were looking at having "paid" product placement put into practice with books, like in movies and TV .... do you think this is a good move? Or do we start to lose something when we start taking this type of path?


[Jonathan Maberry] I don't think it's a good idea, but it's going to happen, just as it happens in movies. If it keeps the publishing industry afloat, I don't have a major objection to it.

[Jonathan Maberry] Though I'd rather not be asked to do it.

[Troy Barnes] Good answer

[Jonathan Maberry] On the other hand, I often put real products in my book because it reinforces the reality of the story framework

[ANW] OK - that is the hour. Are you willing to keep going Jonathan or do you want wind it up?

[Jonathan Maberry] Oh, sure...I never get tired of talking about writing with other writers

[MartyY] sorry, one quick question -

[Jonathan Maberry] And I'm my own I won't be docking my pay by chatting some more

[Troy Barnes] Have you ever had any experience with "freaky" fans who actually worry you?

[BT] just give it a word count

[MartyY] you mentioned something about online classes once you find a suitable chat utility. Any luck on that?

[ashamel] Do you recommend a particular path to getting into non-fic writing?

[Jonathan Maberry] Actually, let me address the word count thing real quick: remember, my count is always lower than my actual production. It gives me time to have fun, too

[Jonathan Maberry] Now, as far as freaks... oh yes.

[Jonathan Maberry] When I did my first nonfic book on vampires I had a delegation of sanguinarians show up at a signing and they were quite pissed with me for having written a book called THE VAMPIRE SLAYERS FIELD GUIDE TO THE UNDEAD

[ashamel] God

[Jonathan Maberry] I even had some threats (via mail...I'm a bit too big to threaten in person)

[Troy Barnes] haha

[Jonathan Maberry] It took intervention on the part of the head of the American vamprie church to get them to dial it down.

[ckbezant] can I ask, do you handle fan mail, etc, or does an agent or assistant do this?

[Troy Barnes] wow

[Jonathan Maberry] Apparently he READ the book and saw that it deal with folkloric vampires, and that my section on sanguinarians was written without judgment.

[kylaw] Like it? I haven't even read it!

[MartyY] American vampire church? There's a whole world out there I know nothing about...

[Jonathan Maberry] As for fan mail...I've had over a dozen threats against my life if I killed off the character of Mike Sweeney in my trilogy

[ckbezant] that's just sad

[Jonathan Maberry] I have to first reaction is to want to kill the kid off as soon as possible. Yes, writers are perverse (that's no surprise to anyone).

[Troy Barnes] I had a cult send me info thinking I would "understand" them.. and all I have done is release 1 self published novel, so that's why I was really curious to see how bad it gets for ppl in the big public eye!

[Jonathan Maberry] But I don't take these things seriously.

[rockywood] Although you could understand if Mike Sweeney himself had threatened you (a la The Dark Half) ...

[Troy Barnes] haha Rocky!!

[MartyY] online classes -

[ashamel] Whenever we hear about publishing, it is usually some sort of dire news. Are things getting worse?

[Talie Helene] I'm going to bid you all goodnight -- and thanks for the writerly chat Jonathan - I'm in an internet cafe, pocket change is no longer jangling, and it's time I wandered back to my motel room.

[Jonathan Maberry] Setting them up soon. Just building a new forum with chat utility for them, which will be run through my Career Doctor for Writers business.

[Nathan] Thanks for the insights Jonathan. Night all.

[Jonathan Maberry] Publishing is in a little trouble, but things like Kindle will save it

[Jonathan Maberry] But it will change.

[Jonathan Maberry] Hardbacks are fading and being replaced by trade paperbacks

[ANW] I haven't purchased a hardback for ages.

[Jonathan Maberry] My next books, the Joe Ledger series, will be trade paperbacks.

[Jonathan Maberry] It's 'the new hardback'

[ashamel] Will Kindle just cause a down-loading problem, like the music industry complains about, do you think?

[Jonathan Maberry] Sure, once folks figure out how to file share from Kindle, we'll take a real hit

[Jonathan Maberry] And there are a lot of similar readers coming out soon that will drive Kindle prices down

[Jonathan Maberry] But books will still survive

[Troy Barnes] You obviously have met some of the BIG names in dark fiction/horror/thriller etc.. do u call these people friends (as in getting together for a drink), or are they just guys/gals you know in the publishing game?

[Jonathan Maberry] It just makes it harder to break in

[kylaw] I for one dislike reading off a screen.

[ashamel] I can't imagine proprietary formats will be uncrackable

[Troy Barnes] I'm with you there kylaw

[Jonathan Maberry] I've been fortunate to make a lot of friends in the publishing biz. Remember, even though I'm relatively new to fiction I've been in this biz since the late 1970s

[ANW] What would you do differently now, to then?

[Jonathan Maberry] But as far as the horror crowd goes, I've made real friends with folks whose books I've been reading for years.

[Jonathan Maberry] Well, I would have started fiction sooner.

[Jonathan Maberry] Never knew I'd develop a taste for it, or be good enough at it to gain success, etc.

[Jonathan Maberry] And I never realized how liberating it was.

[Jonathan Maberry] Also, I'd have made a run at writing for comics sooner. I just made my first pitch and I wish I'd been doing it all along.

[rockywood] All, I have to go now but really appreciate Jonathan's time ... keep it up mate!

[ashamel] It seems a growing business

[ANW] Comics get some really good authors now.

[ashamel] Joe Hill is doing it. Joe Nassise…

[Jonathan Maberry] But right now things are wild. I'm pitching an Internet based horror news show (details still confidential pending a deal); I'm pitching comics; and 'in discussions' over movies, TV and video games

[ashamel] Are writers taking it seriously?

[Jonathan Maberry] I have several friends in the comic industry

[Jonathan Maberry] Taking what seriously?

[ANW] What if they all come in? You're going to be pretty busy.

[ashamel] I guess I'm asking if horror writers as a whole look down on the comic business

[Jonathan Maberry] If they do, they're being short-sighted.

[Jonathan Maberry] All of the top writers I know are trying to break into comics

[Jonathan Maberry] It's a great field that offers tremendous creative freedom

[Jonathan Maberry] And good money

[Jonathan Maberry] Plus... it builds readership

[Jonathan Maberry] So, there's no downside

[ashamel] I know there is very little contact between the comic crowd and horror crowd in Australia

[ashamel] (But that's rather a different scale)

[Jonathan Maberry] There is here.

[Troy Barnes] I tend to like being able to place someone you dislike into a story/novel under a different name and then kill them in the best possible way, and I'm sure many others do this lol. Have you ever used this as an outlet for some fictional therapy?

[Jonathan Maberry] Because of stuff like 30 Days of Night, Hellboy, etc.

[Jonathan Maberry] Troy...I do that all the time.

[ashamel] Yes. 30 Days is a good Australian example :-)

[Jonathan Maberry] Most of the villains in my Trilogy were versions of folks I despise.

[Jonathan Maberry] An last questions? I should probably get to work soon.

[MartyY] What's the one key piece of advice you'd give new writers?

[Jonathan Maberry] Great closing question, Marty

[Jonathan Maberry] Key bit of advice: Never revise before you complete a first draft.

[Jonathan Maberry] The storyteller part needs license to just tell the story

[Jonathan Maberry] Then, when that's done an entirely different part of the brain --the part that's learned the craft and techniques of language--- takes over

[Jonathan Maberry] And that part does the revision

[Jonathan Maberry] When I started writing that way my writing got better and my career became much more successful

[Jonathan Maberry] Also...don't pigeonhole yourself. A writer writes. Doesn't matter what genre it is

[Jonathan Maberry] Thanks, Marty, Adam, Rocky and everyone else in the group. This has been a hell of a lot of fun!

[ashamel] Thanks greatly for taking time to chat

[ANW] Before you all go I want to say Thank you to Jonathan for a really interesting, inspirational and insightful chat.

[Troy Barnes] Thanks for the chat Jonathan... Really enjoyed it

[Jonathan Maberry] Good luck with all of your writing... and keep me posted!

[MartyY] Yes, thank you Jonathan

[MartyY] This has been fun

[BT] thanks Jonathon, I've really enjoyed tonight and have learnt a thing or two - always a plus.

[markmca] Thanks

[Charles S] Thanks Jonathan and Rocky

[Jonathan Maberry] See you around the cemetery!


Document Created: 30th April, 2008 | Last Updated: 30th April, 2008