I recently had the pleasure of talking with horror author Jonathan Maberry, whose first novel, Ghost Road Blues, just won a Bram Stoker Award. In part one of this fascinating interview, Jonathan talks about his book, writing habits, and what lies inside the mind of the horror author.
What was your inspiration for your first novel, Ghost Road Blues? What’s it about?
It got started in a couple of different ways. My grandmother (who died in 1978 at 101) told me as a boy about the myths and legends – or as she called them ‘beliefs’ - of the supernatural. I grew up knowing a fair bit about the folklore of supernatural and occult beliefs, and while writing several nonfiction books on the subject I got the idea for a novel in which the characters encounter the supernatural as it appears in folklore, which is substantially different from the way it is most often portrayed in popular fiction and film.
Ghost Road Blues deals with a small Pennsylvania town whose industry and tourism is built on its long-standing haunted history. They have hayrides and a huge Halloween Festival... but they discover that the town is far more haunted than they think, and that turns out not to be a good thing for the residents or tourists.
It’s the first book of a trilogy, informally known as the Pine Deep Trilogy. The series continues with Dead Man’s Song and will conclude with Bad Moon Rising in June of 2008.
For most writers, having their first book published by a big New York publisher is a dream come true. How did this come about? Did you initially find an agent?
Ghost Road Blues is my first novel, but not my first book. I’ve been a nonfiction author for thirty years. I’ve written over a thousand magazine articles, plays, short stories... the works. I served as my own agent for selling the nonfiction books — and this is not something I recommend. My first books were textbooks I wrote for a number of college courses at Temple University (Judo, Self-Defense for Women, Introduction to Asian Martial Arts, etc.). Then I did some martial arts books for a small press. When I decided to try my hand at fiction – which was totally new territory for me - I decided to look for an agent.