Jonathan Pongratz is a writer and author of captivating horror, urban fantasy, and paranormal stories. When he’s not writing, he’s busy being a bookworm, video game junkie, and karaoke vocalist. A former resident of Dallas, he currently resides in Kansas City with his halloween cat Ajax. By day he works magic in finance, by night he creates dark and mesmerizing worlds.
Hi Jonny! Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. To start off with why don’t you tell us a little about yourself.
Sure thing! I’m your average author with way too many projects on their hands. I’ve always had an ‘overactive imagination’, and I’m constantly getting great ideas and inspirations from movies I watch and books I read, so my head is constantly in the clouds. I’m a big fan of Netflixing and chilling in my spare time, but also love karaoke and video games (if I ever get the time, haha!). Oh, and cats! One day I’m going to be an old man with lots of cats.
I’ve followed your blog ‘Jaunts and Haunts’ for a while now and you create some great content. Do you struggle, time, productivity or creative wise being a blogger and a writer, or do you feel they compliment one another?
Oh my gosh yes. When I first started blogging, I did it because it felt like the right thing to do after self-publishing my first novella, but in time it became so much more than that. Now I use it more as an extension of my personality and to state my opinion on any number of things, but blogging really does take away from writing.
For a while I got carried away with the blogging aspect and it kind of interfered with my writing process, but having survived my first year of blogging, I’ve made some changes to ensure that I still get plenty of writing time.
It’s a very delicate balance, but everyone’s got to find their own sense of that, especially if you’re a writer/author.
I see from your blog you are a fan of horror/thriller/fantasy style books and I feel like your novella brings these genres together. Do you feel you have been inspired by any genre/author/book in general?
Oh yeah, those genres really move me. Actually, I was inspired by classic horror movies and the concept of the boogeyman. Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Evil Dead. These are the types of movies I was watching when the idea for Reaper formed in my mind. I typically start watching (and now reading) a ton of horror in September through October, and I’m so grateful for the extra special little gift from the horror gods.
What is your writing process? (Do you wrote the ending first? Plan from the beginning? Etc)
I’m super OCD, so before I ever write even a sentence, I plot everything out as much as I can in a huge word doc. I want to have that movie scene in my head fully realized so that writing comes as easily as possible and I can plow through with little difficulty. I call it ‘half writing’.
Typically, I know the ending when I first come up with the idea (like 95% of the time), but that doesn’t necessarily happen every time.
Some things do change while I write freely, but nothing all that huge usually. Maybe the way something is approached might change or a conversation might take a different turn, but that’s about the extent of it.
I like to write in my room at my desk or somewhere peaceful with very little noise other than ambient music in the background. I’m not so good dealing with noise.
Reading your goodreads profile I see you’re a fellow Karaoke lover! I’ve been known to belt out a little boys of summer or man I feel like a woman on occasion. Do you have a go to song/band for when you take the stage?
Yes, you are my kind of person then! To be honest, it’s not necessarily a particular song, but the 90’s in general that I tend to stick to. The Way by Fastball and Drive by Incubus have always been my warmup songs, but sometimes you have to switch it up with stuff like Viva La Vida by Coldplay or Paralyzer by Finger Eleven.
I love a little edge to my songs.
Have you learnt anything about yourself through the writing process?
I tend to overextend myself, so I try to focus on one thing at a time now and not sign up for too many beta reads or blog tours if I’m already busy. The power of no is hard for me to accept but I’ve finally come to terms with that.
It really boils down to listening to myself more instead of just being agreeable with everyone. If my heart’s not truly in something, then I should pass.
I also tend to sacrifice my time to writing for things like reading etc, so in the past few months I’ve cracked down on my system and have been writing quite a bit to catch up.
There’s always room for improvement!
Finally tell us a little bit about your Novella ‘Reaper’ and any other WIP’s you may have!
My novella Reaper is Halloween-themed (my favorite holiday!) and centers on a young kid Gregory and his bratty sister. His parents leave them alone for Halloween to tend to the trick-or-treaters, but much darker things lurk about in the night. Soon Gregory is forced to explore the scary basement in his house looking for his sister, and when a monster takes his sister away, he has no choice but get to the bottom of it.
I honestly have a ton of other WIP’s, but there are a few main ones I’ll mention.
First and foremost is the first novel I wrote that is still unpublished manuscript titled The Gifted Chronicles: Awakening. It’s an urban fantasy series, and the main theme is people with abilities fighting off demons that want to sacrifice them to steal their powers. I plan on writing at least four books in total, maybe more. I haven’t published this one just yet because I’m still looking for a publisher (I do not want to self-publish this one) and will continue that process once I’m done with the Reaper sequel.
I have an LGBT horror novella that is about 95% plotted out that I’m also raring to write. It’s based in South America and centers around the folklore of Ayar Cachi.
Lastly, there’s a short story I wrote a few years back that I’d love to polish and get published. It shouldn’t take me too long, so this would be a perfect project while I wait on responses for submissions of The Gifted Chronicles.
Lots of great stuff coming up!
Fall, followed by Winter as a close second.
Asian food. If I had to be more specific, you can put me down for Japanese any day.
Favourite TV show/Movie?
Charmed through and through. I know it’s cheesy but I don’t care. I’ve watched the whole thing at least 20-30 times.
Ugh, I can’t pick just one! So I’m gonna pick a series. Animorphs. Without that influencing my childhood I may have never become a reader in the first place.
If you would like to follow Jonny on his blog, or find out more information about Reaper you can find the links below.