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Saturday, October 20, 2012

October Horror Spotlight Saturday: Guest Post and Giveaway with Jonathan Janz, author of House of Skin

Hi, everyone!

Welcome to another edition of Spotlight Saturday at Darlene's Book Nook, where we feature authors and their books!

To celebrate Halloween, we will be featuring horror authors for the entire month of October Spotlights!

We will be joined today by Jonathan Janz.

About Jonathan:

Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard. In a way, that explains everything. His first three novels will be published by Samhain Horror (THE SORROWS in 2011, HOUSE OF SKIN in 2012, and THE DARKEST LULLABY in 2013). He has also written two novellas (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.

One of Jonathan’s wishes is to someday get Stephen KingPeter JacksonJack Ketchum and Joe R. Lansdale together for an all-night zombie movie marathon. Of course, that can only happen if all four drop their restraining orders against him.


Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Jonathan!

Jonathan has written a guest post, so I will now turn the floor over to him!

House of Skin and the Graveyard That Helped Me Write It

It’s wonderful being here at Darlene’s Book Nook. Thank you, Darlene, for letting me take over for a day!

My second novel is called House of Skin (my first, The Sorrows, debuted less than a year ago and has been received better than I ever imagined it would). It’s a ghost story that the Library Journal said is “reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story.”

I started writing House of Skin twelve years ago, scrapped what I’d written, began the whole thing again, scrapped it again, and repeated that process.

A total of seven times.

My girlfriend at that time—my wife now—thought I was crazy to trash an entire manuscript once, let alone seven times. I understood her point, but I knew that I hadn’t yet done the story justice in those first seven drafts, and that if I ever did, I’d know it. A couple years ago, on the eighth draft, I got it right.

That first long-ago draft was written in a graveyard, and though that now-incinerated manuscript scarcely resembled the book on shelves now (also available digitally!), the eerie aura of that lonesome country graveyard still permeates my ghost story.

One of the two protagonists of House of Skin (a man named Paul Carver, who has just inherited a mansion and its thousand-acre estate) is a writer who can’t seem to find his voice. He tries everything—listening to music, reading other authors, even drinking to excess—but no matter what he does, he can’t seem to capture his muse.

Until he finds a graveyard in the forest. The cemetery is overgrown and long-forgotten, and with the exception of one large tombstone in the darkest corner of the cemetery, the markers are small and unremarkable. But that one gravestone, black and scarred by chisels and graffiti, speaks to Paul. It tells him a horrible story. In a trance he returns to the mansion and types a complete manuscript over a ten-hour period he later cannot remember. The novel he writes is ghastly and rife with fathomless evil.

It’s also very good. He is able to sell the novel, which of course makes him incredibly happy. That is, until he realizes that the novel has benefited two beings: Paul and the spirit who communicated the story to him. Her name is Annabel, and she is buried beneath that scarred black gravestone. She means for Paul to help her live again.

It was the unborn spirit of Annabel’s character that spoke to me twelve years ago in my own long-ago cemetery. Though I lacked the skills to do her justice at the time, I knew she wanted to live. I knew she wanted to dominate. I knew she wanted to prey.

Each time I’d pause in my writing and mentally grope for inspiration, the gravestones around me were there to speak it. They helped midwife Annabel into existence, even if the fingers that told her story to the world weren’t nimble enough yet to properly chronicle that birth.

But Annabel is alive now, and she’s hungry for you to read her story. I have a lonely old country graveyard to thank for that. And a very patient wife.
Thanks so much for joining us today, Jonathan!

Enter to win a signed paperback copy (Canada/US only) of Jonathan's latest horror novel, House of Skin.


All it needs to live again is fresh blood!

Myles Carver is dead. But his estate, Watermere, lives on, waiting for a new Carver to move in. Myles’s wife, Annabel, is dead too, but she is also waiting, lying in her grave in the woods. For nearly half a century she was responsible for a nightmarish reign of terror, and she’s not prepared to stop now. She is hungry to live again…and her unsuspecting nephew, Paul, will be the key.

Julia Merrow has a secret almost as dark as Watermere’s. But when she and Paul fall in love they think their problems might be over. How can they know what Fate—and Annabel—have in store for them? Who could imagine that what was once a moldering corpse in a forest grave is growing stronger every day, eager to take her rightful place amongst the horrors of Watermere?

Buy Link: 
Amazon Paperback / Amazon Kindle

To enter the giveaway, you must complete the Rafflecopter entry form below.

This giveaway is open to Canada/US mailing addresses only until 12:01 AM EST on October 27, 2012.


  1. I have to say that the cover of this book is awesome. Definitely creepy and intriguing. I also loved hearing about how Jonathan became inspired to write this book and his process. 7 total revisions sounds like a lot- but it sounds like he got it right. The story sounds awesome. Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. Wow that is a lot of revisions, interesting post and the novel synopsis has piqued my interest..thanks so much for sharing this!

  3. Thanks for the giveaway! I've been wanting to read this one.


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