K. Trap Jones is an award-winning author of literary horror novels and short stories. His passion for folklore, classic literary fiction and obscure segments within society lead to his creative writing style of filling in the gaps and walking the line between reality and fiction. With a strong inspiration from Dante Alighieri and Edgar Allan Poe, his stories involve topics and situations where very little is known. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association. More information can be found at the K. Trap Jones website.
What first attracted you to horror writing?
I had always enjoyed the horror genre growing up. I was that kid who really went all out during Halloween by making my own costumes and really becoming the part of whatever monster I was portraying at the time. We used to make haunted houses for all the other trick-or-treaters. Additionally, I was glued to my television each week watching the series Tales from the Crypt and was amazed by the creativity behind each episode.
Then I came across the classic tale of Dante’s Inferno. I had to read it for a school project and I remember not being too fond of the idea, but my teacher insisted and handed me this worn out copy of the book. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. The stanzas and the way the words flowed were something I had never seen before. I immediately sought out more works that were similar in style. Then I discovered Edgar Allan Poe and the Tell-Tale Heart and I have been hooked ever since.
My most notable work is my debut novel The Sinner. I went back to my roots and wanted to give thanks to those who inspired me, so I sought out to write a horror novel in the narrative stanza format similar to Dante’s Inferno. The manuscript won first place in the 2010 Royal Palm Literary Award within the Horror/Dark Fantasy Unpublished Novel category. Since the award, it was picked up by my publisher, Blood Bound Books and was published in February 2012.
The Sinner tells the dark story of a lone farmer chosen by God to test the boundaries of sin. He is isolated in a cave with only a candle, quill and parchment, and is burdened to awaken each day within a predetermined encounter with one of the seven deadly sins and their associated demons.
There are a lot of hidden meanings to the story and what is interesting is that as reviews are coming back in, each one is different in what they took away from the book. That’s why I love narrative fiction. You allow the reader to envision the main character on their own. While the book was being judged in the Royal Palm Literary Awards, I received rubrics back from two different judges and they each had two different meanings for the book. I remember thinking to myself, “It worked!”
All I will say is that each reader will be ‘tempted’ and it’s up to their individual thoughts on how they will react in the end.
What are you working on now?
I’m finishing up the final touches to The Sinner: Book II. I actually wrote both books prior to the first being published. They needed to work in a perfect rhythm. I even made changes to the first one while writing the second because it had to make sense. I will say this, if people were shocked by the ending of the first, they are going to have their minds blown by the second.
I also write a lot of short stories on a continual basis. Most can be found within different horror anthologies from various publishers.
Who do you admire in the horror world?
In today’s horror world, I would say Jack Ketchum and Joe Lansdale.
Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?
Definitely psychological chills because that represents a lingering fear, which is the worst kind in my opinion. It’s kind of like watching the movie Jaws. It’s not really scary, but every time I jump into the water, guess what I’m thinking about? I try to use that lingering mentality with everything that I write. For me, there’s nothing creepier than something terrifying that could be real.
Why should people read your work?
Tough question. I always thought of my writing style as ‘filling in the gaps’. What I mean is that I try to walk a thin line between reality and fiction. I really strive to change the perception of the reader’s mind and have them question everything that they have learned. Without giving away too much, The Sinner is great example of tempting the reader to believe in something that strays from what they were taught. We all have individual perceptions and idealisms on how things should be. It’s no fun if there are no crossroads along the path and if perceptions are left unchallenged.
Recommend a book.
One of my recent favourite books is actually two novellas under one cover. Scarecrow & The Madness is a great double-feature from Craig Saunders and Robert Essig.
Great book, great stories, great authors.
Thank you to This is Horror for the time and opportunity for this interview.
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