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Our SPFBOX interviews continue with Josh Wright, author of Here There Be Monsters.

SPFBO (the Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off) is a free online contest run by author Mark Lawrence. 300 authors compete across ten judging teams to see who will be the winner! You can read more about the contest here.

 

The cover of Josh Wright's Here There Be Monsters. The cover has a simple, clean design. A crusader shield sits in the background, with an image of a chained and flaming heart inside a sun in foreground. The heart has one monstrous yellow eye.

INTERVIEW WITH JOSH WRIGHT

 

Tell us a little about yourself and let our readers know which blog you’ve been assigned to for SPFBOX!

 

I’m a 36 year-old dad of two who lives in central Oklahoma and works a day job in healthcare. Writing a novel has been a lifelong dream of mine so I was so excited to finally accomplish it. My book, Here There Be Monsters, has been assigned to The Before We Go Blog.


What inspired you to write this book?

When I read Urban Fantasy it tends to be a secret magical world that exists parallel to our world. So, I wanted to do a story where magic exists as an invading influence but one openly known about and seen subject to humanity’s tendency to fear and hate what it doesn’t understand. It was definitely also influenced and inspired by ongoing tensions at work in the world around us especially as I was writing during the pandemic.

 

 

 

I’ve always loved horror as a genre because of how unpredictable it can be to read a story where the good guys can win or lose.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about your writing or editing process? What’s most exciting to you about writing or editing?

Writing for me tends to be in bursts of a thousand words or two at a time. I also spent a lot of time during the four years I was writing and editing learning what NOT to do, such as writing about a third of the book (35,000 words or so) before realizing I was moving in the wrong direction and having to mostly start over.

I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so most chapters got written and rewritten multiple times along the way, a habit I’m trying to get out of as I’m working on the sequel.

Once I had a completed draft, I used Hemingway Editor to check for grammar issues, run-on sentences, and overusing adverbs, had a list of commonly overused words (immediately, said, had, that, very, much, more, good, probably, pretty, suddenly, then, really, started, just, somewhat, slightly, somehow, seem, definitely, nice, hear/heard, see/saw) I searched my word document for and edited out or reworked, and listened to it several times with word’s read aloud feature to catch anything else I might have missed.

It’s exciting to me see a story come alive and (as hard as it can be) to smash it in to a shape with the tedious effort of an editorial hammer.


Who or what have been your major literary influences?

I’ve always loved CS Lewis. The Phantom Tollbooth was a favorite of mine as a kid (and now). I like Tolkien, but I prefer The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings. George RR Martin helped me get back into reading as an adult, and through him I discovered grimdark as a genre and found Mark Lawrence and Joe Abercrombie.

I’ve always loved horror as a genre because of how unpredictable it can be to read a story where the good guys can win or lose. I like Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, Max Brooks, and Joe Hill.

Matt Ruff is an author I really love because of how varied and different all his stories feel.


What makes your SPFBOX book unique?
It’s got elements of horror. Religion is central in a way it’s not always in fantasy with characters whose connection to it range from sincere to jaded to power-hungry to dangerous zealots. It’s grounded in real-life issues and social commentary.

Do you have a favourite character from your SPFBOX entry? Tell us about them!

Mallory LeBlanc. I like the idea of someone for whom immortality is a burden instead of a blessing and I enjoy the redemption arc of someone coming so full circle in the way they think about an issue.

 

I wanted to do a story where magic exists as an invading influence but one openly known about and seen subject to humanity’s tendency to fear and hate what it doesn’t understand. It was definitely also influenced and inspired by ongoing tensions at work in the world around us especially as I was writing during the pandemic.


How does your work fit into (or challenge) its genre?
It’s Urban Fantasy in a world where magic is declining. Science is fused with magic in a lot of ways bringing in sci-fi elements. The social commentary is front and central.

What do you hope readers take away from your SPFBOX entry?

That being decent and kind is more important than a sense of moral superiority and correct dogma.


What are you currently working on?

The second book in the series (which is a planned trilogy), Walk Like an Egyptian.


Here There Be Monsters

 

800 years ago, Witches from another dimension tried to take over the world.

300 years ago, the paranormal beings they left in their wake came out of the shadows to join human society.

Now, a knight cursed with immortality, a mummy with eldritch powers, and a werewolf police captain are on the trail of a serial killer hunting paranormals. The reasons why will lead them deep into a world of corruption where religion mingles with politics, humanity’s xenophobia is on full display, and the monsters aren’t necessarily the ones with claws and fangs.

 

 

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Josh Wright

Josh Wright is a fourth-generation Okie and lives in Piedmont, OK with his wife and two children. His head is full of useless information about superheroes, movies, and Scooby Doo but fails to retain more useful things like names of people he’s met more than once and where he put that thing he’s looking all over the house to try and find.

Steve Hugh Westenra

Steve is a trans author of fantasy, science fiction, and horror (basically, if it’s weird he writes it). He grew up on the eldritch shores of Newfoundland, Canada, and currently lives and works in (the slightly less eldritch) Montreal. He holds advanced degrees in Russian Literature, Medieval Studies, and Religious Studies. As a reader, Steve’s tastes are eclectic. He enjoys anything that could be called speculative, including fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, but has been known to enjoy a good mystery as well as literary fiction. He’s always excited to try something new or that pushes boundaries, particularly from marginalized authors. Steve is passionate about queer representation, Late Antiquity, and spiders.

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