Risingshadow has had the honour of interviewing Jonathan Winn.
Jonathan Winn is a dark fantasy and horror author.
Screenwriter, playwright, actor, and author of Martuk... the Holy and The Martuk Series, Jonathan Winn was born in Seattle, WA. He currently lives in the United States. Martuk... the Holy: Proseuche is his second full-length novel.
Click here to visit the author's official website.
AN INTERVIEW WITH JONATHAN WINN
- Could you tell us something about yourself in your own words?
Well, I was born in Seattle, but grew up in a teeny, tiny town about two hours south of there. After graduating high school, I escaped to Los Angeles where I lived in West Hollywood for about a decade until moving to New York City where I was for almost seventeen years. So now I’m sorta deciding if I’m an LA dude or a NY guy. Have some wonderful projects – screenwriting-related – percolating in LA, so that, more than anything, will decide where I end up. In the meantime, I write, I cook, I play tennis, I snuggled with my dogs, and then I write some more. :)
- How did you become a writer?
I began in the summer of 2004 as a screenwriter, quickly incorporating playwriting and then, since I was tiring of the “rules” of writing scripts and plays, trying my hand at fiction which, to me, felt a lot more free and easy. Boy, was I wrong. To this day, my books are still the most difficult of all the things I write. Difficult in a wonderful way. Screenplays? Kinda easy. TV pilots? Ditto. Plays? Okay, a little tougher, but, still, easy. My books? Those full-length novels and short fiction? Tough, tough, tough.
- What are your favourite authors? Have any of them been a source of inspiration to you?
Although I don’t connect as strongly with her work now, I cut my teeth years ago reading early-Anne Rice, more specifically The Witching Hour. Still, to this day, my hope is I can write a book as epic as that. So that kind of writing, the kind that spans centuries and generations of families, inspires me. These days, when I carve out an hour or two to read for pleasure (and not just research), I find myself drifting toward Stephen King and the more research-oriented work of Susan Wise Bauer. I truly envy anyone who can make ancient history feel alive and vibrant as she can.
- Because your stories and novels can be categorized as dark fantasy and horror, it would be interesting to know if you've always been interested in dark fantasy and horror?
I have! As a kid, I remember being fascinated with the Crusades (which, to me, felt horrible and dark) and the Inquisition. Joan of Arc. The Salem Witch Trials. Stuff like that. Really, anything having to do with graveyards and ghosts and those unseen things crawling into the light of day absolutely fascinated me. So much so, my parents became truly concerned. They just wanted me to be normal and play baseball or something. ;)
- What inspired you to write The Martuk Series and Martuk... the Holy?
I remember, as clear as day, walking with my dogs through Washington Square Park in NYC on a March afternoon in 2009, the 17th, to be exact, and suddenly finding this immortal Martuk whispering in my ear. His story, his history, his pain and anguish and rage and violent, vicious anger. It really was like someone telling me all about themselves. I knew he lived in Paris, I knew he was born one thousand years before Christ in the hills a three day walk away from ancient Uruk, and I knew he was being tortured by the ghosts of all he’d killed. I found myself fascinated with the story. So much so that when I got home, I sat down and wrote the opening chapter. And over the next few days, as I took copious notes, trying to keep up with him, I found I had three books and two more possible companion series to write after that first book. So, basically, the next fifteen years of my life was planned over a week in 2009.
- Could you tell us something about The Martuk Series and Martuk... the Holy? What kind of a protagonist is Martuk?
Martuk ... the Holy is about a man so haunted by the ghosts of his past, both literally and figuratively, that he believes his only escape is by revealing his life – the rights, the wrongs, the horrible choices, the cruelty, the monstrosity – and the truth of who he is. We learn about how he came to be as well as the endless, constant consequences of being trapped by Time, unable to die.
With that in mind, as a protagonist, Martuk is frustratingly human. He’s imperfect, he’s vicious, he’s dangerous, he’s in pain, he has hope, he has dreams, he loves, he hates. He is a sensitive, struggling human trapped in a body that will not die. Martuk has walked every day of his nearly three thousand year existence and he will continue to walk every day after that. This simple, inescapable fact is continually teasing and stretching his sanity, driving him to act out in historically devastating ways.
- You latest novel, Martuk... the Holy: Proseuche, will be published soon. Is it a direct sequel to Martuk... the Holy?
Yes, it is a direct sequel, though, based on beta-readers who read Proseuche while being unfamiliar with the first book, it can easily be read and enjoyed on its own. There’s enough information sprinkled throughout the beginning that whatever a new reader needs to know to understand the Who, What, and Why, they quickly find out. In fact, some have said that after reading Proseuche, they now want to go and read Martuk. :)
- What can readers expect from Martuk... the Holy: Proseuche?
They can expect the unexpected. The story takes place in a world of chaos and betrayal where nothing is what it seems. Where people are suffocating under their secrets. And the truth, as you understand it, ends up being a dark and horrible thing. As an early review said, Proseuche is “a relentless read” with “with twists and turns that linger long after the Epilogue.”
- Are you planning on writing more novels or stories about Martuk?
Yes, I’m scheduled to release the third book, Martuk ... the Holy: Shayateen, in the Spring of 2015. After that, I’d love to write a companion series of full-length novels about Mot (a female and fellow immortal in the Martuk books), but will have to see how the various screenwriting projects in LA pan out and what kind of time commitment I’ll have to work with.
- Is there anything you'd like to add?
As a writer, there is nothing better than having a tough-as-nails beta-reader, a person with a long history in the industry and who’s known for ripping books to shreds, call you up half-way through the book and almost scream “Oh my god ... did you just do what I THINK you did? How could you?!?!?!? Oh my god ... oh my god ...” When that happens, you know the story you’re telling is worth telling.