Today's Author Spotlight is author Jon O'Bergh! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: June 14th, 2021 Amazon |  Goodrea...

Author Spotlight || Jon O'Bergh, Author of Shockadelica


Today's Author Spotlight is author Jon O'Bergh!

Read on for the full interview.


Publication date: June 14th, 2021


Can you start out by telling us a little about your latest work? 


Weaving together supernatural legends from Ireland, Nigeria, and China, Shockadelica follows two friends who must confront their own fears while fighting an evil, existential threat. With a dash of humor and horror, the story explores prejudice, conspiracy theories, and things that aren't what they appear to be. Two horror podcasters—drag artist Kendall Akande and best friend Jenna Chen—share a passion for art, fashion, and horror. When they learn their Victorian-era apartment building might be haunted, they see an opportunity for an entertaining podcast episode. But as they investigate further with the help of their quirky neighbors, they uncover something far more sinister.
 

Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?


All manner of things in the horror universe inspired the story. The title is borrowed from Prince's song "Shockadelica." Gemma Files' novel "Experimental Film" gave me the idea for the Toronto setting and inclusion of folk horror. The way Grady Hendrix opened each chapter of "We Sold Our Souls" with a media excerpt influenced my structure. Books in the Freezer gave me the concept of two horror podcasters. Rue Morgue magazine gave me the idea for a character whose arms are covered with tattoos of serial killers.
 

When you developed the characters, did you already know who they were before you began writing or did they develop organically?


It's a combination of both, and some start out more concrete than others. Take the characters in Shockadelica, for example. I knew Rooney would be the type of person who is enmeshed in a world of lies. She adopts different personas as easily as she changes outfits and makes a living with fake testimonials. That was clearly laid out when I started, and little changed as I wrote. Jenna, on the other hand, started with less detailed traits. I just knew she would be unconventional and fearless. The details then developed organically through the process of writing out the scenes, especially her anxiety about her grandmother's dementia and her jealousy when Kendall begins hanging out more with Lilith.

Which of your characters was your favorite to write and why?


I strongly identified with Kendall. He has a lot of empathy toward others. Even though he doesn't tolerate BS and is self-assured, he still suffers moments of self-doubt. His past hangs over him. Society's judgmental prejudices hang over him. Panic attacks and nightmares bedevil him. You think you've escaped those things, but they periodically emerge like the monster under the bed and try to drag you down. I really identify with that.

What was more important to you when you were writing: character development or plot?


How can you choose? Character is what motivates a reader to be interested in a story, but plot is what gives the story meaning.

In your opinion what makes a good story?


Complex characters--because people are complex. A certain amount of ambiguity--because that corresponds to our experience of the world. That's why writers like Paul Tremblay appeal to me so much. I like to imagine what a character would do in real life, without falling back on cliches or implausible actions.

Do you read your book reviews? What do you consider "good" /"bad"?


I do, because sometimes I learn useful things from what reviewers write, even if my story didn't strongly appeal to them. Tweeting and linking to reviews also helps promote the work. I've never come across someone who is a "bad" reviewer. Often it boils down to a matter of taste, because not everything is going to appeal to everybody. I have encountered a couple of instances where a reviewer misjudged or misrepresented something. I don't worry about that if it's one item in passing, but an entire review filled with misrepresentations would constitute a bad review.

What attracted you to the genre(s) you write in?


I've always been interested in horror. Fear is such a primal emotion, and it can motivate you to make positive changes or to lash out at the world. I'm interested in how people process fear differently, and I infuse that into my characters. I also appreciate how horror often reflects cultural anxieties, or anxieties about death and the body.

A lot of authors have a soundtrack while writing. Are there are songs you had on repeat?


Perhaps because I'm also a musician, I find music distracting while I'm trying to write. But I love to link music with my stories. Shockadelica includes a musician named the Bone Man who writes dark songs. His album of horror-themed songs is available at Spotify, iTunes, and the usual places. In between writing bouts, I would listen to these songs. The lyrics often amplify themes from the novel, in songs like "The Beast Within," "Frankenstein Monster," and "Box of Bones."

What are a couple of your favorite movies to kick back with to relax?


My husband and I like to watch things over and over, and we quote lines to each other all the time. I never tire of watching "The Muse." Albert Brooks, who also wrote and directed the movie, plays a beleaguered screenwriter who has lost his edge and engages the services of a mythic Greek muse played by Sharon Stone. The film's sense of humor is so perfect, mildly skewering Hollywood gullibility and pretensions. For something with a touch of horror, I like the filmed stage version of "Sweeney Todd." It manages to blend humor, horror, and pathos. The closing song makes the hairs stand up on my arm.

Which animal would you say is your spirit animal and why?


A black cat. I grew up with black cats. They're often misunderstood and maligned, which I can appreciate as a gay man!
 

Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or a cottage surrounded by fairytale creatures?


A cottage surrounded by fairytale creatures. I would be too scared to live in a haunted house. It would be fun to visit, maybe spend one night, but my state of mind would be much better in a cottage. Ghosts and supernatural creatures both make an appearance in Shockadelica, and after experiencing both, I think Kendall would agree with me.

Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? What are your links?


I'm on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jon_obergh.

Thanks so much for participating in the Author Spotlight! Anything you'd like to add?

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Jon O’Bergh is an author and musician who appreciates a good scare. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of California at Irvine. A fan of ghost stories and horror movies, O’Bergh came up with the idea for his first novel, The Shatter Point, after watching a documentary about extreme haunts. He has published five books and released over a dozen albums in a variety of styles. His supernatural short stories have appeared in anthologies and magazines. After many years living in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., he now resides with his husband in Toronto.



Jon, thank you so much for being a guest on Cats Luv Coffee Book Reviews!