[GUEST POST] Jonathan Winn on A Monster Hiding in Plain Sight
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 US. Martuk…the Holy: Proseuche is his second full-length novel and can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.
I don’t live in a world where sparkly vampires sigh like lovelorn teenagers, their emotional angst all but defanging them.
I don’t live in a world where zombies with endless appetites lurch and stumble, their ends often coming with a surprising thwack of a shovel.
No, where I live is truly monstrous. It’s dark and forbidding. A place where innocent lives have grisly ends and ghosts still sob. The world I live in is one of betrayal and mistrust. Where the line separating enemy from friend is cloudy and constantly shifting. A land where those who walk and talk like you and me share nothing of our humanity. The world of my immortal Martuk (as in “two” with a hard “k” at the end…Martuk) is one where monsters hide in plain sight, and the blood on their hands is steeped in consequence and regret.
All that being said, and despite Martuk being at home in Dark Fiction and Horror, the fact remains there’s no one quite like him telling a story quite like his.
And that’s the challenge.
How to find readers is a question asked by almost every author, regardless of what they write or who they write it for. But how to find readers who are willing to deviate from their diet of half-dead half-wits and luminescent bloodsuckers long enough to consider a more complicated, tortured, more human story of immortality is its own fresh hell.
How do you sell a story lacking that oh so familiar perpetual teen angst or those wandering hordes of ravenous carnivores? Do you focus on the walking, talking, endless monstrosity that is Immortality? The centuries of placid calm borne of powerless acceptance? Or the decades of epic, historic rage that reduce villages to blood-soaked rubble? Do you speak of this man, this Martuk, enduring a Life Everlasting sun-up to sundown for millennia haunted by ghosts, metaphorical and literal, to the point of vengeful, blind madness?
Or do you take a different tack and talk instead of bringing the past to life. Highlight the religious chaos and pagan magic of 3rd century Antioch. The surprising brutality that shadows the slender alleys of modern Paris. The bold reworking and rewriting of the history crowding the pages of Martuk…the Holy: Proseuche. The creation of new past where demons come from cloudless skies and infamous messiahs crawl from tombs to stumble into deserts where havoc awaits.
It could be all of these. It could be none of these. Or readers could simply find themselves intrigued by the fact that my stories are evocative and rich, darker, more twisted and unexpected, more sinister, than anything found in the pages holding glittery wanna-be hellions and tenacious shells reeking of rotting flesh.
Regardless how different what I do is from what readers might be used to, my imagination still lives lodged in the nightmare of Dark Fiction and Horror. My stories are, like I said, just different. They’re of futures told and pasts that suffocate and slaughter. Of innocents lying helpless while ghosts gouge words, symbols, signs into their weeping flesh. Of bones snapped and necks cracked.
Now that I think about it, Martuk, through his suffering, his hopes, his fears, his venality, through his rage and pain and vicious cruelty, will likely carve his own place in Dark Fiction and Horror.
And when it’s ready, the genre will find him.
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