Jonathan Moon is a dark fiction writer living in Moscow, Idaho. He is the twisted mind behind HEINOUS, Worms in the Needle (Morbid BookS), Hollow Mountain Dead (Permuted Press), Stories To Poke your Eyes Out To, and several other nasty and terrible things from epic fantasy to hardcore horror to poetry. He’s also worked alongside big names in the biz, to include Timothy W. Long and Craig DiLouie.
Recently accepted into the Anthropology program at the University of Idaho, Mr. Moon plans on spending his life studying the human animal. He wears masks, carries knives, and tells lies. Lots and lots of lies.
See if you can decipher fact from fiction below. (And check out some of his poetry at the end of the interview.)
JO: What’s the lamest Halloween costume you’ve ever seen, and why did you want to beat the shit out of the person wearing it?
JM: I think most Halloween costumes are lame, hahaha. I live in the darkness year ‘round so seeing people getting scary once a year doesn’t often impress me. I think goofy costumes, like ketchup bottles or giant dicks, are the worst and should be only worn on days like April 1st or Election Day or to college football games.
I once dressed up as Fred Durst for Halloween. I probably deserved to have the shit kicked out of me, but I believe it actually got me laid so I shouldn’t be too critical.
Okay, forget what I said, from now on everyone should just wear the goofiest low-brow shit they can find. Used-toilet-paper-mummies, junkie Teletubbies, and giant dicks everywhere—HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
What word or phrase sends chills down your spine?
Words…oh, words are chill inducing indeed…
Ronald Reagan once famously quipped, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help’.”
I agree that those particular words strung together in such a sense are terrifying, but that’s just one quote, with only so many words. Words have that power, and in an overactive imagination like mine certain words inspire all the dark visions I can handle: Barbed Wire, Sun Set, Skin, Bite, Bludgeon, Dismember, Disembowel, Lynching, Trust, Hurt and Blood Stain.
If I had to be honest, I think the two most frightening words ever strung together for the sheer destruction and death and dishonor left in the wake when spoken, when followed, when believed, has to be Manifest Destiny.
What’s your most unusual fear?
I don’t know, does anyone else fear the rise of the robots? Cold soulless robotic overlords made of metal and wire and hate. They scare me (almost as much as humans).
Dead rise from the earth. Chaos and panic ensue. No place appears to be safe. Do you run or stay home? Why?
Uh, oh, the doom’s day question.
I ain’t prepped shit, so I am just going to have to assume the role of Zombie Overlord and rule the decaying masses. Yup, call me crazy, but that’s my tactic: control the hordes, control the power. Think of me as the post-apoc media control god. Dead people like me, and they’ll make me king…or eat me alive…
If you had to square off against any fictional monster, what would it be and why?
Wolfman from Monster Squad, just because I know all I’d have to do is kick him in his ‘nards’. If it has to be a real life monster, I’d say Ann Coulter.
Tell me an intriguing true story in two sentences or less. And by intriguing, I mean, “Shit, that’s going to get me kicked off campus tomorrow.”
I went crazy one Christmas, psychedelics and Santa Claus. I went crazy one Christmas, candy canes and bloody walls.
Do you run into writer’s block sometimes? If so, what helps you get over the hurdle and back on track? If not, what’s your secret?
Oh yeah, I get writer’s block, but not near as often as I used to. But then again, I am ten times as busy as I was when I started this gig and that includes schooling, which wasn’t there when I began writing. Now I spend so much time with my head in an academic book, when I get a chance to write some of my nasty fiction, I have a build-up of creativity.
I think to make up for those times of scare creativity I will put almost any half-interesting idea down on paper now. So I end up with a gadjillion documents on my laptop and thumb drive, all at various states of progress. It becomes a matter of what do I feel like working on, which project is going to cooperate with the thoughts swirling in my head at the time. Depending on mental state, I always have a wide variety of things I can work on. I have open running documents with poems, and others with short stories of similar tone, subject, or setting (thinking Hoo-Doo County here). Better to have too much of your writing than not enough.
What one writing tip—from anyone—has seared itself into your brain and lingers even when you’re fucked up and running naked through the woods?
The word ‘that’ is the single most overused word in the English language. My mommy told me that. People have called my style poetic and my mom is who gave me the rhythm. She is the first poet whose poems I memorized. She has been an amazing influence in my writing style…NOT the content found within it. Hahaha
What kind of music gets you in the mood to write, if any? Why?
All kinds! I listen to all sorts of music, and it depends on my mood and what I am writing. I listen to a lot of killer country like the Pine Box Boys, the Goddamn Gallows, and Those Poor Bastards. One of my favorite albums is Black Eyed Vermillion (Featuring the Inheritance) The Pleasure Tide, seriously some amazing music there. I can listen to it over and over and over again. (Those around me may grow tired of my constant singing along.)
Anything by Todd Smith (El Creepo, Polka Dot Cadaver, Dog Fashion Disco, Knives Out!) is an instant favorite of mine. The man is a genius and I think everyone should listen to all his incredible work.
I dig some heavy grooves like the Masters of Rock, CLUTCH, as well as fiftywatthead, Horn of the Rhino, Electric Wizard, and another one I just can’t get enough of, Orchid. I’ve been digging some heavy instrumental bands like Pelican and Russian Circles lately as well. Hahaha, yeah, and sometimes I feel like some Bad Religion, Anti-Flag or Goldfinger…other times The Haunted, Arsonists Get All the Girls or Sigh. There really is no rhyme or reason behind my soundtracks, just whatever I feel when I sit my ass down.
I can say when I write on my EPIC dark fantasy world I almost always am listening to metal that gets me in the ‘fantasy’ zone like The Sword, 3 Inches of Blood, Amon Amarth, or Destroy, Destroy, Destroy. But, like I said this is the only time I can match up a constant theme or band to genre or project.
Do you think a well-written work is more or less important than story? Please explain.
Damn. This one gets a little convoluted, let me ramble on for a little while and see if I can’t avoid giving a straight answer. If I can’t get through the writing in the first chapter of a book, I will not finish reading, even if the story sounded intriguing as hell. If the story doesn’t sound interesting, I’ll never pick the book up. If I had more time for ‘reading for fun’ perhaps I would be more forgiving, but I don’t so I’m not. In the past, I have read some really well-written books about halfway through before I realized it wasn’t taking me anywhere I wanted to go. So I can easily say great writing can make a story seem better than it is, but a shitty story is still a shitty story. An incredible story which captures my soul, but is written like shit will most likely leave me not only frustrated but most likely to the point it will be a long while until I attempt to read more from said author. Bottom line, I don’t have time for shitty books.
Besides your often thoughtful, poetic Facebook posts, what else can we expect from you in the near future? Any new novels in the pipelines? If so, what inspired it/them?
A BUNCH! Hahaha, I have been a busy dude and have been working on quite a few things. I have to be vague about one or two for just a little longer, so let’s cover those first. I am working with an exciting new company making a post-apocalyptic tabletop RPG, for which I will be writing a series of seven short stories to assist in some truly amazing world building these dudes have been hard at work on.
I have the aforementioned EPIC dark fantasy, which I have spoken with a very awesome company about, but nothing has been made official, but I can say when it does hit it will be awesome. Some of the most fun I have ever had writing, and almost a tribute to R.A. Salvatore’s Icewind Dale world. I am very excited to share it with the world, and look forward to working with some of these characters for years to come.
I have been working on a TOP SECRET something with Craig DiLouie, which I think is just all kinds of unique and incredible. If Craig’s name sounds familiar it is because he was nominated for a Stoker Award last year for his novel Suffer the Children, which is one of the most terrifying novels of the past several years. Craig is immensely talented, and I am honored he included me in this project which is his brainchild and one of the most intense things I have worked on since I began writing seriously.
So, now, things I can really talk about. I just sent in fifty-five 55-word flash fiction stories to Joe and Josh at Carrion Blue 555 for their 555 Vol.2 collection. I am excited as hell to be included in this upcoming collection and am honored to near numbness to be included with some of the names included in Volume 2, including the super-talented poets John Edward Lawson and Stephanie M. Wytovich. Volume 1 of 555 is out now and includes Gabino Iglesias, William Pauley III, Grant Womack, Matthew Revert, and Josh and Joe themselves, as well as a few other highly talented folks who are slipping my name-dropping mind at the moment. Vol 2 should be out sometime next year.
I’ll have a story (called “To The Endless Slaughter of Time”) in the upcoming Dynatox Ministries anthology Giraffes on the Moon, and another (“Little Black Jars”) in the hardcore antho Splat 2 edited by John Ledger, and a fun one co-written with my good buddy Timothy W. Long (“Santa’s Bloody Reign”) in the Evil Girlfriend Media Naughty or Nice anthology slaying folk around Christmas time.
I have at least three novels or novellas going right now, with my hyper-violent population control novel Culling The Herd and my strange slow-burn, Tighten the Garrote Slowly, getting most of my spare time. I am also working on tightening up a collection of my poetry and finding it a home. Whew…oh, and a bachelors’ degree in Anthropology sometime in the next year-ish.
Anthropology sounds interesting, especially with a new species having been discovered recently. Do you have your own theory on human evolution, or do you plan to stick to that mumbo-jumbo referred to as ‘factual science’?
Oh, I love Anthropology, and I am excited to do it for the rest of my life. So, as far as theories of human evolution [go], I would say I am about half-traditional. I do believe our ancestors originated in Africa, as all the evidence so far acquired has suggested.
I am more inclined to believe the model known as the ‘Multi-Regional’, which says basically we evolved up to Homo and set sights elsewhere, and our evolution occurred as these first upright wanderers migrated from Africa through the Middle East to Europe and Asia, all the way down to Java. We start seeing a great deal more H. Erectus and H. Neandertal all throughout the dispersal path.
Where I am mixed is, firstly, if Neandertal was really a completely different species why do most of us possess fragments of Neandertal DNA in our own? That’s right, Sapiens and Neandertal got down, and almost all us white folks got ‘cave man’ DNA all sequenced up in our own. We call it different species greatly based on physical characteristics, which I believe was simply the best which could be done at the time. As technology increases and we reach the point [where] microscopic amounts of ancient DNA can be coded, I expect to see shake-ups in previous discoveries based solely on age and physical characteristics.
To make sense of my babble, I am six-foot-one-inch, and my wife is a full foot shorter; if we had died on the opposite sides of a mountain range and our preserved carcasses were dug up thousands of years later we would likely be classified by different species due to our different physical characteristics (keeping in mind sexual dimorphism is considered a marker in evolution) and, also, the likely two different expeditions recovering us, as each school wants the glory of a new species and academic ego is a real goddamned thing and it can be dangerous.
My personal belief is we need to know more, and we will as climate change rocks the hell out of us. I think the permafrost tundra will start giving up secrets no one is expecting, the world will go through drastic changes in the next hundred years and it will give up many ghosts in my humble opinion.
Damn it, from the time we climbed out of the trees and all through our history, right up to the ridiculous days of now, humans just fascinate me.
Now that you’ve answered all the questions, only one issue remains: The voices in my head want you to stay here forever. Will you stay forever?
No. Absolutely not. But I will be back…
Damn it. These voices are always so needy they push people away! Gah! At least you’re coming back. We won’t let you get away next time!
Here are two poems from Jonathan, which illuminate his amazing poetic style:
Corpse in the Creek
There is a corpse
In the creek
Just the same.
Who Will Feed the Crows?
The crows are starving.
Their desperate calls
echo across the blackened fields.
They’ve picked the scarecrow
to his wooden bones,
succeeding only in sharpening beaks
on weathered post.
The farmer stays inside,
watching haggard birds
call for death.
He prays for rain,
shivering in the heat
at the thought of beak
But he knows,
Sacrifices must be made.
And don’t forget to hit up his Amazon page to get more of his work!