Monday, October 17, 2011

Author Interview - J.B. Thomas

I am going to go on record and name last month Aussie Horror Author Month, because two excellent YA horror/dark fantasy authors burst onto the scene with their d├ębut novels, and while two may not seem a staggering amount, it's a lot by Australian YA standards. One was Rhiannon Hart, who was interviewed here earlier this month, and the other was J.B. Thomas with Mammon, the brilliant first book in her Ferryman Chronicles

I was blown away by the demon mythology J.B. created in her book, and so I thought I'd stalk her and question her at length. Enjoy!

Can you tell us a bit about your latest book?
Mammon is the first in a series of dark fantasy novels called The Ferryman Chronicles. I started writing it three years ago with two ideas in mind: that there would be a character that could open and control dimensional rifts, and that humans would become demons. The rest grew from there.

What would be written on your main character’s gravestone?
(She) hath awakened from the dream of life, by the poet, Shelley. I put ‘she’ in brackets because the original quote uses ‘he’. Yes, I think this is a suitable epitaph for Grace. Life for her, as a telepath, has a dreamlike quality (and is, at times, nightmarish).

Why do you write horror?
Because I think that elements of horror exist around us, for real. Now, there may not be demons out there (at least, not that we can see) but just take a look at the news and you will see the terror. I like to link my stories to the horror of the real world through symbolism, metaphor and allegory – so they’re still enjoyable stories but also have layers of meanings that we can discuss and think about.

Have you ever had your own spooky experience?
No, but I know some scary Irish ghost stories told to me by my husband’s family. One involves a haunted house, a cold, dark bedroom and the feeling that someone is rolling a pillow up your leg, your stomach and eventually reaching your throat…but you’re the only person in the room.

What is your favourite book of the past month? The past year? All time?
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. I say this because I have never found an author who could show such a brilliant understanding of how people think and act. My love affair with Russia began years ago when I was in my late teens. Tolstoy (not to mention Dostoevsky) has done much to keep that fire burning.

What does your writing space look like? 
As I see it now: I’m in a blue room with a giant iMac on the desk. It dominates! Honestly, the thing is huge. I didn’t realize this when I ordered it. There are lots of books in here (d’uh!) – and the kitchen (and, more importantly, the Nespresso machine) is within a few steps. George, my Great Dane is cuddled on his armchair that he has pretty much ruined under his mammoth weight. I can hear QI on the TV (yes, I’m one of those people who can write with the TV on in the background) and there’s macaroni cheese in the oven. Yum!

What’s the scariest book you’ve ever read?
James Herbert’s books are frightening. The Rats is good because no matter where you go, there’s always the scratching and gnawing at the floorboards below. It’s about the unrelenting realization that it’s only a matter of time before they get you.

What’s your biggest fear?
Kidnap and torture – when you cannot reason with the person who is torturing you…and it could go on for weeks, even years. Also, being eaten alive. It’s the fact that you know what’s happening to you and you can’t do anything about it. My high demon, however, sees these activities as afternoon entertainment.

What are you working on right now?
I am working on Book 2 of the Ferryman Chronicles.

You can find out more about J.B. Thomas' books at and read a sample chapter of Mammon here:

A book by

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