Meet author Stephen Graham Jones @sgj72 #HorrorLounge

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Tell us about your latest book 

Mapping the Interior
By Stephen Graham Jones

Mapping the Interior is a horror novella. Couple kids and a mom trying to make it, but the dead dad won’t let them be.

 

First memory of reading horror  

Whitley Strieber’s The Wolfen. Those parts in the voice of the father-wolf, they changed me.

 

For readers new to horror which 3 books would you recommend they start with?

I’ll keep it halfway recent. Grady Hendrix’s My Best Friend’s Exorcism, Gemma Files’ Experimental Film, and Christopher Buehlman’s Those Across the River.

 

Do you have a favourite horror sub-genre, and why?

Yeah, the slasher. I think it’s the most pure story there is. Not just in horror, but anywhere. Story is about change, and the slasher you always see, very clearly, a final girl going from one state to another. It’s beautiful.

 

Most terrifying book you’ve ever read.

Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door.

 

Your favourite Stephen King book.

Lisey’s Story.

 

New horror authors you’d recommend.

Karen Runge. Her Seven Sins story collection is pretty intense.

 

Your favourite horror film (adapted from a book) & why?

If only Deathgasm has been a novel first. But . . . I’m going to go with Kubrick’s The Shining.

 

Horror book that you’d like to see adapted to film & why?

Bracken Macleod’s Stranded. It’d feel like John Carpenter’s The Thing, part 2. All this snow, all this death, all dudes.

 

Best horror TV?

Supernatural. I think it’s held together better than any other television show.

 

Who do you consider King and Queen of Horror?

I mean, King's obviously the king, here. Really, when I first started seeing his books? I had a sense that that was a name he'd earned, or been awarded, not born with. I was maybe ten. And I'd say Shirley Jackson's the reining queen, even though she's not around. her books are.

 

Best horror TV?

Supernatural. I think it’s held together better than any other television show.

 

Did you write in other genres or straight to horror?

Yeah, I do science fiction and fantasy and what people call literary. Flash fiction. Comic books. I like romantic comedy builds.

 

Tell us briefly about your route to being published.

The first novel I wrote was my dissertation. One of my doctoral committee members offered to publish it—he was a publisher—but I took it to NYC, got all the necessary rejections, then came back to that publisher, asked was he still game. He was.

 

Tell us about your fans.

They go with me from shelf to shelf, and into experimental areas, commercial spaces, but they’re always there. They’re wonderful.

 

Horror doesn’t seem to be as well respected as other genres of fiction.

Why do you think that is? People suspect that if they ratify horror then they’re also ratifying everything that goes on in horror. And there’s some transgressive, dark, bloody stuff. So people shy away, they call it names, they look down their nose at it. But they sneak the books home, too. It’s good to be scared. It’s necessary to be scared. It lets us feel alive. No, horror will never be respected, but it’ll always get bought.

 

Do you think horror is ready for a renaissance?

I mean, yeah, but I don’t think it’s dragging or anything, either. Horror has its different trends, that fall hard and public—vampires, torture porn—but it never stays down for long. It’s always surging back. You can’t keep a good monster down, and horror’s made of monstrous things.

 

Tips for new writers of horror fiction.

Avoid words like ‘eerie’ and ‘gross.’ All they do is say out loud what your writing should be accomplishing. If you have to say ‘gross’ or ‘eerie’ or any from that class, then you’re admitting that your writing has failed to get anything ‘eerie’ or ‘gross’ onto the page.

 

Do you believe in evil?

For sure. It’s all around.

 

What scares you?

Human bodies with dog heads. And that people go hungry, and other people seem to think those who go hungry deserve to go hungry.

 

3 most scary words in English language?

“Your Final Notice”

 

Do you celebrate Halloween?

Always and forever, times two.


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