January Author Spotlight, Jonathan Janz



Every time I talk about Jonathan Janz, I refer to him as an author genius. No lie, he is! He’s also a son, husband, father, teacher, and friend. I’ve known Jonathan for almost 2 years and we met on facebook, like many of my author friends. He is witty, kind, super nice, and just loves to chat with his fans! He loves his family with every fiber of his soul. One can not help but smile and laugh at the family stories, and pictures. Simply amazing. I haven’t met Jonathan YET in person, but I hope to fix that this summer at the Scares That Care Weekend Event (Jonathan talks about STC in his interview) this July in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Jonathan has many books out, I have read a few. I have loved every one of them! They keep you on the edge of your seat, you hang on every word! You will be thinking about his books long after you have finished reading them.

WOLFLAND … if you love werewolves, you will love this book. WOLFLAND is full of blood, gore, heart racing action and lots of werewolves. Characters you will love, and some you will love to hate.

All hell breaks loose after a stranger crashes a local bonfire. After his bloodlust, nothing is the same for the little town of Lakeview, or for Duane, Savannah and their friends. The first attack leaves 7 dead and 4 wounded. Some of the victims are now changing. They prey on the innocent and they will plunge the whole town into a nightmare. Lakeview is about to become …………….. WOLF LAND.

CHILDREN OF THE DARK …. spookishly delicious. Non-stop action from start to finish. Again, bloody, gory, brilliant, and scared me to bits.

A mad man breaks escapes prison. He is out for some bit of revenge. The monsters out in the woods are REAL. People and town folk are dying. When the worst storm of the century hits Shadeland, Will and his friends must confront unfathomable horrors. Everyone Will loves, family and friends, will be threatened. Can Will save his family, his friends and his home town?

THE NIGHTMARE GIRL…. this book blew me away. Its spooky, suspenseful, twists and turns you won’t see coming, and you won’t be able to stop reading until you hit the very last page. It has the occult, spirits, mystery and heart.

What would you do if you saw a mother abusing her young toddler while at the local gas station? I’m sure you would do the very same thing Joe Crawford does, confront the mother. Joe has no idea the chain reaction he sets in motion. The young mother is part of an ancient fire cult. When the toddler gets taken away, the group of killers will destroy anyone who threatens the group and will do just about anything to get the young boy back.

No matter which book of Jonathan’s you pick up, you are guaranteed a brilliant book. Jonathan’s writing style is smooth, witty, scary, gripping and unforgettable. Simply put …. Amazing! All of Jonathan’s books are available in paperback and ebook. They range in price (ebooks $0.99 to $5.00).


You can see a complete list of all of Jonathan Janz’s books on his Amazon Author Page


Jonathan took time out of his very busy schedule to answer a few questions for me. THANK YOU Jonathan, it’s an honor to spotlight you here. Come back anytime!!

1. Did you always want to write?

Since I was very young, I wanted to tell stories. Mostly the stories from my childhood took movie form, but when I became a reader at age fourteen, some ideas began to germinate as books. I started writing my first novel as a high school senior. It was abysmal, but at least I tried.

2. Who were/are your influences?

There have been many influences, but the writer who far surpasses them all is Stephen King. He made of me a reader and a writer.

3. Teacher and Author, What grade? Do you let them read your book?

I teach grades eight, eleven, and twelve. As for my stuff, if they seek it out, that’s fine, but I never foist it on them. Some of what I’ve written isn’t appropriate for all ages, though I think CHILDREN OF THE DARK is pretty safe for adolescents on up.

4. How many books do you have available?

As of now, I have ten novels (with number eleven coming in March), four novellas (with number five coming later in the year), and some short stories.

5. Any new releases coming up?

The novel (it’s more than that, but it hasn’t been made public yet) is going to be something really exciting. That’s in March. I have the aforementioned novella some time in 2017. I have another completed novel with my agent now; additionally, I’m halfway through the first book in my first-ever long series.

6. Ever afraid of running out of ideas?

Not at all. I have enough ideas in the hopper to last me until the late 2020s.

7. Do you hope the kids want to follow in your footsteps and be a writer / teacher too?

Writers? Yes. Unhesitatingly yes. Teachers? That depends. I think it’s the second-most important undertaking behind parenting, but our society doesn’t treat the role of teacher the way it should be treated. Having said that, two of my kids have already expressed a desire to teach, and if that ends up being in their hearts, I’ll support them wholeheartedly. The world needs caring people in those roles, and I’ll humbly assert that my children will be caring people.

8. What are you currently working on? Any hints?

Absolutely! The series I’ve begun is a bit…elemental. I wouldn’t say it’s my DARK TOWER, but it’s the closest thing to that I’ve come so far. It’s a horror/western/sci-fi/apocalyptic adventure. With suspense and mystery too. So about the only thing it isn’t is Amish romance. Apologies to my Amish romance fans.

9. What type of books do you like to read?

I read everything, but horror is my favorite. For one, a tale has to be well-told. I’d say the craftsmanship is a must for my reading choices. I still have so much to learn, so it’s vital that I’m studying the best writers. After that, I look for characterization, which trumps everything, and of course a great story.

10. I just heard about it in 2015, and missed going in 2016, would you like to tell us about SCARES THAT CARES and have you gone to it every year? 2017 in the works?

I have been blessed with the opportunity to attend the Scares That Care event since its inception. Joe Ripple, Brian Keene, and many others have worked their tails off to make it the incredible event it has become. There’s really nothing quite like it. They choose three specific recipients to help each year, and then all involved just throw everything they have toward helping those recipients. It sounds clichéd maybe, but it’s really true: There’s a spirit of caring at the event. And selflessness. It’s really a beautiful event, and I’m grateful they keep letting me come back. Oh, and yes, I’ll be there this year.

11. What do you love most about writing? Teaching?

About writing? All of it. I love the flashes of inspiration, the slow percolation of the ideas, the initial stages of finding the story, the continuing growth of the characters, the white-hot blaze of writing climaxes, the delicate unfolding of the resolutions. I love the editing, the dreaming, the cover art. I love it when a book is out in the world; I love hearing what readers think of my stories. So, sincerely, all of it.

As far as teaching, I’d say being with my students. I genuinely enjoy getting to know them and spending time with them. The subject matter is fabulous, but it’s the kids who make the days fly by and the job rewarding.

12. Is there anything you dislike about them?

Honestly? No. At least, not any more intensely than I’d dislike a negative trait in any other person. My students are people, so they have flaws, but for the most part, they do their best, and that’s all I can ever ask.

13. Ever think about retiring from teacher and doing writing full time?

That would be challenging for three reasons. One, I selfishly want to work with my own three children in my classroom someday, and my youngest just turned six. If I weren’t teaching, that wouldn’t happen. Secondly, I love teaching even more now than I did when I started. I think I’d really miss it if I stopped. And thirdly, I’m risk averse, in this case as it applies to finances. I’d have to have so much money socked away to make sure our health care needs were always met, my kids’ college experiences were paid off, and our retirement were funded that it’s not really practical to speculate. Now, retiring a little early? I could see that. After my youngest child graduates. 🙂

14. Any topic off limits to write about?

I think everything is on the table, but it all depends on one’s treatment of the subject. Like many folks, I’m squeamish about children in difficult situations, but if the story requires me to go there, I do. Above all, it’s about telling the truth. It’s cheating the story and the reader to avoid dark themes if they’re essential to the story. Having said that, I do think things can be handled in a multitude of ways. It’s crucial to avoid gratuitousness or glorification of detestable acts.

15. What does a day of writing look like?

Wake up early, shower, brush teeth, make coffee. Insert coffee IV-drip, put on some baroque music, and write until three thousand words (or more) are done. By noon or a little after, it’s time to join the family and enjoy the most important part of life. That’s my writing day.

16. Describe your perfect day.

My perfect day? It would be entirely devoted to my wife and kids. I’d have morning coffee with my wife and just talk to her. Then I’d begin to roughhouse with my kids. After that, we’d do stuff as a family, like take a walk if it’s nice or play a board game if it’s not. We’d follow all that up by watching a movie together. Boring for most people, but heaven for me.

17. Any plans for a CHILDREN OF THE DARK book 2?

Absolutely. I think some of my fans would kill me if I left the story where I left it. My only question is whether there’s one more book there or more. I’m leaning toward more.

18. If you could live in a book for a day, which book would it be?

Wow. I’m guessing it doesn’t have to be mine, so I’d say…Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury? But I’d only live there for a day if I could take my wife and kids with me. Seriously. I don’t want to miss any time with them.

19. What would be the title of your autobiography?

Live with Love and Passion. Spectacularly cheesy, but apt.

20. Who or what inspires you?

Wow, that’s a tough one. I’m inspired by so many people. Two of them are my grandparents. My grandma just passed away in May, but her work ethic and selflessness were things to behold. My grandpa is ninety-one, and he’s almost always happy, kind, and patient. That’s a gift, and something I try (but often fail) to emulate. Still, I’m inspired to strive for it because of my grandpa.

21. Why do you write under a pseudonym and how did you come up with your name?

For one, the name Janz is my grandparents’ last name, so it’s a way of honoring them. Secondly, the idea is to keep my teaching and writing lives separate, and the pen name allows me to do this in a logical way. Of course, the better things go with my writing, the more difficult it becomes to preserve that separation. Still, it functions effectively for the most part.

22. Do you listen to music or do you like silence when you write?

I love writing to baroque music. For example, hearing Yo-Yo Ma play Vivaldi has a stimulating effect on my imagination. I occasionally listen to film scores, but that’s only when I’m striving for a specific vibe.

23. How do you think the classics inspire today’s authors?

We owe so much to those who’ve paved the way for us. I would guess that others might perceive me as being too transfixed by the past. But the fact is, I don’t think we can be too appreciative of the masters of our field as long as we’re still attempting to breathe new life into the genre and add to its incredible legacy. I think it’s important to know, for example, the work of John Farris because he is so influential on those who came after him (Stephen King, for example). Another positive to appreciating the past is that it strikes a blow to that natural but human tendency toward egocentrism. We need to remember that, yes, there have been other times and other skillful authors than the ones writing today. Or if you want to look at it selfishly, will anyone look back at the writers working today and give them their due? Hopefully. But only if people can embrace the genre’s rich and enriching tradition.

24. If you could meet any author (past or present) who would it be?

I know I sound repetitive, but you guessed it: Stephen King. I’m sure I’d be a blithering fool if I ever got to talk to him, but I’d still love to get that chance.

25. How do you celebrate when you finish a book?

Nothing as glamorous or dangerous as Paul Sheldon in MISERY, that’s for sure. What I often do is tell my family I’ve finished, and we then use it as an excuse to go out to a restaurant to celebrate.

26. Advice for future writers?

Develop a combination of perseverance and humility. This line of work gives you so many opportunities to despair and so many chances to quit that it’s easy to see why most writers succumb to their frustrations. I read a tweet last night by Joe R. Lansdale that basically called “waiting for inspiration” the devil for a writer, and I believe that’s true. You have to write to get anywhere. You also have to possess the requisite humility to acknowledge that you don’t know everything. The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. I like that and embrace that. Future writers should too.

Bonus questions …..

Do you Facebook, Twitter, blog, newsletter??

Indeed! I’ll soon have all of the above. On Facebook and Twitter I’m Jonathan Janz. On Instagram I’m jonathan.janz. My website is jonathanjanz.com, and my newsletter is coming very soon. Hopefully, this month.



Thank you so much for hosting me, Tina. I enjoyed it a great deal! 🙂

You are very welcome Jonathan. I have enjoyed this so much. Come back again real soon.

Happy Reading Everyone!!!! Enjoy the month of Janzuary …. 🙂

Love, ~TMB~




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