Chilling Chat: Episode #183 – Jonathan Fortin

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Jonathan Fortin is the author of Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus (Crystal Lake Publishing), “Requiem in Frost” (Horroraddicts.net), and “Nightmarescape” (Mocha Jonathan Fortin AUTHORPHOTO-2020Memoirs Press). An unashamed lover of spooky Gothic stories, Jonathan was named the Next Great Horror Writer in 2017 by HorrorAddicts.net. He attended the Clarion Writing Program in 2012, one year after graduating summa cum laude from San Francisco State University’s Creative Writing program. When not writing, Jonathan enjoys voice acting, dressing like a Victorian gentleman, and indulging in all things odd and macabre in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Jonathan is a true gentleman with a terrific sense of humor. We spoke of writing, The Victorian Age, and Lilitu: Memoirs of a Succubus.

NTK: Welcome, to Chilling Chat, Jonathan! Tell us, how did you become interested in the Victorian Age?

 JF: I think it was in middle school when I first became fascinated with the Victorian Gothic aesthetic, thanks to a healthy obsession with Tim Burton movies, American McGee’s Alice, and a number of other dark influences. The Victorian Era had many facets, but it was horror that pulled me to the period. I adored the dark elegance of their wardrobes and architecture, and was intrigued by their stuffy way of behaving. It seemed as though they were navigating a world full of macabre terrors that were best left unspoken–basing their etiquette around their profound fear of the world they themselves had created.

NTK: Do you have a favorite Victorian novel?

 JF: Novels by Victorian authors: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and Dracula by Bram Stoker both come to mind. Basic, I know, but critically influential nonetheless.

Modern novels set in Victorian England: The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox, Drood by Dan Simmons, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and (if I may be permitted to include a very wordy graphic novel) From Hell by Alan Moore.

NTK: Do you have a favorite Victorian movie?

 JF: Crimson Peak, The Prestige, and Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula. If we’re including 19th-century America, then also Sleepy Hollow and Gangs of New York. And if we’re including TV, I adore Penny Dreadful.

NTK: What inspired you to write Lilitu?

JF: I’ve long been fascinated by succubi and incubi. When I was in college, I went looking for novels focused on them, but there were only a few, and they didn’t quite give me what I wanted. So, naturally, I decided to write one myself. However, I initially wasn’t sure how to manage it. I was toying with an alternate world setting that just never really gelled, and ended up changing the plot and rewriting it over and over again–never certain where to take the story. I knew that I wanted a reluctant succubus lead struggling with her demonic nature, but the details were a constant state of flux.

Then one day, when I was in a bookstore, a certain cover caught my eye, showing a man in a top hat staring into the London fog. The image was laden with foreboding, and compelled me to pull the book off the shelf and read the opening sentence: “After killing the red-haired man, I took myself off to Quinn’s for an oyster supper.” This novel was The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox, a tale of revenge set in Victorian England. I was hooked. I devoured the novel, enjoying every word, and realized rather abruptly that Victorian England was the perfect setting for my own novel. Suddenly, everything came together: this was a tale of demons in the Victorian era, focused on a succubus brought up in that rigid world and struggling to reconcile her upbringing with the needs of her new form–and in the process questioning all the toxic ideas she was forced to internalize growing up. And so Maraina Blackwood was born.

NTK: What is your creative process like? How do you go from inspiration to final draft?

 JF: It’s all over the place. I’ll usually plot out the entire novel, then change everything as I actually write it. When I eventually get a working draft that I’m passably happy with, I’ll ask writer friends to read and critique it. Then I’ll edit, and edit, and edit some more, until I think it’s finally ready enough for publication. If it gets picked up, that means more edits because the publisher’s editor will need to give it a good look. If it doesn’t get picked up, it means the book isn’t good enough yet, so it needs more edits anyway. Lilitu took more years than I care to admit.

NTK: What do you like most about the Victorian age?

 JF: The psychological complexity. The aesthetics. Their elegant manner of speaking. I also like how deeply hypocritical they were, because it’s ever so much fun to satirize.

NTK: What do you dislike most?

 JF: When you get down to it, the Victorian Era was quite horrible to actually live in. Severely rigid gender roles, miserable science/medicine, incredible poverty, child labor…I’ll often meet other Victorian enthusiasts, and many say that they wish they lived in the Victorian era instead of today. While that’s valid, I always like to remind them that they almost certainly would have been impoverished, and never able to afford those pretty, fancy dresses that they are so keen on wearing. People honestly romanticize the Victorians and are quick to forget that the elegant ladies and wealthy gentlemen they’re so enamored with made up a tiny, tiny slice of the population. That’s beside the fact that things were abysmal for women, even wealthy and noblewomen, as they were not allowed agency over their own lives. It was just a nasty, cruel period, and many are far too quick to forget that.

NTK: Have you written other stories in the Lilitu universe? If so, what?

JF: We have a FREE short story in the Lilitu universe out now, called Lilith in Repose.

It’s a twisted, erotic Dark Fantasy tale about a nun whose church has been taken over by demons…and now they are asking her to join their ranks.

I am also in the early stages of the second Lilitu novel. I’m planning it as a trilogy right now, but that may change as I actually write it. We’ll just have to see.

NTK: What’s your favorite curse word?

JF: Bollocks!

NTK: What’s your favorite curse?

 JF: I can’t think of one, so I’ll improvise. “MAY YOU BE REBORN A DINGLEBERRY HANGING FROM THE CRACK OF SATAN’S ARSEHOLE!” Hmm…when you consider the smell, that would actually be a truly dreadful fate.

NTK: (Laughs.) What does the future hold for you? What works do Horror Addicts have to look forward to?

 JF: I’m currently in the editing stages of an epic Lovecraftian biopunk novel. I’m also almost done with the first draft of a new horror novel centered around an autistic protagonist (I am on the spectrum, so it comes from a real place). Then there’s of course the second Lilitu book, wherein readers will learn of some surprising–and horrible–consequences of Maraina’s actions in book 1.

NTK: Jonathan, thank you so much for chatting with us. 

JF: You’re welcome.

Addicts, you can find Jonathan on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chilling Chat: Four Quick Questions with Jonathan Fortin

chillingchat

Jonathan Fortin is the author of Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus (coming December 2019 from Crystal Lake Publishing) and Nightmarescape (Mocha Memoirs Press). An 71171863_429719314325456_72316297098035200_nunashamed lover of spooky Gothic stories, Jonathan was named the “Next Great Horror Writer” in 2017 by HorrorAddicts.net. He attended the Clarion Writing Program in 2012, one year after graduating summa cum laude from San Francisco State University’s Creative Writing program. When not writing, Jonathan enjoys voice acting, dressing like a Victorian gentleman, and indulging in all things odd and macabre in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Fortin.

1.) You’ve written several stories featuring female protagonists. What do you like best about writing characters who are women?

It honestly depends on the character in question. I enjoyed writing Ingrid in Requiem in Frost because she’s so feisty and snarky. I enjoyed writing Maraina in Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus because she’s dynamic and conflicted, often struggling to reconcile her desires and goals with what the world demands of her. Though both are women narrating their stories, they’re completely different characters, and I can’t really lump them together just based on their sex.

That being said, I’m most engaged by characters who are struggling against difficult odds. Women are marginalized, which means they’re up against a lot in general, and that makes me want to root for them to succeed. In Lilitu’s case, I had some axes to grind about rigid gender expectations, and having a woman as my protagonist was the only way to say what I wanted to say. With Requiem, on the other hand, I just thought it would be more interesting to have its young metalhead protagonist be a girl because it’s viewed as such a masculine genre. Metal girls don’t usually get their stories told.

2.) What’s your writing process like? Do you outline? Or do you write by the seat of your pants?

For short stories, I tend to pants it, shotgunning out the first draft very quickly. Sometimes I’ll outline, but usually, when I outline short stories I’ll never end up writing them. For novels, though, I always outline. Oftentimes my outlines are very detailed and ever-evolving, changing as I go through the book.

71298608_466444053949251_268881514123493376_n3.) Who or what is your favorite monster?

I love demons. They can take so many different forms, and I enjoy their aesthetic and folkloric qualities. I also have a soft spot for vampires. Shocking, I know. I also love tentacly, madness-inducing Lovecraftian beasties.

4.) What does the future hold for you? What works do Horroraddicts have to look forward to?

Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus launches in December. I’m working on a sequel for it now, and I also have a few other books in the works, including one with a solid first draft. You’ll learn more about those soon!

 

 

Guest Blog: 25 of the Most Metal Films (That Aren’t About Metal)

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The world’s first heavy metal band, Black Sabbath, took their name from Mario Bava’s classic 1963 horror film. In the years since, horror and metal have continued to have an ongoing conversation, from horror-themed metal bands (such as Cradle of Filth, The Great Old Ones, or Carach Angren) to metal-themed horror films.

My short story Requiem in Frost continues this tradition, telling the story of a Norwegian girl who moves into a house haunted by the ghost of a black metal musician.

To coincide with its release, I’ve decided to make a list of movies that, to me, feel “metal.” However, I’m not going to limit this list to horror, and I’m going to avoid films that are specifically about metal. This is because every other list of “Most Metal films of all time” take it literally, all of them focusing exclusively on the same 10 or so movies to have explicit references to the genre. The internet can only withstand so many posts containing Deathgasm, The Gate, The Devil’s Candy, and Lords of Chaos. So instead, I’m going to focus on movies that feel like they capture the essence of metal.

Here’s my criteria: do the images in the movie feel like they could be metal album covers? Could you put metal on the soundtrack and have it feel right? Does the story feel like it could also be that of a metal concept album? Does it feel powerful and meticulously constructed in the way that good metal does?

Obviously, everyone will have their own view on what does and doesn’t belong on this list. These are my choices, and I’m sure that your own are perfectly valid. That’s why these are 25 of the most metal films that aren’t about metal—not the 25 most.

Black SabbathHere we go. Organized by year:

  1. BLACK SABBATH (1963): Let’s just get this shoo-in out of the way. It honestly doesn’t feel that metal to me, but the fact that it inspired what many consider to be the first metal band ever makes it retroactively metal.
  2. WIZARDS (1977): Ralph Bakshi’s animated feature establishes a world in which, following a nuclear apocalypse, humans have all died or become mutants, and fantasy races have taken over in the meantime. An evil wizard uses Nazi propaganda footage to inspire his troops; a robot finds redemption, and fairy tits jiggle. It’s a strange, over-ambitious film, but the subject matter and imagery would feel right at home in a strange, over-ambitious metal concept album. Bakshi’s Fire and Ice might also be a suitable pick, but I haven’t seen it so I can’t put it here.
  3. HEAVY METAL (1981): A token inclusion, this adult animated anthology feature contains aliens on drugs, women with big swords, and copious amounts of sex and violence. It’s rather dated, particularly in the treatment of its female characters, but there’s no denying it is as metal as its name.
  4. CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982): Look, the poster for Conan the Barbarian looks just like a Manowar album. It opens with the forging of a sword. It’s full of Vikings. It has to be on this list.
  5. LEGEND (1985): When you get down to it, a lot of metal is quite geeky, full of fantasy tropes and looming apocalypses—much like Legend. Plus, Tim Curry’s Darkness is such a perfectly iconic heavy metal demon that it would be sinful not to include it.
  6. HELLRAISER (1987): Clive Barker’s squirmfest is undeniably metal, if only for the aesthetic of the cenobites and for the film’s obsession with pain, pleasure, and Hell. Hellraiser was also a huge influence on the band Cradle of Filth, with Pinhead’s actor Doug Bradley making regular appearances on their albums.
  7. EVIL DEAD 2 (1987): The Necronomicon. Ash’s chainsaw hand. The bleeding walls. The soul-swallowing, flesh-possessing demons. Evil Dead 2 is as metal as it gets.
  8. THE CROW (1994): While it’s arguably more of a goth film than a metal film, The Crow is nonetheless filled with such metal-appropriate themes as coming back from the dead to avenge your frigid lover. It’s also one of the rare movies where both the protagonist and antagonist have longer-than-average hair. Kaw, kaw.
  9. DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE (1994): Also known as Cemetery Man, this underrated dark comedy stars Rupert Everett as the keeper of a cemetery where the dead come back to life after burial. It features a romance with a severed head, a zombie on a motorbike, and Death himself, as well as amusingly cynical quotes like “I’d give my life to be dead” and “At a certain point in life, you realize you know more dead people than living.”
  10. VAMPIRE HUNTER D: BLOODLUST (2000): One of the most beautiful animated films of all time, and also one of the darkest. There’s vampires, giant flying manta rays, strange monsters, dark magic, zombies, and more. The first Vampire Hunter D film is good, but Bloodlust just gives the audience one incredibly metal scene after another, and it’s filled with shots that look like they could be metal album covers.
  11. LORD OF THE RINGS (2001 – 2003): Just look at this meme. I think that demonstrates pretty clearly just how metal these films are.
  12. HELLBOY (2004) & HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY (2008): Guillermo del Toro’s fantastic Hellboy films follow a demon who fights Nazis, tentacled Eldritch abominations, faeries, and more. The fact that we have a demon as the hero of the story is pretty significant, but the films’ hellishly lush imagery also demand their inclusion. Particularly metal is the Angel of Death we meet in Hellboy II: The Golden Army.
  13. 300 (2006): I’m including Zach Snyder’s divisive “300” here because the whole movie just feels like a mosh pit to me, with its fetishization of big men with big swords fighting in big groups. It has stunning, brutal, beautiful violence, and plenty of images that feel like metal album covers. Lest you think metal can only be from Scandinavia, check out the amazing Greek metal bands Rotting Christ or Septicflesh, and the Mesopotamian metal band Melecesh. All three bands would feel right at home on the 300 soundtrack.
  14. PAN’S LABYRINTH (2006): Another beautiful Guillermo del Toro picture, Pan’s Labyrinth is both a grisly fairy tale and a story of rebellion. The Faun and the Pale Man, both played by the incomparable Doug Jones, are stunningly dark creations, and this list would be incomplete without them.
  15. SILENT HILL (2006): Pyramid Head’s scenes. ‘Nuff said.
  16. MARTYRS (2008): Extreme metal is like extreme horror: enjoyment often requires a process of conditioning and desensitization. Just as you can recommend some extreme metal only to people with the ear for it, you can only really recommend Martyrs to people with the stomach for it. Somewhere out there, a goregrind band is writing lyrics about a woman’s skin being removed in honor of this grueling film.
  17. VALHALLA RISING (2009): Nicolas Refn’s surreal Viking picture stars Mads Mikkelsen as One Eye, a man who resembles Odin and goes on a transcendent journey. It’s bloody, somber, drenched in pagan spirituality and black metal as Hell.
  18. HELLDRIVER (2010): This bonkers Japanese splatterfest contains a car made out of body parts, an eight-armed zombie holding eight assault rifles, a plane made out of zombies, and…look, it’s just nuts, okay? I might have also included similar Japanese bonkers films like Tokyo Gore Police, The Machine Girl, or Robogeisha, but I feel like Helldriver belongs here the most.
  19. DRIVE ANGRY 3D (2011): Nicholas Cage escapes from Hell to take revenge on someMandy evil cultists by driving…angrily…in 3D. While being pursued by a demon accountant…who is also, yes, in 3D. There’s also a sex scene gunfight…which is, you guessed it, also in 3D.
  20. BERSERK: THE GOLDEN AGE ARC (2012 – 2013): While it isn’t nearly as good as the manga it’s based on, this anime film trilogy is nonetheless quite metal. Set in a medieval fantasy world, Berserk has big swords, big battles, and big demons, culminating with the infamously hellish “Eclipse” sequence. But really, read the manga instead.
  21. KUNG FURY (2015): This 30-minute long Swedish crowd-funded film manages to pack more metal stuff in it than most films can manage in a feature-length. In Kung Fury, a Kung-Fu Cop must fight Hitler, but accidentally goes too far back in time and ends up in the Viking Age, where Viking women ride dinosaurs and fight laser raptors. In other words, it’s amazing. You can watch it for free on YouTube.
  22. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015): This movie contains a man playing a fire-spewing guitar on top of a stage that’s on a moving big rig, and if that’s not metal, then I don’t know what is.
  23. THE WITCH (2015): The Witch kicks off with the ritualistic sacrifice of an infant, and from there only continues to bombard us with Satanic imagery. Of particular note is Black Philip, the sinister goat who apparently terrorized the actors as much as he does the characters in the film.
  24. MANDY (2018): Nicolas Cage makes a bat’leth and fights a shitty cult in this surreal film that’s destined to be a cult favorite. Like some great metal albums, I can think of, Mandy starts off slow and atmospheric, lulling you with hypnotic beauty before exploding into an orgy of batshit violence. Also, like many great metal albums I can think of, it feels like it was conceived while on drugs.
  25. AQUAMAN (2018): Okay, hear me out. James Wan’s Aquaman makes Jason Mamoa’s Aquaman look as metal as possible, and he makes the rest of the film as metal as possible too. The scene where Aquaman bursts from the ground while riding a giant crab? Metal. The Lovecraft references? Metal. The Trench sequence with its creepy fishmen? Metal. Amber Heard’s jellyfish dress? Metal. The fact that Aquaman fights a giant tentacle monster that’s voiced by Mary Poppins herself, Julie Andrews? Oh, so metal. There’s even a cute scene with the cuddly metalheads at a bar. This movie is a treasure.

 

JonathanFortinAuthorPhoto_SepiaJonathan Fortin is the author of Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus (coming December 2019 from Crystal Lake Publishing) and Nightmarescape (Mocha Memoirs Press). An unashamed lover of spooky Gothic stories, Jonathan was named the “Next Great Horror Writer” in 2017 by HorrorAddicts.net. He attended the Clarion Writing Program in 2012, one year after graduating summa cum laude from San Francisco State University’s Creative Writing program. When not writing, Jonathan enjoys voice acting, dressing like a Victorian gentleman, and indulging in all things odd and macabre in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can follow him online at www.jonathanfortin.com or on Twitter @Jonathan_Fortin.

 

Requiem in Frost LIVE Reading Event, October 2nd – TONIGHT!

San Francisco Bay Area residents
can hear author Jonathan Fortin read
Requiem in Frost  LIVE
Wednesday, October 2nd @7 p.m.
at the San Mateo Public Library
Other guests will include Emerian Rich, Trinity Adler,
Loren Rhoads, E.M. Markoff, Laurel Anne Hill,
Ben Monroe, R.L. Merrill, Mercy Hollow,
Sumiko Saulson, and J. Malcolm Stewart.

 

THE CROW Twitter Watch Party – Tonight

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Horror Addicts, in honor of the new book release, Requiem in Frost, HorrorAddicts.net and Jonathan Fortin would like to invite you to a Twitter Watch Party! We’ll be watching the dark and brooding beauty of 1994’s The Crow, beginning at 8 pm PST tonight.  So, pop your popcorn, take a seat, and get your tweet on.

WHO: Jonathan Fortin and HorrorAddicts.net

WHAT: THE CROW Twitter Watch Party

WHERE: Twitter

WHEN: Tonight at 8:00 PST

Stay Spooky!

THE CROW Twitter Watch Party

RFBANNER

Horror Addicts, in honor of the new book release, Requiem in Frost, HorrorAddicts.net and Jonathan Fortin would like to invite you to a Twitter Watch Party! We’ll be watching the dark and brooding beauty of 1994’s The Crow, beginning at 8 pm PST on Tuesday, October 1st.  So, pop your popcorn, take a seat, and get your tweet on.

WHO: Jonathan Fortin and HorrorAddicts.net

WHAT: THE CROW Twitter Watch Party

WHERE: Twitter

WHEN: Tuesday, October 1, 8:00 PST

Stay Spooky!

LIVE Twitter Q & A with Jonathan Fortin – Today

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Horror Addicts are in for a treat. Jonathan Fortin, author of Nightmarescape and Requiem in Frost, will be answering your questions LIVE this Thursday, September 26th, at 12:00pm-12:30pm on TWITTER!

WHO: Jonathan Fortin

WHAT: LIVE Q & A

WHEN: Today

TIME: 12:00pm – 12:30pm.

WHERE: Twitter

Be there and Be Spooky!

Requiem in Frost LIVE Reading Event, October 2nd

San Francisco Bay Area residents
can hear author Jonathan Fortin read
Requiem in Frost  LIVE
Wednesday, October 2nd @7 p.m.
at the San Mateo Public Library
Other guests will include Emerian Rich, Trinity Adler,
Loren Rhoads, E.M. Markoff, Laurel Anne Hill,
Ben Monroe, R.L. Merrill, Mercy Hollow,
Sumiko Saulson, and J. Malcolm Stewart.

 

#Requiem in Frost Blog Tour and Events

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HorrorAddicts.net Press is proud to present Jonathan Fortin’s latest work. Join us as we tour the web and hold live events.

REQUIEM IN FROST

We’re all about Black Metal and Zombies! Enjoy the blog posts, excerpts, and celebrations as we launch our newest Horror Bites e-book.

 

September
23 Press Release horroraddicts.net
23 Twitter LIVE Q&A with Jonathan Fortin Announcement horroraddicts.net
24 BLOG TOUR Announcement horroraddicts.net
25 Tales of Horror 3 @ San Mateo Library – LIVE READING Announcement horroraddicts.net
26 Twitter LIVE Q&A with Jonathan Fortin Reminder horroraddicts.net
26 Twitter LIVE Q&A with Jonathan Fortin https://twitter.com/Jonathan_Fortin
27 Twitter Watch Party: The Crow Announcement horroraddicts.net
October
1st TWITTER WATCH PARTY: The Crow Reminder horroraddicts.net
1st TWITTER WATCH PARTY: The Crow https://twitter.com/Jonathan_Fortin
1st How Metal Changed My Life http://www.ellderet.com/blog
2nd Tales of Horror 3 @ San Mateo Library – Live Reading of Req. Reminder horroraddicts.net
2nd Tales of Horror 3 @ San Mateo Library – Live Reading of Req. Live Event
5th 1st Excerpt from #Requiem in Frost https://nachingkassa.wordpress.com/
6th 25 Of The Most Metal Films (That Aren’t About Metal) horroraddicts.net
7th The Evolution of Requiem in Frost https://horrortree.com/guest-post-the-evolution-of-requiem-in-frost/
7th Chilling Chat Episode #176 Jonathan Fortin horroraddicts.net
10th Five Questions with Loren Rhoads lorenrhoads.com/blog
11th Requiem in Frost: Unofficial Soundtrack https://www.rlmerrillauthor.com
13th 2nd Excerpt from #Requiem in Frost emzbox.com
19th Finale – LIVE interview with Jonathan Fortin horroraddicts.net

LIVE Twitter Q & A with Jonathan Fortin

RFBANNER

Horror Addicts are in for a treat. Jonathan Fortin, author of Nightmarescape and Requiem in Frost, will be answering your questions LIVE this Thursday, September 26th, at 12:00pm-12:30pm on TWITTER!

WHO: Jonathan Fortin

WHAT: LIVE Q & A

WHEN: Thursday, September 26th

TIME: 12:00pm – 12:30pm.

WHERE: Twitter

Be there and Be Spooky!

HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents – eHorror Bites 4: Requiem in Frost

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On this day of Mabon, HorrorAddicts.net is proud to present the next book in their eHorror Bites series. eHorror Bites 4: Requiem in Frost is the newest work of Next Great RFJFHorror Writer Contest winner, Jonathan Fortin.

BLACK METAL LIVES!

Located in the deep frostbitten woods of Norway, Ingrid’s new home is old, spooky, and possibly haunted. Guttural screams wake Ingrid and her mother nightly. When they discover the shrieks belong to deceased former occupant and extreme metal musician, Skansi Oppegård, Ingrid investigates the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death. Hoping to exorcise Skansi’s ghost, she talks her mom into being part of a metal band. Oppegård’s last musical creation awakens forces beyond Ingrid’s understanding and causes Skansi’s murderer to resurface. In the battle between a madman and zombies, metal may be the only weapon she has.

A Peek Inside

REQUIEM IN FROST

When I opened my eyes, it was still dark—probably after midnight. When I took off my headphones, I didn’t hear screaming. However, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.

Someone was standing in the corner of my room.

He was tall and muscular, with long, ragged hair. Smeared skeletal makeup covered his face, mingling with open scars. His torso was splashed with a fresh coat of crimson, dripping all over the floor, but drippiest of all was the huge axe in his hand. As I considered the growing red pool at his feet, I found myself wondering where all that blood had come from…

Is Mom all right?

The thought hit me with the force of a speeding train. If the ghost had hurt Mom, he could hurt me, too. Perhaps it should have been obvious, but I’d never felt threatened until that moment. My heart stopped as I lay there, paralyzed in bed, fearing he would kill me, and that he’d killed Mom already.

The spirit approached my bed, his huge axe dripping a river onto the floor. I tried to muster up the courage to run, but my legs were frozen in place. All too quickly, he was right beside me, raising his axe high.

“Skansi…” It came out before I could stop it, the squeak of a girl much younger than myself.

The spirit halted, surprise in his bulging eyes. Perhaps he hadn’t expected me to know his name.

“Someone killed you, didn’t they?” I asked, my throat dry.

The spirit continued to stare, but he did not lower his axe.

JonathanFortinAuthorPhoto_SepiaJonathan Fortin is the author of Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus (coming December 2019 from Crystal Lake Publishing) and Nightmarescape (Mocha Memoirs Press). An unashamed lover of spooky Gothic stories, Jonathan was named the “Next Great Horror Writer” in 2017 by HorrorAddicts.net. He attended the Clarion Writing Program in 2012, one year after graduating summa cum laude from San Francisco State University’s Creative Writing program. When not writing, Jonathan enjoys voice acting, dressing like a Victorian gentleman, and indulging in all things odd and macabre in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can follow him on Twitter.

You can also find Jonathan in HorrorAddicts.net’s Clockwork Wonderland and eHorror Bites 3: #NGHW Editor Picks.

 

 

 

 

Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Jonathan Fortin

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Jonathan Fortin was named the Next Great Horror Writer by HorrorAddicts.net and is a graduate of the Clarion Writing Program. His novel Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus is a JonathanFortinAuthorPhoto_Sepiaforthcoming release from Crystal Lake Publishing.

1) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

I remember getting into horror as early as first grade when I started reading the Goosebumps books. Then in middle school, I became obsessed with Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow and wrote a trilogy of short vampire novels. However, I was an anxious, easily-terrified child, so I didn’t fully embrace horror until later in life. Now, I’d always been drawn into darkly magical worlds, even in the video games I adored (American McGee’s Alice, Planescape: Torment, Vampire the Masquerade, etc.) But because I was so sensitive, it was rare for me to watch horror movies in my youth. That changed when I went to college, and began trying to face my fears and challenge my limits. I realized then that I’d been a horror fan all along–I had just been too scared to accept it.

2) Who is your favorite author? Who has influenced you?

My favorite author is Neil Gaiman. Not always horror, but certainly dark. Other authors who have influenced me include China Mieville, Alan Moore, H.P. Lovecraft, Holly Black, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Carlton Mellick III, Dan Simmons, Clive Barker, Patrick Rothfuss, Haruki Murakami, and Junji Ito. Lately, I’ve been digging the work of Joe Hill and N.K. Jemisin.

3) What inspired you to write your piece?

“Consumption” is about the anxiety of losing your identity in a homogenized office culture. For my day job, I work in a call center. Environments like that make it difficult for people to be authentically themselves, as you can easily be judged by coworkers if they learn that you’re different from them in some way. For work to run smoothly, you must conform to a larger whole–losing your identity in the process. I’ve always been highly individualistic, and struggle to conform to social expectations, so I’ve never liked the idea of being consumed into something larger than myself. I didn’t get to explore this theme as deeply as I wanted because of the length requirements, but that was the fear that drove me to write this story.

4) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

Generally, I develop characters so that their behavior will naturally drive them into the stories that I want to tell, but I love it when they surprise me by doing things I don’t expect or react to each other in ways I never planned. In the past I’ve tried to force characters to act in ways that didn’t feel authentic to me, but as any writer will tell you, that just doesn’t work. So in my experience, characters NEED free will if you want the story to feel real. That doesn’t mean I won’t carefully manipulate the world around them, though.

5) What did you learn from participating in the contest?

You never know whether you’re really all that into a story idea until you try to write the damn thing.

6) Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

Since I won, I don’t really see the point in doing it again. I’m too busy trying to live up to the title, haha. But if I were to do it again, I would try harder to strengthen my nonfiction submissions (articles, interviews, etc.).

nghwedpsm7) What is your favorite horror novel?

Hard to choose, but a few that have stuck with me are Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Caitlin R. Kiernan’s Silk, and Dan Simmons’ Drood. If I could include graphic novels, Black Hole by Charles Burns and Providence by Alan Moore would also be serious contenders.

8) Favorite horror movie?

Crimson Peak, Oldboy, The Thing (1982), and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, among many others.

9) Favorite horror television show?

There seems to be a pattern of four here, so I’ll say Carnivale, Hannibal, Penny Dreadful, and Stranger Things.

10) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

At some point, my novel Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus will be released from Crystal Lake Publishing. HorrorAddicts is also putting out my short story Requiem in Frost, from the contest’s musical challenge. I’m working on a few other novel projects right now, and have a completed (if rough) first draft of one that I’m very excited about. My hope is to complete a polished, publishable draft of my second novel and then find an agent for it.

You can follow Jonathan on Facebook and Twitter.

PR: Nightmarescape by Jonathan Fortin

Now Available from Mocha Memoirs Press
Nightmarescape
by Next Great Horror Writer winner, Jonathan Fortin

Bliss is a city of nightmares, and all Grace wants is to get her daughter out.

Years ago, the residents of Bliss discovered that their nightmares were becoming real. Ever since, the city has steadily transformed into a surreal, twisted hellscape. Massive walls trap the residents in with bloodthirsty monsters and indescribable terrors. No one knows if it’s even possible to escape alive.

Grace, an African-American mother, spends her days searching for a way out of the city to give her daughter Sam a chance at a real future. But when Sam is kidnapped by a shadow from their past, mother and daughter alike are forced to face their greatest fears.

Interview with the Next Great Horror Writer Winner: Jonathan Fortin

JonathanFortinAuthorPhotoKenzie: Congrats on being the next great Horror Writer! I can’t believe it’s all over. It seems just like yesterday when all of you contestants completed the first competition. I’m so proud of you and your hard work. I loved all of your submissions and I’m so happy that you won it all! How does it feel to be the first Next great Horror Writer? Still riding that high?

Jonathan: It’s pretty insane! I’m excited, overwhelmed, and thankful all at once. Winning this contest and this novel contract is the realization of a dream I’ve had pretty much my whole life. I spent many years working on Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus, so it’s kind of incredible to realize that it’s actually going to become a book people can buy and read.

Kenzie: Winning a contest of this magnitude is completely overwhelming,  something that only a few get to experience. How long have you been working on your novel and what is it about?

Jonathan: Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus is the story of Maraina Blackwood, a woman in Victorian England who becomes a succubus when demons take over Europe. Her life forever changed, Maraina ends up battling both a demonic new monarchy and her own repressed upbringing. It’s an epic Gothic saga, but also an exploration of Victorian gender roles and repression.

Writing Lilitu took many years. It was a challenging book to write because the Victorian setting had to feel authentic, but it also gets warped fairly early on. I needed to do all the research required for a historical novel, but also all the world-building of a fantasy novel. Naturally, this also impacted the characters–especially Maraina, who changes dramatically over the course of the book. Her character arc needed a lot of time to get right.

 

Kenzie: Holy cow Lilitu sounds amazing! Definitely, something I would read. Ever since I watched the Canadian show Lost Girl, I’ve been obsessed with any and all things succubus. I can’t wait for it to drop, it’s on my must read list! I love books that have a supernatural and horror element but doesn’t have to be 100% horror. I’ve never read a historical horror novel before, but I know it’ll be great.

Speaking of hard to write, what challenge was the hardest for you this season?

 

Jonathan: Thank you for your kind words. I love succubi too, not just because they’re seductive, but also because they challenge what society has traditionally told women how they must be. I’ve also always loved the sense of mystique to them–entering dreams, flying with demonic wings…these were things I wanted to capture when writing this book. I didn’t want my succubi to only be sex objects, or lack the magical qualities that make the folklore behind them so interesting. Putting them in Victorian England made sense to me because of the Gothic aesthetics of the time period (and the corsets!), and also because the sexual repression makes them clash dramatically with its values. Regardless, I hope you enjoy the book when it comes out.

For me, the hardest NGHW challenge was, ironically, the interview! Haha. I had a tough time coming up with questions and wasn’t sure what readers would be interested in knowing about me, or about what I think.

Kenzie: I love your interpretation of succubi. It gives them more depth than just sexual objects, especially in the Victorian era where women were supposed to be prim, proper, and dainty.

Haha, I actually remember your interview! I also loved your tongue in cheek way of interviewing yourself. What is one thing being apart of the first batch of next great Horror writers has taught you about yourself?

Jonathan: It reinforced my long-held belief that I am much better about getting my writing done when I have a deadline.

Kenzie: I can understand that! Working under pressure sometimes brings out the best work.

What are your plans going forward after winning this unique competition?

Jonathan: My plans are to push forward with Lilitu and it’s publication, as well as to move forward with my other writing projects. I’ve been named The Next Great Horror Writer–I had best live up to that!

Kenzie: Very True! I look forward to your future writing endeavors! Did you make any friends while doing this competition?

Jonathan: Yes! One thing I loved about this competition was that the participants were all very friendly to one another. I already knew Sumiko because we are both local to the bay area, but the other contestants were all total strangers at the start, so it was a pleasant surprise how nice they’ve all been. I hope to retain friendships with them. There’s even been talk of forming a critique group so that we can all help each other grow as authors.

Kenzie: Wow that’s honestly amazing. In other competitions, the contestants are at each others throats and here you guys are helping each other. You just can’t beat being in a competition where the contestants are nice to each other.

Is there anything else you’d like to let HorrorAddicts and your fans know?

Jonathan: I just want to thank you, Emerian, Heather, and the rest of the HorrorAddicts crew as well as Joe Mynhardt for this incredible opportunity. I hope I can live up to the title you’ve bestowed upon me!

Kenzie: Congrats once again on being The Next Great Horror Writer! We’re all so proud of you and wish nothing but the best for your future work. Good luck and keep it scary.

#NGHW Winner! Who is the NEXT GREAT HORROR WRITER? Jonathan Fortin!

Winner Jonthan Fortin!

JONATHAN FORTIN
Age: 29
From: El Cerrito, CA, USA

Twitter

As a child, Jonathan Fortin was perpetually terrified, so of course he grew up to be a horror writer. Haunted by tales that grow in his head like demonic children, Jonathan believes that a good horror story is first and foremost a good story—just one where particularly awful things happen.
Facebook / Website

Jonathan wins:

Crystal Lake Publishing

Grand Prize: Book Contract

 Dario Ciriello, Editor

Grand Prize: Full edit of winner’s novel up to 50,000 words.

HorrorAddicts.net

Short story contract with HorrorAddicts.net “Horror Bites” series.

Horror Writer gift box. Supplies and inspiration for the Next Great Horror Writer.

Winner line up / Final placement…

1st place: Jonathan Fortin


2nd place:

NACHING KASSA
Age: 41
From: Valley, WA, USA

Twitter


3rd place:

DAPHNE STRASERT
Age: 27
From: Houston, Texas, USA
Facebook


4th place:

JESS LANDRY
Age: 30
From: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Facebook


5th place:

HARRY HUSBANDS
Age: 27
From: Peterborough, UK

Facebook


6th place:

SUMIKO SAULSON
Age: 48
From: Oakland, CA, USA

Twitter


7th place:

ADELE MARIE PARK
Age: 53
From: Morayshire, Scotland

Facebook


8th place:

FEIND GOTTES
Age: 44
From: Dewittville, NY, USA

Twitter


9th place:

JC MARTINEZ
Age: 27
From: Metepec, Estado de México, México

Facebook


Honorable Mentions:

CAT VOLEUR
Age: 22
From:  Mobile, Alabama, USA

Twitter


TIMOTHY G. HUGUENIN
Age: 27
From: Bartow, WV USA

Twitter


AE KIRK
Age: 30
From: Devon, England

Twitter


QUENTIN NORRIS
Age: 26
From: Austin, Texas, USA

Twitter


RILEY J. PIERCE
Age: 31
From: Rice Lake, WI, USA

Twitter


 

RE- listen to this season of HorrorAddicts.net

#NGHW WInner: Mocha Memoirs Press Publication

 

Winner of the Mocha Memoirs Press Publication is:

Jonathan Fortin with

Nightmarescapes


Nightmarescapes

In a town…where nightmares are solid, a mother is trying to find a way out for the good of her young daughter. She has to fight ghost-like creatures that can control her nightmares and a Spider monsters from her own imagination.

Hero: An African-American mother.

Monster: Spider Nazi with her ex-husband’s head.

 

You’ll soon be able to read Jonathan’s story in a publication by Mocha Memoirs Press.

 

#NGHW Winner of the Poetry Challenge!

This is just a taste of Jonathan’s poem that will be featured in an
upcoming issue of Sirens Call Magazine.

A Warning on Wings by Jonathan Fortin

His prayer was drawn in blood, the circle like a door

He sat beside the threshold, book open on the floor

This will never work, to himself he sighed

But he was so lonely that every night he cried

He was a somber man, not blessed with good looks

Hated by his village, he found solace in books

Tonight he stripped naked, legs crossed, arms spread

He whispered the words that from the pages bled:

“For you I’d be the greatest that I could ever be

I would do it all, anything you ask of me.”

The circle was no prison; he did not seek a slave

Nor mindless copulation, which would bore him to the grave

No, he sought the thing that was most beyond his reach:

A love felt too deeply to be bought or breached.



Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on HorrorAddicts.net