The Sorrows, an island off the coast of northern California, and its castle have been uninhabited since a series of gruesome murders in 1925. But its owner needs money, so he allows film composers Ben and Eddie and a couple of their female friends to stay a month in Castle Blackwood. Eddie is certain a haunted castle is just the setting Ben needs to find inspiration for a horror film.
But what they find is more horrific than any movie. Something is waiting for them in the castle. A malevolent being has been trapped for nearly a century. And he’s ready to feed.
FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.
About the Author
Since then Jonathan's work has been lauded by writers like Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee, Tim Waggoner, Bryan Smith, and Ronald Kelly. Novels like The Nightmare Girl, Wolf Land, Savage Species, and Dust Devils prompted Thunderstorm Books to sign Jonathan to an eleven-book deal and to give him his own imprint, Jonathan Janz's Shadow Side.
His novel Children of the Dark received a starred review in Booklist and was chosen by their board as one of the Top Ten Horror Books of the Year (August 2015-September 2016). Children of the Dark will soon be translated into German and has been championed by the Library Journal, the School Library Journal, and Cemetery Dance. In early 2017, his novel Exorcist Falls was released to critical acclaim.
Jonathan's 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 Janz at www.jonathanjanz.com.
What is the book about?
Basically, in the early part of the 20th Century, a selfish composer kidnaps (or adopts) a child he hears playing a musical instrument in a Greek forest. The composer exploits the child and steals his music in order to become famous himself. Eventually, the child rebels. The child also isn’t what he appears to be. The composer locks the child in a tower and leaves him for dead. For a week, the island’s inhabitants hear the child playing the piano. Finally, it falls silent. Six months later, it begins again.
What are the underlying themes?
It’s about the exploitation of innocence and the terrible results that evil act can bring about.
Did real life experiences bring about any of the plot of this tale?
Only my fears and insecurities as a father. Nothing matters more to me, but nothing makes me (sometimes) feel more inadequate. Those fears, as well as the debilitating fear of somehow losing my kids, inform this book.
What about the setting stimulated your imagination?
My wife’s sister lives in Santa Rosa, California, where part of this book takes place. It’s not far from the ocean. One day, we all drove out there and hiked along the coast, and the windswept view, the awesome power and the air of mystery, it all worked its magic on me.
What are some of your favorite books about haunted houses or castles?
I love HELL HOUSE (Richard Matheson), THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE (Shirley Jackson), SARDONICUS (Ray Russell), and THE GREAT GOD PAN (which isn’t really a haunted house book, but is more a haunted person book).
Who influenced you most in the writing of the book?
Great question. This one, I’d say, is a weird fusion of Arthur Machen, Richard Matheson, Peter Straub, Ramsey Campbell, and Richard Laymon. Oh, with a little bit of James Herbert thrown in for good measure.
Is there any advice you can give someone starting to write?
You will only succeed if you love it, if you burn to write. If you’re not passionate about it, you need to get out, because that passion and determination will keep you going when things go badly. And they will go badly. You’ll be rejected, you’ll be discouraged, you’ll be told you’re not good enough. You’ll likely experience soul-sucking self-doubt. But if you love it enough, you’ll stay with it. That’s how you climb. By not quitting.
Where did you write?
Like most of my novels, this one was written in my home, in my writing room. It’s an inspiring setting filled with books and an aura of magic.
Did you write in silence, or to any particular music?
I write to Baroque music. It’s the perfect fusion of mystery, passion, and energy, and listening to it, the words just flow from my fingertips to the page. It also drowns out the ambient noise that I sometimes find distracting.
What are you writing now?
At the moment I’m editing a post-apocalyptic novel (the first of a planned series) and working on the second CHILDREN OF THE DARK book.