NGHW Jonathan Fortin Chat Transcript Feb 26, 2020 0:11:24 GMT -5
Post by Admin Kbatz on Feb 26, 2020 0:11:24 GMT -5
Shout Box Party Transcript with Next Great Horror Writer Contest Winner Jonathan Fortin from 9 p.m. est Tuesday 6 p.m. pst February 25!
Jonathan's LILITU: THE MEMOIRS OF A SUCCUBUS will be available on March 27th, 2020, on both Paperback and Kindle. It's being published by the award-winning horror publisher Crystal Lake Publishing. Visit www.facebook.com/pg/JonathanFortinAuthor for more!
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trinity: Hi I'm back. I hope I haven't missed anything.
Admin Kbatz: Welcome back to HOW Trinity!
trinity: I've spent today going over the panels and posts. It's been inspiring. I think it's a tough night with competition from the Democratic debates.
Admin Kbatz: I'm glad you liked the workshops
charlesffrench: Hello to all!
jonathanfortin: *Swoops in on bat wings, and perches on a tower overlooking the group chat. Then just kind of...floats down into it.* Good evening!
jonathanfortin: hi Kbatz and hi Charles!
trinity: Good evening. I'm back.
charlesffrench: I hope the chat goes well tonight.
jonathanfortin: Hi Trinity!
charlesffrench: I can only stay briefly, because I am teaching my evening Shakespeare class, and we are on break. So far, there has been no biting of the thumbs!
Admin Kbatz: Charles will be chatting 12 noon Wed Feb 26!
trinity: I love Shakespeare too. It was part of my college major. Have fun with the class.
trinity: Well Jonathan, What are you working on this year?
Jonathanfortin: Hi Trinity! I'm juggling a few projects, including the next book in the LILITU saga following the launch of LILITU: THE MEMOIRS OF A SUCCUBUS. It's going to continue on the epic dark fantasy series with an increased scale and deeper stakes. I'm also currently working on a totally unrelated horror novel about a girl with autism who is forced to go to a rather culty camp. That one comes from a much more personal place as I myself am on the spectrum.
Admin Kbatz: How did you hear about the Next Great Horror Writer Contest?
jonathanfortin: I believe I was already following Emz at that point so I saw her posts about it if memory serves. Emz came to a writer's coffeehouse event at Borderlands Books (one of my favorite bookstores in SF) so I met her there, and later saw the post about it
trinity: Ah, cults and camps. Always tense, and always creepy. I remember you were writing like a demon in competition for that title. I heard you read a segment at the library last fall. It was a girl in the ice wasn't it?
jonathanfortin: trinity yes, indeed! In my interpretation succubi and incubi enter the dreams of mortals because if they feed on them in reality, the mortal does not survive.
trinity: I'm fond of any monsters that suck out the souls and life of their willing victims.
jonathanfortin: trinity: That was a short story called REQUIEM IN FROST, about a girl in Norway who moves into a house haunted by the ghost of a murdered black metal musician. It's up on amazon: www.amazon.com/Horror-Bites-Requiem-Jonathan-Fortin-ebook/dp/B07Y43Q
trinity: Thank you for the link. You read up to a point and I was left wondering what happened.
Admin Kbatz: Did you have to research about succubus a lot? There's a lot of historical tall tales but not a lot of recent succubi fiction it seems
jonathanfortin: There's not a lot of succubus books in general. There are some--Loren Rhoads has her AS ABOVE, SO BELOW series, there's SUCCUBUS BLUES, etc. And they tend to pop up occasionally in random other things like DRESDEN FILES. But they're pretty rarely the focus
trinity: Did you decide to make your succubi intensely erotic or just seductive and dangerous? Also do they have emotions, can they be hurt or are they in a rage of revenge for past damages?
jonathanfortin: trinity Thank you so much for your kind words, I remember your reading as well and it was very fun
trinity: Oh, Thank you.
Admin Kbatz: Look at the horror love!
jonathanfortin: trinity my interpretation was to humanize them as much as possible, much as Anne Rice's VAMPIRE CHRONICLES does to vampires. I didn't want them to just be evil seductresses or sex symbols.
Admin Kbatz: Lilitu is that more from the Lilith legends or Lovecraft?
jonathanfortin: Lilith herself does not appear. LILITU is the word I chose for both succubi and incubi as a whole, because let's face it, saying "succubi and incubi" is unreasonably mouthy. I read a really good book called SUNSHINE by Robin McKinley that just called them 'Ubis, which was fun but not what I was looking for.
jonathanfortin: The point of the book is basically to be a huge middle finger to Madonna/Whore complexes, sexual repression and how women who take control of their sexuality are literally demonized. By making them the heroes of the book, it subverts this. That's also one of the reasons why it's set in Victorian England, an era known for being so repressed with such severe gender roles
trinity: I like both the tough question response and the idea that they are either full of emotion or searching for that missing part of their beings. The Ann Rice comparison gives a good description.
trinity: Thank you from the female side of the street for giving a finger to that madonna/whore stuff. It's very difficult to erase.
trinity: Ah, gender roles were severe, but sexuality was rampant. That's the era that invented vibrators and women went to docs for the "treatments."
Admin Kbatz: Was this story expressly written for the NGHW or was it something you already had stewing? I'm here to ask the tough questions hehe
jonathanfortin: I had the idea for REQUIEM IN FROST about a year before writing it, but never got around to it. The music challenge was the perfect opportunity to finally get around to it.
Admin Kbatz: What is your writing process? Do you outline or go by the pants? Did you have trouble writing from the female perspectives?
jonathanfortin: No, I'm pretty used to doing that. Most of my friends are women so I often find women more relatable than men. I workshopped it extensively with friends of all genders to see if anything felt like a man writing a woman badly
jonathanfortin: trinity Of course, anytime there's intense repression/gender roles everyone gets extra perverted. Look at Japan's tentacle hentai.
trinity: that's a good way to research the voice. So true about the extra activities.
jonathanfortin: Kbatz: I outline extensively, then when actually write it run into problems, then re-outline, then go back to the beginning, until it's been years and I hate myself. XD
Admin Kbatz: Was your writing schedule or format changed because the contest timeline and rules?
jonathanfortin: yeah I kind of had to dedicate most of the year to just the contest. Fortunately LILITU was already written. I ended up editing it a lot after winning though because I hadn't looked at it in a few years and had grown as a writer since. I tried getting an agent for it about 5 years back but was unable, so I had put it aside and worked on another novel (which I currently have the first draft done for, but it needs serious editing).
trinity: The work I like best is the work I've written, put aside for a long while and then reopened to review after a fair amount of time on the shelf. It gives perspective and allows for growth in the writer's skillset.
jonathanfortin: Absolutely. It's hard to see the flaws with clear eyes when it's so fresh.
trinity: You know, I think it's impossible to see the flaws in fresh work.
jonathanfortin: So the contest gave me the opportunity to finally publish my baby. This book and these characters have been in my mind for almost a decade. I can't believe I'm actually going to see it in print.
trinity: That's so exciting to hear. Congratulations!
jonathanfortin: Thank you!
Admin Kbatz: How long have you been writing? Did you use other editors or beta readers?
jonathanfortin: Pretty much my whole life. I wrote children's books as a kid, and then wrote my first short novel trilogy in middle school. Yes, it was about vampires, and yes, it was terrible. Crystal Lake had people edit the book. We actually had to change editors after the first two chapters because the first person they had got too scared. Prior to that I workshopped multiple drafts of the book extensively with a local writing group over years.
trinity: Wow! That's some compliment. I should think editors have seen it all.
Admin Kbatz: Because you knew your horror audience did you have carte blanche to write or did you have to reign anything in on the page? jonathanfortin: In my edits after I won the contest I ended up reigning in some of the content, yes. There were some scenes that felt too gratuitously cruel or I felt like took away from the message.
Admin Kbatz: Why did you switch from vampires to succubi?
jonathanfortin: I didn't switch, they were totally different books. I still love vampires, and there are multiple vampire characters in LILITU as well.
Admin Kbatz: Whew! <says the person with an I <3 vampires decal on her car>
jonathanfortin: Admin Kbatz I mean have you SEEN me? Vampire fashion is my thing.
Admin Kbatz: What do you think of writing groups? Some say they are like chips you need to have multiple discussions to compare and contrast
jonathanfortin: I always need other eyes to check my blind spots.
trinity: Although I know readers who like the work to be very cruel, that generally turns me out of the book unless there is a very good justification for such actions from a character.
jonathanfortin: Yeah finding the right group is important. The one I workshopped with was comprised of disgruntled fantasy/scifi/horror writers from my SFSU major. We were all upset that the professors didn't care about genre fiction and our needs weren't being met.
jonathanfortin: This, at a school that brags about Anne Rice being one of their alumni! Pffft. There WAS an amazing vampire class, but that was in the English department, not the CW department. CW was all pretentious bullshit.
trinity: I just left a group of memoir writers when I realized I was losing my horror voice. My work was starting to sound like someone's vacation stories.
Admin Kbatz: Have you been to other writer events and conferences before the NGHW contest? Finding the right - or is that write haha - group that understands horror is important.
jonathanfortin: Kbatz Yes, but no contests/competitions before. I did attend the Clarion Writing Program in 2012. I also studied creative writing at SFSU, graduated summa cum laude in 2011. I also attended various events like Baycon, Clockwork Alchemy etc
trinity:It is difficult to find groups that enjoy horror. I'm still searching.
trinity: Good choice Jonathan.
Admin Kbatz: But general writing practice is important, too.
trinity: True dat Kbatz.
trinity: Hope you come back to Clockwork this year.
Admin Kbatz: Ah, the old "you must get an MFA to be a REAL writer" argument
jonathanfortin: I never got an MFA, just a BA. Wasn't worth sticking around just be told I wasn't allowed to write what I wanted to write for another 4 years.
Admin Kbatz: Everyone I know who has an MFA says it is a waste.
trinity: The only real value of it for writers that I can see is if you have an MFA you can teach in the CA college systems.
jonathanfortin: See, I considered teaching college, but was basically told, "You have no chance, nobody's hiring something full time, also they don't want to hire white guys for creative writing, but also you'll never make a living off of your writing, so..." Needless to say, I didn't have a good experience there.
Admin Kbatz: Yes I know people who went through all that just to become college professors and they don't really publish anything so the writing education systems still seems just a bit outdated.
jonathanfortin: I think college systems make sense for people who write literary fiction, and I'm glad I made some contacts there. But yeah, I think if you're writing genre there's other avenues to learn the craft. Lots of workshops that will teach more.
Admin Kbatz: How long is Lilithu? Is the book length different from the contest?
jonathanfortin: LILITU is 422 pages long, about 118K words long.
Admin Kbatz: Was it the same length for the contest or did you have to expand it?
jonathanfortin: Actually I cut it down a bit. The draft I had when I started the contest was about 135K words. There was one draft that was, no lie, 200K words. It was way too fucking long and every scene was longer than it needed to be. It was just a mess. I'm much happier with this version.
trinity: Were you glad to have 200K words to edit down from? Did it leave you more elbow room to work plot twists or did it make the editing more difficult?
jonathanfortin: The plot didn't change much. It didn't need more twists. IIt was more of a scene by scene thing, where some scenes were way too long, or weren't necessary.
Admin Kbatz: What kind of promotions do you have planned?
jonathanfortin: I have this stupid huge list of podcasts and blogs to contact to try and get them to review or interview me and I'm slowly picking away at it. We have some exciting Patreon rewards, like deleted scenes. I'll be doing a launch party. We're also going to be recording a promo video of me reading the book, and I'm going to do some audio recordings. I have some guest blogs planned
trinity: Wow, that's great!
jonathanfortin: I'm also going to STOKERCON in the UK in April to try and drum up interest there. It's...a lot and I basically have no free time to write right now. Ahhhh
Admin Kbatz: Ah, the writer's bane
jonathanfortin: StokerCon is the convention where they announce the winners of the Bram Stoker Awards. It's one of the biggest horror conventions. I've never been though.
trinity: I hope the April weather is appropriate for the genre!
Admin Kbatz: Are you a business or numbers type person that has to keep track of the sales versus the costs of marketing and travel? Another thing how writers have to change brains in order to promote
jonathanfortin: Kbatz not remotely. I'm not a numbers or business person at all. But I have always wanted to go to the UK, and there's a big goth event I want to attend a week later. And then after that Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh.
jonathanfortin: But the fact that the horror con was right before these events, so much at once, to me was a sign that I sort of HAD to go finally after all this time
Admin Kbatz: Wow our time went by fast!
trinity: Are we finishing already? This was lovely.
jonathanfortin: Indeed! Thank you so much for your questions Admin Kbatz Kbatz and trinity!
trinity: Your book is timed well to pick up a following for beach reading season.
trinity: Goodnight. See you again. Good luck on your book sales.
Admin Kbatz: Where can readers find you?
jonathanfortin: Also: twitter.com/Jonathan_Fortin
Admin Kbatz: We're so glad you were part of HOW Jonathan. Thank you!
jonathanfortin: Thanks, have a good night!
Jonathan is a winner of The Next Great Horror Writer Contest. His LILITU: THE MEMOIRS OF A SUCCUBUS will be available on March 27th, 2020, on both Paperback and Kindle. It's being published by the award-winning horror publisher Crystal Lake Publishing.
Visit www.facebook.com/pg/JonathanFortinAuthor for more!