Interview 2014 – Josh Malerman (English version)

After the recent release of his novel in France, Bird Box, an interview with Josh Malerman.

Do you feel the need to write quite a long time?

I remember trying my hand at a novel in 5th grade. Something about a dog as Earth’s ambassador to outer space. From there it was comic books… a series of terrible, dark poems… weird short stories… and then novels.

I “failed” at writing my first five books. “Failed” meaning: I didn’t finish them. Then? A breakthrough! At age 29. Finally saw the ending and got there. And since then it’s been something like 20 novels in ten years.

It’s really a novel about fear and how we face it…

Bird Box is kinda like the ultimate “unknown” monster novel. Characters facing Infinity, and how people say you’ll go mad if you behold infinity… or where time begins, space ends. Because the characters can’t look at it, they’ve gotta be blindfolded for the bulk of the book.

So, yeah, there’s definitely something about “facing fear,” but almost in an over-the-top sense, since the characters aren’t allowed to face it at all.

Malorie has a very special relationship with her children, who underwent conditioning since birth. Was it intentional that the children were so young and despite all so reasonable when they began their journey?

I think Malorie was just waiting for them to be old enough to take the river with her. And the moment they reached that age…that very second!… she said okay let’s go. Like she was impatient, which I would’ve been, too.

Who wouldn’t? So, she trained them, taught them, and then more or less tossed them into the fire.

What is the fear of your life?

Running out of enthusiasm. That’s my absolute greatest horror.

Your novel was quickly translated into French. Did you expect to reach new readers so quickly?

I wanna say no, I didn’t imagine this, but that isn’t true. I’ve been writing forever and blindly telling myself that it was going to work out, that it’ll work out. So, part of me thought, sure, why not France? Brazil? Italy? Sweden?

But, of course, when it happened I was stunned and still kinda am. I’m not convinced I’ve processed all of this just yet!

The end of the novel leaves room to a sequel. Do you plan to start it or do you have other projects?

Too many other ideas right now. Too many other books. It would feel almost shameful to spend another few hundred pages inside this story only because there are so many stories to tell. But one day? Yeah, why not.

There are plans for a film adaptation of Bird Box. Can you tell us more? It will be difficult to impose images to the spectator while everything is suggested in the novel, right?

Yeah. I think so! I’d love it if the screen went black for stretches, the theater in complete darkness. With the sound systems they’ve got today? Man, it’d be amazing to sit in the dark and listen to scenes unfold. Because you know you’d be freaked out for whatever came on the screen again.

Universal Studios bought the film rights. I met with them and it was wonderful. I think the story is in great hands. Great minds. And I’ll be first in line to see it when it comes out. Freaking out, no doubt.

What are your influences (books, musics or films)?

I love it all. I write to the sound of horror soundtracks. I watch all kinds of films (from slow-burn ghost stories to balls-to-the-wall gore.) And I read constantly. I’m able to fully immerse myself into a horror story and swim in it till it’s done. It’s hard to say this or that is my influence, cause I really love it all.

You are also the singer and guitarist of rock band ‘The High Strung’. Luckily, this blog is about literature AND rock. Could you send us a brief history of the group and a description of your music?

The High Strung have been best friends since we were kids. We moved to New York City (from Detroit) when we were around 23. Then, at age 27, we hit the road and toured America and Canada for six or seven years. It was outstanding. Unbelievable.

I wrote a number of books between cities, riding in the passenger seat. We’ve made six albums… six proper studio albums… and I’m hoping our next one is a double-album science fiction journey.

One of your songs was chosen for the soundtrack of the TV series ‘Shameless’. Have this helped you to reach a different audience?

You know, I thought it would have made a bigger impact in that way! The theme song has been so good for us, but I’m not convinced it’s brought us more “fans.” Which is fine! Like I said, we’re making a new album, we love one another, let’s keep going!

Can we make a connection between writing a novel and musical composition? Can we talk about musicality of words?

I probably use the songs for what could be short-stories and the novels for the bigger ones. But lately I’m wondering if I should switch that around, just to see what happens.

You have the choice between give us your final word or talk about your favorite dessert … 

Final word: I’ve been on a strict Horror diet for a long time now. In the beginning I thought the genre was finite, that you could read this or that guy or girl and you’d start to have a grasp on the whole thing. But, mercifully, one book has led to another, then another, and the people I’ve met along the way…

Horror is broad, it’s an entire cosmos unto itself, and if I were you, I’d buy myself a little spaceship and launch out here with us, because I’ve never seen such imagination, such passion, as I do in the Horror Cosmos.

Catégories :Interviews littéraires

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3 réponses

  1. Je comprend rien mais je veux quand m^me lire ce titre. 😉 🙂

    • Yvan – Strasbourg – Les livres, je les dévore. Tout d’abord je les dévore des yeux en librairie, sur Babelio ou sur le net, Pour ensuite les dévorer page après page. Pour terminer par les re-dévorer des yeux en contemplant ma bibliothèque. Je suis un peu glouton. Qui suis-je : homme, 54 ans, Strasbourg, France



  1. Récapitulatif des interviews 2014 | EmOtionS – Blog littéraire et musical

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