Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Interview With Author Jonathan Fortin

I have a real treat today with an interview with author dark fantasy and horror Jonathan Fortin. Enjoy!

Interview With Jonathan Fortin




Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

My name is Jonathan Fortin, and I’ve just come out with my first published novel: Lilitu: The Memoirs Of A Succubus. I won HorrorAddicts.net’s Next Great Horror Writer Contest in 2017, attended Clarion Writing Program in 2012, and graduated summa cum laude from San Francisco State University in 2011. I’m a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, California, and love all things dark and Gothic.


Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

Lilitu: The Memoirs Of A Succubus is a Dark Fantasy novel about a woman in Victorian England who becomes a succubus, and must battle both a devilish new monarchy and her own repressed upbringing. It’s the first chapter in an epic Gothic saga, being published by Crystal Lake Publishing.


How long have you been writing, and how many books have you published to date?

I’ve been writing more or less all my life. I wrote children’s books in elementary school and completed my first (embarrassing) novel trilogy in middle school. Lilitu is my first published novel. I have about a dozen short stories published prior to this, some of which are available as ebooks, such as Requiem in Frost (HorrorAddicts.net) and Nightmarescape (Mocha Memoirs Press).


Do you have a favourite character? If so, why?
I’m very fond of Maraina Blackwood, the protagonist of Lilitu, because she’s extremely dynamic and has a very complicated arc. Maraina is a rebellious young Victorian woman who becomes a succubus in the wake of a demonic uprising, leaving her torn between the teachings of her youth and her desire to survive. Determined to make things right, Maraina seeks to end the demonic rule over England, but learns that doing so will mean seducing one of Hell's most wicked demons—and embracing a side of herself she was always forced to repress. Lilitu chronicles Maraina’s emotional transformation from a frightened Victorian girl into a powerful succubus warrior, hell-bent on overthrowing an empire. Through her, Lilitu fashions a heroine from an archetype long demonized: that of the seductress who takes control of her own sexuality.


What do you enjoy most about writing in the Dark Fantasy genre?

Fantasy and Horror have always been my two favorite genres, and Dark Fantasy combines elements of both—mixing the sprawling scale and magic of fantasy with the dark atmosphere and nihilistic tone of horror. Another thing I like, though, is that fantasy in general usually mixes together many different genres. You’ll probably have at least one epic battle in there, but there may very well also be a romantic sub-plot, ongoing mysteries, and horrifying monsters. My interest is in how these genres combine with each other. A streak of comedy or a compelling love story can do wonders to make you care about the characters because you’re laughing with them, falling in love with them, hoping that they can find happiness against all odds. So when things get dramatic later on, it hits harder. The horror is scarier. The tragedy is sadder. The battles are more emotionally intense.

That said, juggling so many genres is a very tough balancing act. Not only do you have to make sure the tone feels consistent, you also have to successfully pull off every single one of those genres on their own terms. If you have a romantic sub-plot, it can’t be boring. If the reader feels like their time (or the character’s time) is being wasted, it’s no good. Similarly, ongoing mysteries need enough development and seeding that their eventual reveals will carry weight, and not just feel like deus ex machinas. Dark Fantasy can also be particularly tricky to get right because Fantasy often features characters with some form of magical powers, and Horror focuses on disempowering the characters as much as possible. So you really need to make sure that your characters remain helpless and vulnerable no matter what magic they have on their side. So Dark Fantasy is a very tricky genre to do well, which makes it all the more rewarding when an author pulls it off.


Why did you write this book? What was your inspiration?

I wrote Lilitu: The Memoirs Of A Succubus because I was frustrated about the lack of serious succubus fiction out there. I felt that the world needed a book that used succubi and incubi to explore issues of gender/sexuality, a book where they actually had wings and entered dreams and generally possessed the dark mystique that they command in the folklore.


What advice would you give beginning writers?


Be persistent. Making it in this business is mostly about not giving up. You’re going to be rejected a lot, and that’s okay. The first draft is going to be garbage, and that’s okay, too. Workshop what you write with writer friends who you trust to be honest, and accept that it’s better for them to pull it apart now, so that you can fix it. Recognize that even when people complain about some things, there will still be other things in there that are wonderful and amazing—scenes and passages that move you and everyone else. Recognize that in later drafts you may have to cut those things out to fit with the bigger adjustments. Recognize that anytime anyone says “This isn’t good enough,” all it means is, “This isn’t ready yet.” Practice the bafflingly difficult art of self-compassion. Don’t listen to the critic on your shoulder telling you that you suck. Just put in the time to write, suck up your anxiety about showing it to anyone, and tell the stories you dream of telling.


What do you like to do when you're not writing? Any hobbies?

In addition to writing, I am a trained, working voice actor. I’ve been studying at Voicetrax, a school in Sausalito, for the past four years, and have a few small credits under my belt.


Are you working on another book?

Yes, several. I am currently working on the next books in the Lilitu saga, as well as a horror novel with a protagonist who is on the autistic spectrum, and a Lovecraftian epic that is mostly done but needs serious editing. You can follow my endeavours at www.jonathanfortin.com/ or on Twitter @Jonathan_Fortin.



Lilitu: The Memoirs Of A Succubus is available at Amazon



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