John Hornor Jacobs is the author of Southern Gods, short-listed for the Bram Stoker Award for First Novel, This Dark Earth, coming July 3, 2012, from Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books, and the forthcoming Incarcerado young adult trilogy from Carolrhoda Labs. He lives with his family in Arkansas, where he is also a musician and graphic artist. Visit him at the official John Hornor Jacobs website.
What first attracted you to horror writing?
My father has probably been the biggest influence on both my tastes as a reader and my predilection toward certain subject matters as a writer. He started me off by first telling me, orally, the story of the Illiad and Odyssey, and then buying me the books for young readers. I distinctly remember getting chills when Tiresias appeared to Odysseus in the underworld. It was downhill from there. I followed that up with Dracula, Frankenstein, and at some point I discovered Stephen King.
Currently, my most notable work is Southern Gods, my Lovecraftian crime noir novel. It’s been fairly well received and was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel.
My next novel, a post-apocalyptic zombie/nuclear war novel called This Dark Earth, will be released on July 3 2012, by Simon & Schuster. I’m looking forward to that one being released into the wilds.
What are you working on now?
2011 was a good year for me. My agent sold five of my novels, Southern Gods, This Dark Earth, and a young adult series starting with The Twelve-Fingered Boy and two sequels. Currently I’m writing the second novel in that series, called Incarcerado.
Who do you admire in the horror world?
There are almost too many to mention. Some I admire for their literary legacy, some I admire for their generosity in advice and guidance. I love Stephen King and Peter Straub, Shirley Jackson and Sheridan le Fanu, Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley. I’m lucky to count Brian Keene and Weston Ochse among my acquaintances and (though they may not approve of the title) my mentors.
I believe in flawed and human characters with histories. Neither gore nor psychological suspense work without a foundation to build upon. That foundation is a developed and believable character. But if I had to choose one or the other, I would probably go with psychological chills. I’ve been told that Southern Gods has a nice balance of both.
Why should people read your work?
Ah, the justify your existence question.
People should read my work because I think I bring a literate and somewhat unique cultural viewpoint to my novels, whilst remaining rooted in the genre. I am a southerner, and I can’t escape my environment, however hard I try. The South is rife with fertile stories of crime, desperation, dysfunctional families, class struggle, brutality, and the weight of past misdeeds. But on the other hand, the South is also full of the music of hope and the triumph of the human heart – each one balancing out the other.
Recommend a book.
I am a horror writer, but not only a horror writer. My young adult novels, while dark, aren’t horror, and my most recently completed novel, The Incorruptibles, is a fantasy, albeit a dark one. So, my reading tastes run the gamut.
The most enjoyable book I’ve read in a long while was China Miéville’s The Scar. I once said, in reference to his Perdido Street Station, that his reliance on sixty-four dollar words made his work “laughable”. Boy, was I wrong. The Scar is brilliant, literate, fascinating, engaging, and awe-inspiring. It has pirates, floating cities, dirigibles, massive summoned sea-creatures, believable characters, and a wonderful story. I highly recommend it.
Thanks for having me!
If you enjoyed our Meet The Writer and want to read John Hornor Jacob’s fiction, please consider clicking through to our Amazon Affiliate links and purchasing a new book today. If you do you’ll help keep the This Is Horror ship afloat with some very welcome remuneration.