Mx3 Guest Interview: Five Minutes with John Connolly

October 25, 2011 Murders, Monsters, & Mayhem 2


Today I’d like to welcome Rachel, a recovering Borders employee and blogger for Booksellers Without Borders, to the blog today! For her post, she interviews author John Connolly!


Five Minutes with John Connolly: Murder, Monsters, and Mayhem edition

I always tell people that I don’t read a lot of horror, but that’s not really true.  I don’t seek out books with murder, monsters, and mayhem on purpose, but they always seem to find their way into my TBR.  It’s like the literary universe is trying to send me a message.  (You do like literary violence, you really do!)  Case in point: one of my all-time favorite authors is John Connolly (, who primarily writes a dark mystery series with a supernatural bent, along with stand-alones that take place in distorted fairy tale lands and Hell itself.  He has two new books on the shelves – THE BURNING SOUL for mystery/thriller fans and THE INFERNALS, a sequel to his young adult title, THE GATES – both of which I can recommend unreservedly.  He was kind enough to spend a few minutes answering yet another set of my questions, this time focusing on the dark side of his writing.

[Booksellers Without Borders]:  In person, you are laid back, charming, funny, and just one of the genuinely nicest people one could hope to meet.  Yet your books have all of the 3 featured Ms: Murder, Monsters, and Mayhem.  How do you reconcile your calm demeanor with the dark and disturbing aspects of your writing?

[John Connolly]:  Ah, but I only SEEM laid back, charming and funny, and I’m not even sure about that.  On the other hand, I suppose that writing the books that I do allows me to explore different facets of my own personality, and I get to examine the things that do disturb or anger me through the characters in the novels.  It’s not cathartic, exactly, but there is a kind of release that comes with it, nonetheless.  On a more practical level, though, I’ve always felt that, if I’m going to go out and meet people and talk about my books, I may as well enjoy it, and try to make sure that they enjoy it too.  I’m fortunate to be doing what I do, and make a living from it, and I tend to try not to forget that.

[BwoB]:  Has anything you’ve written about ever kept you up at night?  (Because some of us have nightmares after reading parts of your books… 

[JC]:  No, not at all.  I sleep like a baby.  There are recurring motifs in the books, though, that represent subjects that particularly unsettle me generally.  Cancer is one.  That recurs in the books, and I think it’s because my father died from it, and I’ve watched other people close to me succumb to it, and it probably does frighten me.

[BwoB]: There is a strongly prevalent supernatural theme in your writing.  Do you believe in ghosts and the like?

[JC]:  I tend to think of myself as a healthy skeptic when it comes to these things.  I’ve never seen a ghost, or had any remotely supernatural experience.  I think I’m more interested in the literary and metaphysical possibilities that they offer me as a writer than I am in them as potentialities.

[BwoB]:  What do you think it is that draws people to dark tales?

[JC]:  We just like being frightened, to some degree or another, but we like being frightened in a secure environment over which we have some element of control.  And, of course, ghost stories and the like are never really about werewolves or specters or vampires: those are just the forms that writers pick to explore more generalized fears, or the concept of fear itself. 

[BwoB]:  What scares John Connolly?

[JC]:  Women, a bit.  And dentistry.

[BwoB]:  Thanks again for taking some time to talk with us!


Rachel is a recovering Borders bookseller who, with the help of some friends, continues to share her reading recommendations via blog at Booksellers Without Borders .  She lives in Chicago, where she buys too many books for her niece and nephew.  You can catch her tweets at @BksellerExpats (blog) and @allshiny (personal).


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