One of my favorite quotes comes from Mr. WilliamFaulkner, a pretty fair writer is in own right. Mr. Faulkneronce gave a series of lectures at my alma mater, Purdue University, and when he was asked whether or not he was attempting to sensationalize his stories (like the often-shocking novel SANCTUARY) in order to draw more readers, Faulkner answered something like this:
“A carpenter doesn’t build a house so he can hammer nails; he hammers nails so he can build a house.”
What’s my point? It might surprise you to learn that I have one.
I don’t include horrible things in my books to titillate the reader.
Nor do I ratchet up the blood, gore, body count, sex acts, profanity, live-alpaca-sacrifice scenes in order to sell books (I’m kidding about the alpaca sacrifices, by the way, though I do mention the animal in my first 2016 release).
No, anything that happens in my stories happens because the characters deemed it necessary. Sure, when I first begin writing, there’s some volition involved. You’ve gotta push away from the dock before you sail, after all. But as early as possible, I cede control to the characters and head below deck. When I emerge after a work-in-progress is done, I can hardly believe where the ship has ended up.
Which brings me to WOLF LAND.
I did know that a major character was going to die very early on. Maybe that was devious of me, but I liked the idea of positing someone as the lead only to unceremoniously slaughter that person in the first act of the tale. I don’t think that was audience manipulation or anything, but I’ll admit it—that was planned. Maybe I’ve watched Hitchcock’sPSYCHO a few too many times.
Absent of that, however, I had no idea where this novel would go.
I just never thought it would venture into such dark places.
If you haven’t read it, I won’t ruin it for you, but good gravy, there were times during the writing of WOLF LAND when I would have to set the laptop aside, open the window, lean back in my chair, and massage my temples as the fresh summer breeze whispered over me. See, Irequired that cleansing. Many days, when I was done writing, I would totter about in a fog, wondering why certain events had to unfold the way they did. Couldn’t my characters just enjoy a little break for once?
The answer, of course, was no.
This is why I have trouble suppressing a chortle whenreaders occasionally ask me why such terrible things happen in my books. I want to look at them incredulously and ask, “Do you think I have a choice?”
When I create a character, with very few exceptions, it pains me to destroy him or her. When terrible things happen to characters to whom I’ve grown deeply attached, I want to cry for those characters.
Back to WOLF LAND. My new novel includes what is probably the darkest subplot I’ve ever written (thoughsubplot might be an inaccurate description—the story strand to which I’m referring, after all, ends up becoming as important as any in the novel).
And as necessary as the events in those scenes were, actually recording them required a great deal of effort and endurance. I remember the days when I knew I had to write something awful. I’d lie sleepless in bed the night before, wondering how I was going to journey into such shadowy realms. Early on those days, I would find myself retreating inward, dreading what was going to happen when I wrote in the afternoons. Then, when I’d write one of those monstrous scenes, my whole body would tighten up, myneck would tingle, and the room around me would turn sepia-toned as the events grew worse…and worse…and worse.
Looking back, I’m proud of what I wrote. But the composition of some of the scenes in WOLF LAND was not pleasant. I don’t really want those scenes to be pleasant for the reader either, but I do want them to be riveting. Hopefully, I’ve done my job.
Sometimes a story goes dark, and when it does, the writer has to go with it. Sometimes the sea turns black and tumultuous and the waters churn with all manner of hideous beasts.
Or in this case, the countryside teems with werewolves.
Wolf Land, Synopsis
An unholy predator on the prowl!
The small town of Lakeview offers little excitement for Duane, Savannah, and their friends. They’re about to endure their ten-year high school reunion when their lives are shattered by the arrival of an ancient, vengeful evil.
The first attack leaves seven dead and four wounded. And though the beast remains on the loose and eager to spill more blood, the sleepy town is about to face an even greater terror. Because the four victims of the werewolf’s fury arechanging. They’re experiencing unholy desires and unimaginable cravings. They’ll prey on the innocent. They’ll act on their basest desires. Soon, they’ll plunge the entire town into a nightmare. Lakeview is about to become Wolf Land.
Biography, Jonathan Janz
Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard, and in a way, that explains everything. Brian Keene named his debut novel The Sorrows "the best horror novel of 2012." The Library Journal deemed his follow-up, House of Skin, "reminiscent of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub's Ghost Story."
2013 saw the publication of his novel of vampirism and demonic possession The Darkest Lullaby, as well as his serialized horror novel Savage Species. Of Savage Species, Publishers Weekly said, "Fans of old-school splatterpunk horror--Janzcites Richard Laymon as an influence, and it shows--will find much to relish." Jonathan's Kindle Worlds novel Bloodshot: Kingdom of Shadows marked his first foray into the superhero/action genre.
Jack Ketchum called his vampire western Dust Devils a "Rousing-good weird western," and his sequel to The Sorrows (Castle of Sorrows) was selected one of 2014's top three novels by Pod of Horror. 2015 saw the release of The Nightmare Girl, which prompted Pod of Horror to call Jonathan "Horror's Next Big Thing." His newest release is Wolf Land, which Publishers Weekly called “gruesome yet entertaining gorefest” with “an impressive and bloody climax.” He has also written four novellas (Exorcist Road, The Clearing of Travis Coble, Old Order, and Witching Hour Theatre) and several short stories.
His primary interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children, and though he realizes that every author's wife and children are wonderful and amazing, in this case the cliché happens to be true. You can learn more about Jonathan at www.jonathanjanz.com. You can also find him on Facebook, via @jonathanjanz on Twitter, or on his Goodreads and Amazon author pages.
Praise for Wolf Land and Janz
"One of the best writers in modern horror to come along in the last decade. Janz is one of my new favorites." –Brian Keene, best-selling author
“It’s the best of its kind I’ve read in years, such that I’d call it “The Quintessential Haunted House Novel.” You’ve taken the old school traditions of the form which readers want and then have injected modern style, characters, and macabre, hard-edged mayhem into the guts of the story. THAT’S the way to do it, my friend!”-Author Edward Lee on HOUSE OF SKIN
“Jonathan Janz is one of the rare horror novelists who can touch your heart while chilling your spine. His work offers incisive characters, sharp dialogue, and more scares than a deserted graveyard after midnight. If you haven’t read his fiction, you’re missing out on one the best new voices in the genre.” –Tim Waggoner Reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story, this should please readers who appreciate a good haunting.”
—The Library Journal
“Jonathan Janz is one of the rare horror novelists who can touch your heart while chilling your spine. His work offers incisive characters, sharp dialogue, and more scares than a deserted graveyard after midnight. If you haven’t read his fiction, you’re missing out on one the best new voices in the genre.”
–Tim Waggoner, author
“A 10-year high school reunion is the catalyst for lots of furry, toothy scares in this gruesome yet entertaining gorefest.” –Publishers Weekly
"Probably the best werewolf novel I've read in a decade."- Pete Kahle, author of The Specimen
"If you like werewolves, you will think you have died and gone to heaven.Highly recommended." -Confessions of a Reviewer
"This fast-paced read was a frenzy of carnality in epic proportions. Visceral and surreal, Janz has outdone himself with this newest title."
-Nikki, Horror After Dark
"For years now, the werewolf has been hijacked by the shifter romance genre. Well, Jonathan Janz has claimed a bloody morsel back for the horror genre!"
-2 Book Lovers Reviews
"Janz is the literary love child of Richard Laymon and Jack Ketchum (with a little Joe Lansdale DNA in the mix), with all the terror that implies. Try him out. You won't be disappointed." -Pod of Horror
“Jonathan Janz has created a realistic world and peopled it with characters that could be people you know then introduces a whole new werewolf legend to rip them to shreds. I highly recommend this relentlessly fast paced story. A hair raising 5 star read.” –Horror Maiden Book Reviews
Barnes & Noble
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