Short, Sharp Interview: John Mantooth

storm_lg (2)

PDB: Can you pitch THE YEAR OF THE STORM in 25 words or less?  

(I’m terrible at these things) If you like your horror with a healthy dose of mystery, Southern-fried grittiness, and some narrative experimentalism, give THE YEAR OF THE STORM a shot.

PDB: Which music, books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?

Like everybody I know, TRUE DETECTIVE took over my life for a couple of months.  As far as books, I’m loving Claire Vaye Watkins’ collection, BATTLEBORN.  Some great short stories in there.  Also dug Jeff Vandermeer’s novel ANNIHILATION.  And I was lucky enough to read and advance copy of Paul Tremblay’s new novel, A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS, which I totally loved.

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?

I don’t see why not.

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?  

Maybe for television.  My work seems to be sort of episodic, so that might be a decent fit.  One day.  Right now, I’m all about fiction.

PDB: How much research goes into each book?  

I tend to write what I know, so not a lot.  I do research as needed.  My current project–a novel based very loosely around Chief Tuskaloosa and his encounters with Hernando de Soto–has made me do a good bit more than usual.

PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer?

Not very useful at all, actually.  In fact, I sometimes wonder if they aren’t detrimental.  Sure, you probably pick up a few readers along the way, but at what cost?  Think of all the time wasted surfing Facebook and Twitter when you could be writing or reading. But still, I persist.

PDB: What’s on the cards for 2014?

Hopefully getting TUSKALOOSA finished and published.  I have a novella project that I can’t really say much about.  If it works out, it’ll be with a really cool publisher.

Bio: John Mantooth is a Stoker-nominated author whose short stories have been recognized in numerous year’s best anthologies. His short fiction has been published in Fantasy Magazine, Crime Factory, Thuglit, and the Stoker winning anthology, Haunted Legends (Tor, 2010), among others. His collection, Shoebox Train Wreck was published in 2012 (Chizine), followed by his first novel, The Year of the Storm in 2013 (Berkley). Find him at and on Twitter at @busfulloflosers.


  1. Great interview. I went to graduate school with John at UAB, and he was one of the two or three writers I was very impressed with. Can’t wait to pick up The Year of the Storm. Oh, and I was obsessed with True Detective for a while as well. . .lost a lot of writing time because of it.

  2. Reblogged this on MaxEverhart and commented:
    Went to graduate school with John at UAB. He’s a very talented writer. Pick up The Year of the Storm immediately.

Leave a Reply