Interview: JL Bryan, Author of The Haunted E-Book

Today, I am very pleased to welcome JL Bryan, author of the remarkable book, Jenny Pox, and a newly released horror novel, The Haunted E-Book (Review will be up tomorrow!). There will be a giveaway for your chance to win his new book as well as collection of short stories at the end of this week, so do stay tuned. Comment you post on his guest posts for this week will count towards the grand prize for this blog tour.

Hi Bryan! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the release of “The Haunted E-book”. Can you share with us some of your most valuable experiences while writing this book?
Hello Miss Shy! Thank you for having me over this week. This book was a challenge to write because there is a structure of stories folded within stories, but I wanted to present it in a way that was entertaining and easy for the reader to follow. I also learned a lot about the history of books and publishing, including more information about antique letterpress printing machines than I’ll probably ever need again.

What inspired you to write “The Haunted E-book” and how does the idea for this book evolve?
The book explores a lot about the evolution of the printed word, how information travelled in the past compared to now. For more than century, Jonah (the ghost) has been limited to haunting those who read specific physical books he manufactured by hand, and there’s only a couple of those in the world. When one of these is made into an ebook, though, he becomes a far more powerful ghost, because he has lots of readers at once. So I thought it would be interesting to explore this idea of an evil ghost who sort of benefits from the evolution of technology.

You have written several books, which are all under different sub-genres (for example Jenny Pox is a paranormal book and Helix is a science fiction). Why do you choose to do this instead of specialising in one specific genre only?
I’m just interested in a lot of different things and I get a variety of story ideas that I want to explore. Genre becomes an issue when you’re trying to tell people about the book or market the book. I just write whichever ideas excite me the most, and if the book happens to end up as science fiction or paranormal or horror, then that’s where it ends up. It’s not very wise from a commercial standpoint, though, because there are different audiences for different kinds of books, and so a reader who likes one of my books might not necessarily be interested in the other genres I write. Right now I’m experimenting by writing a sequel to Jenny Pox. I’ve never written a sequel, and usually each book I write is completely different from the others. So this is an interesting challenge.

Do you feel any differences while writing from one sub-genre to another? If so, which one do you find most challenging and why?
I don’t really focus on the particulars of a genre when I write a story, I just explore the specific idea that I have. There’s a lot of crossing of genres, really. Helix has some horror-style elements, with a very wide variety of monsters, but it’s set on space colonies centuries in the future, and everything is rooted in technology rather than the supernatural, so the major genre of that book is science fiction. I wrote Jenny Pox thinking of it as a horror story, but the universal audience response was that the book wasn’t really horror, but contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, or even YA paranormal. I didn’t even know some of those genres existed.

Do you mind sharing with us your workstation, where “The Haunted E-book” as well as the others was born?
I don’t actually have a good camera (just the crummy one on my phone) but I attached a picture of the same type desk I have. The desk was originally used at a 19th century timber company in Wisconsin. My wife’s mother used to write mystery novels at this desk until she passed away, and that’s where I write books now.

When you are not writing, what other activities that you enjoy doing?
I like reading, playing with my dogs, and sleeping when possible.

As “The Haunted E-book” is a horror book, I wonder what were the best horror book and movie that you have read and watched so far.
There are different ways to categorize “best,” but I definitely think Stephen King’s Pet Sematary is the scariest horror novel I’ve read. My favourite horror movie is the original Night of the Living Dead, but The Exorcist is probably the scariest (Me: I definitely have to agree that The Exorcist is the scariest movie I ever saw. Still remember vividly the girl's head rotate 360 degrees. WAY creepy!)


  1. Great interview. And yes, I do agree that The Exorcist was very scary. That girl, oh no! I don't want to think about it. That desk is beautiful, so much history to it. :)

  2. Cool premise! Will have to check this out!

  3. Hi,
    I found your link through YA Addict.

    This is a very interesting interview!! I really like the idea of a story revolving around the evolution of the printed word. I'm not an author by any means, but I have great respect for literature so that really strikes a chord with me.

    Oh, and I love the desk!! There's something almost romantic about writing on an antique desk :)

    Book ♥ Soulmates

  4. Hey there :)

    I'm about halfway through the Haunted e-book (its FABULOUS by the way :D) and I was wondering, why are all of Jonah's "readers" women? Was that planned on purpose or did it just happen during the writing of the book??

    Oh and its interesting that you mention Stephen King. While reading I caught myself thinking that the book definitely has an air of Kingism to it lol. Only slightly less disturbingly graphic than Kings work ahah.

    This tour just keeps getting better and better :) I think after I'm done with Haunted Ebook I'm going to check out JennyPox as well

  5. @hense1kk: You definitely have to give Jenny Pox a try as that was the book that made me fall in love with Bryan's writing. Since you enjoyed The Haunted E-book, I have no doubt that you'd find Jenny Pox interesting as well!

  6. Nina & Book Soulmates - Yes, I thought this was an interesting question by Shy. I'm so glad I had a cool desk to talk about, and not the folding card table I used for years. :)

    Jennifer - Thanks! I hope you like it.

    Hense1 - Thank you! I'm glad you're enjoying it, and a comparison to Stephen King is a compliment in my book. :)

    I didn't really plan on all the readers being women, it just happened that way...probably because a majority of book readers (in America) are women, all the book bloggers I know are women, and the vast majority of my readers that I've heard from are women. So it probably was subconsciously shaped by that. I'll be sure to include a male reader if there's a sequel, though! (Not all of Jonah's victims in the book are women, for the record :) )

  7. Shy, Great interview, I love the questions you asked and I really liked Byran answers. I am very intrigued by this book and love the premise of a ghost gaining power through an ebook. I also love the idea about reading the history of communication. I am definitely going to have to get this book.

  8. Great interview.

    And wow, wow, I love that desk. It is just the style I love. Mum mum would love it too

  9. Thank you for the interview. I love books about books and reading and can't wait to read The Haunted E-Book

  10. I love the author's answers to the genre/sub-genre questions. One of the most prolific current writers, James Patterson, seems to flow with ease from one genre to another, and I think that the author is right on target in writing the story that is inside at that moment. Actually, many of the books I've been reading lately are a mixed-genre lot, and I kind of like that! Thanks for the interview!

  11. Great interview. Definitely going to have to check out the Haunted EBook.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  12. Great interview! I can certainly understand how the tiered plot would be hard to write....I've seen it done before but not with as great of success as this one is said to show. Like that the author is willing to write within different genres based off the ideas they are passionate about....quite an accomplishment already. Definitely a case of desk envy....lovely work station.

  13. Terrific interview and as a fan of horror I adore getting another author to try. The Haunted E-book sounds right up my alley; premise is definitely intriguing!
    Kudos to Bryan for writing what he loves rather than worrying about a commercial niche

  14. Very cool interview and can I just say: LOOOOOOOOVE your desk. *le sigh*

  15. A friend told me that the book The Exorcist kept her awake at night. She thought it was way more terrifying than the movie. I'm too scared to read it.

  16. Awesome interview. I love hearing more about fellow authors. I have to agree with Stephen King's Pet Sematary being one of the scariest books ever. Although, The Haunted Ebook scared me, too! :)

  17. Reading this interview reminds me that writing process does not happen in a short time.

  18. WOw I love that desk, but wouldn,t know what to write except letters to my loved ones.
    About the haunted, I have to get my hands on that book,As it is my genre of books.
    I've heard so much about you and I cannot wait to sink my teeth into this one.