New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author, Jonathan Mayberry gets to the grit in written gore!
by Christa Johnson
Jonathan is a suspense author, editor, comic book writer, magazine feature writer, playwright,content creator and writing teacher/lecturer! Mr. Maberry talks with Christa Johnson on Tom Holland’s Terror Time!
Terror Time/ CHRISTA JOHNSON: I want to start by mentioning that you have received countless awards and recognition for your writings and achievements. You have even made it to the New York Times best selling list, which is a huge accomplishment. When you had first started writing, did you anticipate that you would be so successful in this endeavor?
JONATHAN MABERRY: I never thought that far ahead. I’ve always wanted to write and started doing it as soon as I could hold a pencil. But my goals were focused on the stories I wanted to tell rather than on the accolades or measures of success. That said, I recognize the importance of making the bestseller list and the deep honor of receiving so many awards. It’s humbling and always surprising. And I’m always grateful to the readers who enjoy my books and who have become devoted fans of my weird little stories. They’re my people and we are pop culture geeks together.
The big thrills are still about telling the tales that make me want to sit down every day and begin hammering at the keys. I love the craft and magic of storytelling, and I even enjoy the complexities and demands of the business side. One of the benefits of a successful career is that it opens up doorways to new creative projects, partnerships and opportunities. For example, I just partnered with George Romero to edit an anthology of stories set in the forty-eight hours surrounding Night of the Living Dead, I’m editing anthologies of all-original X-Files stories, and I just closed deals for some high profile novel projects we’ll be announcing soon. I’m having more fun than I ever imagined.
CJ: You had started out originally writing martial arts books and you have even been inducted into The Martial Arts Hall of Fame. You had a great basis to write about the art having practiced the skill for many years now. What was your basis to begin writing in various other genres such as horror, mystery and even comics?
JM: I’ve been an active practitioner of jujutsu (Japanese unarmed combat) and kenjutsu (swordplay) for over fifty years; and I’ve worked variously as a bodyguard in the entertainment field, a bouncer, a college martial arts teacher, and the Expert Witness for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office for murder cases involving martial arts. It wasn’t surprising that I chose to write about martial arts and self-defense. I did hundreds of magazine feature articles, dozens of nonfiction books –including college textbooks, and some mass-market martial arts books. When I switched from nonfiction to fiction a little over ten years ago I brought some of my love of action scenes with me, and I’m often asked to give workshops on writing fight scenes.
However my first love was fiction. I was a voracious reader ever since I was little and I read across genre lines. And I started reading comics when I was eight, way back in 1966. When I decided to try my hand at fiction I focused on the genre I loved best –horror—but also mixed in elements of the mystery and thriller genres. The result, Ghost Road Blues, launched my fiction career and allowed me to become a full-time writer.
Since then I’ve been all over the place, jumping genres, combining them. Always trying new things. I’ve written straight horror (The Pine Deep Trilogy), weird science thrillers (The Joe Ledger series), horror/science-fiction/thriller mash-ups (Dead of Night and Fall of Night), Steampunk weird-western (Ghostwalkers: A Deadlands Novel), a movie adaptation (The Wolfman), young adult post-apocalyptic zombie thrillers (The Rot & Ruin series), alien invasion/horror/fantasy mash-ups for middle grade readers (The Nightsiders series), and more. And in short fiction I’ve done everything from military science fiction to murder mysteries to epic fantasy, and a lot more. And I’ve contributed to theme anthologies about the Land of Oz, John Carter of Mars, Sherlock Holmes, C. August Dupin, Planet of the Apes, Plan 9 from Outer Space, Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood, and more.