Jonathan Sweet draws inspiration from the works of Poe and Ramsey Campbell, the radio plays of John Dickson Carr and Lucille Fletcher, and the weird tales told by friends around a campfire (or over a bottle of wine). He lives outside Washington D.C. with his beautiful and supportive family.
Who are your favorite authors?
Poe, Ramsey Campbell, Harlan Ellison, James Herbert, Frank Herbert, John Dickson Carr, Ira Levin, Ian Fleming, HP Lovecraft, Robert Bloch, and Stephen King.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I have so many favorites that it's almost impossible to list them all. Since I write horror and dark fantasy, I'll list five books that frightened me the most.
AMERICAN PSYCHO by Brett Easton Ellis; THE FACE THAT MUST DIE by Ramsey Campbell. Though I'm not a big fan of the serial killer sub-genre, these two novels are hard to beat. Both present a thoroughly lovable yet thoroughly monstrous protagonist. Both place the reader inside a deeply disturbed mind ... an experience that is not soon forgotten.
COLD PRINT by Ramsey Campbell. Campbell's collection of Lovecraft-inspired short stories, paired with the surreal illustrations of J. K. Potter, is greater than the sum of its parts. Chilling stuff that sticks with you, in spite of the rough-edges found on some of Campbell's earlier stories.
THE HAUNTING by Shirley Jackson. The finest and most frightening haunted house novel ever written.
I AM LEGEND by Richard Matheson. A very creepy and effective novel with a socially- and politically-subversive ending that still packs a wallop. Frequently adapted to film, but no one has yet done it justice. Sit down on a cold night and read the passages about vampires swarming Neville's house and try not to get the shivers.
THE HELLBOUND HEART by Clive Barker. This is one of the few books that causes me to look over my shoulder when entering a dark room. The images associated with solving the puzzle box (tinkling of distant bells, unexplained lights, and the cries of birds) are haunting in the purest sense of the word.