Thrilled to be sitting down today with the author of Doll House, a book that I read (and LOVED!) this past week. Looking at writing horror, character research, and what John likes to do in this spare time, keep reading to see what John Hunt had to say when I put him in the hot seat!
So, Doll House is one of the creepiest books I have read in a long time, what inspired you to write something like this?
I love horror. I read everything I can get my hands on. What I like most about horror is the intensity of feeling on edge, not knowing when the monster will strike but knowing it will. I wanted the reader to fear the monster and I wanted the reader to forever be unsure if the heroine will succeed in destroying the monster. It was a delicate balance to achieve and a challenging one. I was inspired by this ambition and for my love of horror fiction.
Do you do any research in order to get into the minds of the psychopaths you write about? How did you start writing horror?
My only research had been all the books and movies I had read or seen since the age of ten. I have read and seen a lot.
I wanted to be a writer since I was in my teens. Then, like a lot of people, I was sidetracked by life, family and career. Once I felt comfortable with those, I hacked out a short story on one of those crappy netbooks. I saw a horror story contest on the web, I entered and I won. It was the 2011 Spintingler’s Anthology. I was blown away and consequently addicted.
Was there any significance in choosing a gorilla and a jackal for the masks of the leads?
I choose the Jackal because of the Egyptian God Anubis. Symbolism and creep factor was high so I thought he was a perfect fit. The Gorilla mask was different. I see most scenes in my head and I thought the hair from the mask caught in the streetlights would create the level of crazy I was after. He was the unstable one so I thought it would fit the character.
Why did you choose the song Ave Maria to be consistently referenced?
Okay. This one. If you saw the movie SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, there was that scene with Andy when he plays that song over the speakers for the inmates? He locks the door, sits down and listens to it, like he has never heard anything so beautiful. I wanted a beautiful, moody song to be attached to the Jackal. I wanted him to feel the way Andy did whenever he heard it. I wanted it to be his soundtrack to murder.
Are there any sections that you decided to edit out of Doll House?
Anything I edited out of Doll House dealt mostly with consistency. If something early on in the book didn’t add up in the end, I had to change it. Readers are smart so I had to make sure all the details matched. I didn’t want the reader to feel cheated in any way. So, any edits were for that reason only.
What are you working on now?
A boy, a dog and a robot. Oh, and a mass murderer in the middle of it all.
If Doll House were to be optioned as a film, which actors/actresses would you cast as the leads?
I love this question. One can dream, right? Okay, I would like to see Jennifer Lawrence play Olivia, cause you know, she’s Jennifer Lawrence! David Harbour from STRANGER THINGS as Harry. And Josh Brolin as the Jackal.
What does your writing process look like? Are you a consistent writer? Is it more sporadic? Do you make an outline? Go with the flow? Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Any story for me, starts out as a scene in my head. This story started out with the Jen scene, when she is in her room and unsure if the Jackal was real or not. From that came the whole story.
Well, I have four kids and a full-time job. I am as consistent as I can be. Well, except for when a story forms in my head, then I have to get it down. So, I guess in that sense, I am sporadic. I am moved to write by the story.
My stories are organic. For me, outlines are frustrating because my characters never want to follow it. I let them take the story where it needs to go.
Writing absolutely energizes me. I put my headphones on, put my set list on shuffle and I go somewhere else. I’m usually buzzing when I write and am sometimes sad when I have to stop.
What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
Read, hang with my family, read, exercise, read and watch movies. Work is good, it can be fun, but if I could write full time (which would be equal to winning the lottery for me) then hands down, that’s what I would do.
Thanks so much to John Hunt for taking the time to answer some of my questions.
If you missed it, check out my review for Doll House here!