Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I’m a biological horror author, a subgenre I define as dark fiction dealing with “living creatures, vital processes.” I host the podcast Josh’s Worst Nightmare, where I invite on indie authors to discuss a topic of bio horror relevant to their writing.
Which one of your characters would you least like to meet in real life?
Rowan, the antagonist in my forthcoming eco folk horror novel, Charwood. Not only is he committing unspeakable acts in the forest, he truly believes he’s doing the right thing.
Other than the horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?
Classics of literature, especially John Steinbeck and Cormac McCarthy and poets such as Robert Frost and John Keats.
The term horror, especially when applied to fiction always carries such heavy connotations. What’s your feeling on the term “horror” and what do you think we can do to break past these assumptions?
We need to better educate people on the differences between horror film and fiction. How books can’t fall back on the crutch of jump scares and sound effects, and how many great horror stories aren’t really that bloody at all.
A lot of good horror movements have arisen as a direct result of the socio/political climate, considering the current state of the world where do you see horror going in the next few years?
A ton of “in group” vs. “out group” stories…for better or for worse.
Given the dark, violent and at times grotesque nature of the horror genre why do you think so many people enjoy reading it?
Horror is a thrill ride you can get off at any time. Or maybe we’re unconsciously training ourselves for real-life’s inevitable terrors.
What, if anything, is currently missing from the horror genre?
The acceptance of Jewish horror by gatekeepers (publishers, editors, agents, conference organizers, reviewers, journalists, etc.). Whether people realize it or not, a lot of mainstream horror comes from a Christian viewpoint, while most Jewish horror isn’t religious at all but focused on the culture and folklore. Still, nearly every single Jewish horror author I know has told me it’s much harder to get their Jewish stuff published and/or reviewed than any of their other work, even though, ironically, readers seem to love it the most.
What new and upcoming authors do you think we should take notice of?
Denver Horror Collective hosts a horde of fresh indie horror authors that I recommend people checking out at DenverHorror.com.
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
The only reviews that really stick in my craw are the ones that aren’t about my work at all but instead come in bad faith from people with obvious ideological bones to pick.
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
Really, it’s only the submission and sales component I find distasteful.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?
Nice try—trick question!
Writing is not a static process, how have you developed as a writer over the years?
I finally got my process down pretty well, from coming up with an idea to crapping out a first draft to polishing it into a final manuscript. I also like to think I’m still evolving in terms of writing simple sentences that sound like the spoken word.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing?
Not only is it okay to have a terrible first draft, that should be your goal. The following drafts are where you can worry about making it any good.
Which of your characters is your favourite?
Ward, the elderly protagonist from my cosmic horror novella, Malinae. I empathize with how his crotchety stubbornness is mostly a cover for a deep sensitivity and warm heart.
Which of your books best represents you?
My two unpublished trunk novels probably draw the most from my own life as an environmental organizer.
Do you have a favorite line or passage from your work, and would you like to share it with us?
“But everyone knows if you swat a dog enough times for begging at the table, someday he’ll stop trying. Of course, beating a dog doesn’t make him any less hungry. Just makes him sneaky. And mean.”
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
Charwood is the world’s first eco Jewish folk horror novel due out from Aggadah Try It in August 2023.
I plan to be releasing a collection of short stories sometime in 2024.
If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?
The “pure evil” antagonist.
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy. Malleus Maleficarum by Heinrich Kramer.
What’s the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? And what would be the answer?
Question: “How would you like to make a comfortable living writing fiction?”
Answer: “Reported as spam.”
Charwood by Josh Schlossberg
Dark doings are afoot in the forests of Charwood…
After joining the Tenders, a band of backwoods activists claiming to solve climate change by burning trees for energy, Orna Tannenbaum falls in with Rowan, their odd yet charming leader. But when she uncovers what the Tenders are really up to in the forest, she must apply the ancient wisdom of her culture to battle dark forces threatening to gain a foothold in our world.
An ecological Jewish folk horror novel 5,783 years in the making.“Schlossberg delivers a blend of Jewish mysticism, the supernatural, and current day environmental challenges in this thought provoking tale that will leave you thinking about it long after you turn the last page.”
–Daniel Braum, author of The Night Marchers and Other Strange Tales
“There is eco-horror. There is religious apocalypse. And then there is Charwood. I promise you will have never read anything like this powerful evocation of ancient Jewish mysticism and the Kabbalah, seamlessly coupled with topical headlines about deforestation and climate change.”
–Elana Gomel, author of Nightwood
“Charwood is a seamless fusion of Jewish mysticism and ecological horror, thrilling and terrifying in equal measure.”
–Richard Dansky, author of Ghost of a Marriage
Josh Schlossberg’s biological horror fiction has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. He’s the author of the eco horror novel, Charwood (Aggadah Try It, 2023), the Horror Authors Guild award-winning, cosmic folk horror novella, Malinae (D&T Publishing, 2021), editor of The Jewish Book of Horror (Denver Horror Collective, 2021), lead editor of Terror at 5280’ (Denver Horror Collective, 2019), co-founding member of Denver Horror Collective (DenverHorror.com), and creator of Josh’s Worst Nightmare (JoshsWorstNightmare.com), where he surveys the dark landscape of biological horror fiction.
https://www.facebook.com/joshsworstnightmare on Facebook, https://twitter.com/JoshsNightmare on Twitter, https://www.instagram.com/joshsworstnightmare/ on Instagram, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3MQ-OXmA8TYmwUi2rsh1fw on YouTube, and https://www.tiktok.com/@joshsworstnightmare on TikTok.