Today I would like to welcome Kate Jonez, Chief Editor at Omnium Gatherum Media and keeper of strange things in jars.
1. Your story in the Phobophobia anthology is about Electrophobia – the fear of electricity. What was the original inspiration for this or were there a number of sources that you drew upon?
We use electricity constantly, but most of us don’t really understand it. I couldn’t explain the difference between an amp, a volt or a watt especially not if the electricity went off. Lots of things we don’t understand scare us. Every time I stick a knife in a toaster I think that a monster is going to zap me. The inspiration for E is for Electrophobia came when I asked, what if electricity really did come from a monster?
2. The protagonist in your story could be characterised as a mad scientist – what is the appeal of this particular character type to the horror writer? What do you think he represents about humanity?
Scientists, the great ones, at least, think differently than the rest of us. They find the answers to questions the average person doesn’t even think to ask. I’ve always thought that they might actually be a different species. How can someone who unravels String Theory, for example, be the same sort of being who doesn’t get Introductory Algebra no matter how many times she had to take that damned class? Science at the very highest levels is fascinating, but also dangerous. Scientists wield great power. And when they go mad… horrifying things could happen.
3. What do you fear? Tell me about your own phobias.
I like to explore my own fears in my stories for the very same reason that I prefer to write horror and dark fantasy. Phobias and fear comes from a deep, dark honest place that logic doesn’t go. I’m personally afraid of crowds. Logically, I know that the chances of the suburbanites at the local mall devolving into a rioting, bloodthirsty mob, is slim. But the physical sensations I experience in a crowd is exactly the same as if I were in a sewer filled with swarming rats. I find it curious and a good excuse to shop online.
4. Your story incorporates a fear of the dark to contrast with the title fear and the individuals suffering from these fears are blood relatives – male and female – was this juxtaposition intentional from the beginning, or did it naturally evolve?
Giving the secondary character a fear of the dark seemed like a natural thing to do. Unlike her Uncle Elmo, the scientist, Dora is a simpler person. She believes what she sees. When things are hidden in the dark she fears them.
5. One of your hobbies is researching the odd and the obscure in history – do you have an odd and obscure fact or two that you would like to share with us?
One of my favorite characters of all time is Athanasius Kircher. He was a 17th Century scholar of ancient language, geology and medicine. He stumbled in to the odd position of Royal Inventor. He’s responsible for creating all sorts of wonderfully baroque automatons like a biological clock that runs on sunflowers, and his most famous invention the cat powered piano. He’s also the inventor of the magic lantern, the very first oil-powered movie projector. The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles has small models of his automatons and lots of online information: http://www.mjt.org/exhibits/kircher.html
6. Tell me more about your collection of ‘things in jars’ and what additions there have been recently?
There is nothing more effective at creeping guests out (the real hobby) than shelves lined with jars of scary and disgusting looking stuff. My most recent addition is a fetal pig. He’s very cute, though.
7. You have a Monster Blog that is regularly updated with information about monsters, myths, legends and how to shrink a human head – what is it about monsters that makes us create them and then remain fascinated by them? And have you verified the head shrinking recipe through practical experiment?
I began writing my monster blog as a resource for writers. I thought that every time someone was tempted to write a story about a familiar monster they could visit my blog and choose one that’s had a bit less exposure. And then I got a little carried away. There’s so many! Every time I discover a new one I want to put it in a story. Monsters are like simplified versions of ourselves. They are creatures that only have one personality issue or problem to work on. I think that’s why we like them. I have not yet tried out my head shrinking recipe, enemies just won’t come over to visit anymore.
8. How are things going at Omnium Gatherum Media? Lots of exciting things are coming from Omnium Gatherum in 2012.
Each of the authors currently published with Omnium Gatherum are hard at work on their next book. And we’ve got several exciting new authors too. On April 30th, Hunter’s Moon: Visceral Tales of Terror from R, Scott McCoy will be available in paperback and Ebook. The best way to find out about books from Omnium Gatherum is to sign up for our newsletter. We send out news of upcoming releases and offer discounts and special giveaways for newsletter members. The sign up page is here.
9. Tell me about one of the other stories in Phobophobia that you enjoyed and why. How many can I talk about? Lalalalalala. I really enjoyed Y is for Ymophobia by Magen Toole. The layers of the story added to the build-up of tension. John Palisano’s O is for Osmophobia did a great job building a character around a peculiar fear. And Adrian Chamberlin’s A is for Aquaphobia had wonderful atmosphere.
10. So what does 2012 hold for Kate Jonez? Any last words?
In 2012 I’ve got plans to finish up my second novel Bombay Island. If all goes well, Candy House my first novel should be in print by the end of the year. And of course lots of exciting titles are coming from Omnium Gatherum this year.
Thank you Kate!
Phobophobia is available at the following links:
If you want find out more about Kate and Omnium Gatherum, please visit the following links: