The release of a debut novel is arguably one of the most exciting events in the life of an writer. I have great pleasure in hosting my very dear friend, Johnny Worthen, on the blog today as he celebrates his debut release, Beatrysel, and shares with us the great literary influences that have shaped his career.
First let me thank Jane for giving me this little space to shout to heaven and the internet that my debut novel BEATRYSEL is coming out! It can be done, fellow writers. It can be done!
BEATRYSEL is an occult thriller. I hesitate to call it a “horror” because though it has some scary, creepy and even frightening parts, those things are incidental to the exploration of Magick, reality, love and betrayal. But if you’re looking for a horror.. yeah, it’s a horror. Looking for love story, it’s that too, in a way. Looking for something to read to you kids at bed time…? Uhm, yeah. BEATRYSEL might not be the thing for that.
I’ve been asked to speak on what my literary influences have been. Without further ado, Johnny’s top 5 literary influences (that come to mind as I’m writing this).
Elmore Leonard. “Dutch” wrote a book on writing rules and like any good writer, I read it and disregard about everything, leaning on it only when it agreed with my mood at the time. Still, I have to thank Elmore Leonard for showing me how less is more, how to show and not tell, and to develop characters not by inner monologue but conversations and actions. I don’t always follow this, but he was the master and no writer can read him and not have some of his stylistic genius rub off.
Tim Dorsey. Not much Dorsey appears in BEATRYSEL – contrasting subject matter, to be sure. But Dorsey inspires me to action – literally. His books are non-stop and he has a knack, a genius – an evil-genius to mix the horrible with the funny and not spoil the soup. I mixed the horrific with the daily in BEATRYSEL and think I pulled it off
Cormac McCarthy. When I read The Road it stunned me. Then it moved me and shook me. Then did it all again. A true masterpiece, in my opinion. The stark simple style of that tragedy could not have been better told. I read it every year. The main protagonist in BEATRYSEL is named Julian Cormac in homage to McCarthy and the impact The Road has had on my life.
John Saul. One of my favorite horror authors but I have bones to pick with him. I like his supernatural works more than his psychological ones and I dislike his propensity for using children, but otherwise he taught me how to weave the macabre into suspense and make words leap like ghosts out of a closet from the page.
J.K. Rowling. If I’d never read a word she wrote, JK Rowling would still be one of the most influential authors in my life. Her story of rags to riches and her continued battle for the less fortunate makes her a great celebrity. She is also a great author. Like the rest of the English speaking world, I consider Harry Potter a personal friend of mine. She inspired me to keep writing when it was rough, and presented the impossibilities of magic in believable ways that found purchase in my own writings.
Honorable Mentions: I’m not going to name names, but I’d be remiss as a new author if I didn’t mention a certain class of writer who inspired me to keep writing and keep querying and chasing publishers and agents against a glacier of rejections. They are the bad authors whose trumpeted best-sellers left me cold and confused, but certain that if their dreck could find a publisher, my excellent book would certainly find a home. And it did.
Thanks guys. Write On!
BEATRYSEL out today, from Omnium Gatherum!
If you agree with Johnny or just want to dump on him, hook up at a these places:
About the Author
Johnny Worthen is a lifetime student of the occult.
gravitated to the more obscure paths of spiritual
knowledge. He is a Freemason, twice Past Master of
his Lodge, youngest ever at the time.
From the University of Utah Johnny received
degrees in English and Classics with a Master’s
Degree in American Studies. He married his juniorprom
date and together they have two sons.
After many varied and interesting careers, Johnny
writes full time now. He is the author of a popular
blog, The Blog Mansion. Besides BEATRYSEL,
Johnny has four other novel are under contract for
publication in 2014 and beyond.