Wasteland Gods is the long awaited novel by British-Canadian author Jonathan Woodrow. Jonathan, who moved from England with his wife to Toronto Ontario in 2007 and began writing, is a father of three and family man with a passion for writing dark stories. Wasteland Gods will be his first major novel and will be published by Horrific Tales Publishing.
The story is centered around Billy Kingston, an alcoholic who is consumed with thoughts of revenge after the brutal murder of his son is broadcast on the internet. Billy moves to a remote town – Benton Lake – to escape his current situation and escape the clutches of a divine being, Dr Verity. But little does Billy know that Verity has plans for him and plans he can’t escape.
I was lucky enough to be invited to interview the inspiring author ahead of the release of Wasteland Gods. Here’s a transcript:
What inspired you to start writing?
Writing stories is something I’ve always done, to a certain degree. I recall putting together a short Dracula story when I was about seven or eight years old and trying to sell it to my parents. I designed a cool cover and everything. Then later on, at college, I wrote a couple of scripts that never went anywhere, of course. It’s really only been during the last ten years or so I’ve started to take fiction-writing more seriously. I kept it largely to myself at first, at least until I started receiving those acceptances, and now I have a novel coming out in a little over a month, which is overwhelming.
In answer to your question, though, I don’t really know what inspired me at first. There must have been something. I’ve always loved movies, books, opera, and theatre—anything that tells a good story. I can tell you what inspires me now, and continues to do so, and that is my love of the process. Every part of this job excites me. From the initial development stage, to getting to know my characters, to ploughing through that first draft, then tearing it apart again for the second and third.
In the case of Wasteland Gods, the structural editor gave a brutal analysis of sections of the book that had to go—entire plotlines and characters. All things that I had failed to see were dragging the story down. Hearing that at first was hard (they don’t call it killing your darlings for nothing) but after making the cuts I stood back and for the first time was able to see a lean, streamlined story that flowed at a good, steady pace. The whole thing was liberating, and the book wouldn’t be what it is now had it not been for her.
Which authors would you say most influence your work and why?
I grew up with horror. From an incredibly early age I would scour the TV guide and set the VCR to record anything with a title that even remotely suggested horror. Of course my parents would regulate this a little, but without total prohibition. What I ended up with was pretty much the entire Hammer Horror Collection. Films about Dracula, Werewolves, Witches, and all kinds of other monsters. They may seem dated now but at the time they were most terrifying movies I’d ever seen.
The authors who have influenced me the most haven’t always been horror writers. I read a lot of Clive Barker and Stephen King when I was much younger and I suppose the two of them have influenced me the most. I read a wide variety of books in all different genres and I probably take away a little something from all of them. My two favourite genres would be horror and mystery/thriller, and you can probably find elements from both in Wasteland Gods.
You’re married and have three children. How do you find the time to write as well?
Two answers there: With great difficulty; and because I have an amazing, supportive wife. Seriously though, I’ve found that you can always make time for something if you’re serious enough about doing it. Even if it’s just an hour or two a day. I finished my first draft of Wasteland Gods around November 2012. I had been trying to develop it for some time without much success, and I eventually just sat down one day and started writing it.
In the industry they say there are two ways a writer can write: pantsing or plotting. Some folks can sit down and outline and entire novel, scene-by-scene, then write it. And their finished product will hardly deviate from that original plan at all. They’re called plotters. Others, like me, can’t do that. Their muse doesn’t make an appearance until they’re actually writing something. So they sit down, start writing, and hope that they’re going in the right direction. Flying by the seat of their pants, so to speak. They’re called pantsers.
I found that when I sat down and started writing, I was able to hit a couple thousand words a day and was finished with the first draft in a little over two months. Plot ideas and future scenes came to me as I was working. Of course, I then tore it to shreds in the editing/redrafting process but at least I had something to work with.
What do you have planned next for your career in writing? Have you started another novel yet?
I’m working on a few different projects at the moment. A couple of novels still in the early development stages and one I’m actively working on right now. I’m hesitant to divulge any details (mostly because it could change quite drastically before I’m finished), but needless to say, it’ll be dark.
Wasteland Gods is available now to pre-order now on Kindle Edition.