Meghan: Welcome back, Jonathan. This has become so much of a tradition, you and me, that I can’t imagine Halloween without you. Thanks for joining us again this year. What is your favorite part of Halloween?
Jonathan: Cheesy answer here, but I love taking my kids trick-or-treating. My oldest is a junior now, and my middle child is a freshman, so they do things with their friends now, but my youngest (Peach) is still all-in for trick-or treating. I love going with her!
Meghan: Do you get scared easily?
Jonathan: Yes. I have a deliriously overactive imagination, so I get scared pretty frequently. The things I’m most scared of involve something happening to my loved ones, but I guess most people worry about that. Some more obscure things that scare me are waking in the middle of the night and worrying someone is going to seize my hand. I’m also creeped out when I’m in the school alone (where I teach). Schools can be really eerie places.
Meghan: What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen and why?
Jonathan: My favorite horror movie is Jaws, but the scariest? I don’t know which one wins, but there are some that genuinely freak me out: The Taking of Deborah Logan, Lake Mungo, Hell House LLC, Smile, Gondjiam: Haunted Asylum, Host, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, and Hereditary.
Meghan: Which horror movie murder did you find the most disturbing?
Jonathan: You know one that really bothered me? I think it fit the movie, but it really hit me hard. In Summer of ’84, there’s a death near the end that really stunned me. I still can’t quite believe they went there, but I do think it was the right decision.
Meghan: Is there a horror movie you refused to watch because the commercials scared you too much?
Jonathan: Naw. If the commercials were scary, I’d be there. The only ones I don’t watch are ones I just know I wouldn’t dig from the stuff I’ve heard. Cannibal Holocaust and A Serbian Film come to mind. I’m not against them or anything. I just don’t have any interest in them.
Meghan: If you got trapped in one scary movie, which would you choose?
Jonathan: Weeellll, I guess I’d choose one from which I could escape? One that would be a lot of fun? So that being said, maybe Slaxx or Psycho Goreman? Or Love & Monsters, which I enjoyed quite a bit.
Meghan: If you were stuck as the protagonist in any horror movie, which would you choose?
Jonathan: If survival were the goal, I’d have to choose a pretty resourceful one, so I’d say… Ash from the Evil Dead series.
Meghan: What is your all-time favorite scary monster or creature of the night?
Jonathan: Wow, great question. I love both vampires (when they’re ferocious) and werewolves, but if I HAD to pick one, it’d be the werewolf. I just love that concept.
Meghan:What is your favorite Halloween tradition?
Jonathan: My birthday is right around Halloween (the 27th), so it’s always fun to celebrate both around the same time. I get to have my family with me even more than usual!
Meghan: What is your favorite horror or Halloween-themed song?
Jonathan: I love “This is Halloween” from The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s just perfect.
Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?
Jonathan: Hmmm… for that one, let’s go with Ghost Story. I’ve been re-reading it for an upcoming podcast and remembering all the ways it freaked me out. Straub made something permanent there.
Meghan: What is the creepiest thing that’s ever happened while you were alone?
Jonathan: I sleepwalked a great deal as a kid, so I woke up in some scary places. I remember waking up in a friend’s new house where they’d just moved in, and I was stuck in a pitch-black room in a maze of boxes for a good twenty minutes before I felt my way out. It felt like twenty hours.
Meghan: Which unsolved mystery fascinates you the most?
Jonathan: The stuff with alien abductions fascinates me. I’m sure most accounts aren’t true, but what if? Also, I’m really taken with the notion of ghosts, so any haunting piques my interest.
Meghan: What is the spookiest ghost story that you have ever heard?
Jonathan: I’ll go way back for this one. The Signal-Man by Charles Dickens scared the hell out of me as a little kid. My mom brought in home on album from the Delphi Public Library. It had sound effects, the creepiest music, and a really good narrator. I still get chills thinking about it.
Meghan: In a zombie apocalypse, what is your weapon of choice?
Jonathan: Got to be the crossbow (after I mastered it, of course). Or a sword. I’ve watched too much Walking Dead, obviously.
Meghan: Okay, let’s have some fun. Would you rather get bitten by a vampire or a werewolf?
Jonathan: Werewolf. You don’t HAVE to kill to survive. I’d have my family lock me up as a precaution. Then again, if they were MY kind of werewolves (who changed because of a strong negative emotion), I might be a danger to my family. So let me think about it some more!
Meghan: Would you rather fight a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion?
Jonathan: It would depend on the nature of the aliens, but I’d lean toward the former because the latter seems more invincible.
Meghan: Would you rather drink zombie juice or eat dead bodies from the graveyard?
Jonathan: Yikes! I guess the latter if they were seasoned properly *shivers*
Meghan: Would you rather stay at the Poltergeist house or the Amityville house for a week?
Jonathan: Amityville. The Poltergeist held too many terrors. Although I don’t like the way the Amityville House made him turn on his family.
Meghan: Would you rather chew on a bitter melon with chilies or maggot-infested cheese?
Jonathan: Yikes again! The former. No question at all. I’m not a maggot fan.
Meghan: Would you rather drink from a witch’s cauldron or lick cotton candy made of spiderwebs?
Jonathan: Is that code for something? I’m gonna assume no and go with the former.
Boo-graphy: Jonathan Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels. He is represented for Film & TV by Ryan Lewis (executive producer of Bird Box). His work has been championed by authors like Josh Malerman, Caroline Kepnes, Stephen Graham Jones, Joe R. Lansdale, and Brian Keene. His ghost story The Siren &the Specter was selected as a Goodreads Choice nominee for Best Horror. Additionally, his novels Children of the Dark and The Dark Game were chosen by Booklist and Library Journal as Top Ten Horror Books of the Year. He also teaches high school Film Literature, Creative Writing, and English. Jonathan’s main interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children. You can sign up for his newsletter, and you can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.
The Raven 2: Blood Country —
Three years ago the world ended when a group of rogue scientists unleashed a virus that awakened long-dormant strands of human DNA. They awakened the bestial side of humankind: werewolves, satyrs, and all manner of bloodthirsty creatures. Within months, nearly every man, woman, or child was transformed into a monster…or slaughtered by one.
A rare survivor without special powers, Dez McClane has been fighting for his life since mankind fell, including a tense barfight that ended in a cataclysmic inferno. Dez would never have survived the battle without Iris, a woman he’s falling for but can never be with because of the monster inside her. Now Dez’s ex-girlfriend and Iris’s young daughter have been taken hostage by an even greater evil, the dominant species in this hellish new world:
The bloodthirsty creatures have transformed a four-story school building into their fortress, and they’re holding Dez’s ex-girlfriend and Iris’s young daughter captive. To save them, Dez and his friends must risk everything. They must infiltrate the vampires’ stronghold and face unspeakable terrors.
Because death awaits them in the fortress. Or something far worse.