INTERVIEW: Jonathan L. Howard, author of “The Ereshkigal Working”

Tell us a bit about your story. What’s it about?

A necromancer’s lot is not a happy one, which is irritating for Cabal but great for me. Horrible things befall him on a regular basis, although this story is the first time his experimental subjects have reanimated before he’s done anything necromantic to them at all.

What was the genesis of the story–what was the inspiration for it, or what
prompted you to write it?

The story came from wondering how Cabal would handle a full-on zombie outbreak. It’s not the sort of ostentation that he would subscribe to himself, but he isn’t the only dabbler in the occult out there.

Was this story a particularly challenging one to write? If so, how?

The only tricky bit was figuring out a way to have a stoppable apocalypse

Most authors say all their stories are personal.  If that’s true for you, in what way was this story personal to you?

That’s a very true statement. I myself halted a zombie apocalypse a couple of years ago, and I remember thinking at the time, “This would make a good story.”

What research did you have to do for the story?

A little bit on death rates in urban populations, and a little bit on death goddesses of the ancient world. Just the usual sort of thing.

What is the appeal of wizard fiction? Why do so many writers–or you yourself–write about it? Why do readers love it so much?

Wizards and superheroes are appealing for much the same reasons; the allure of great power at your fingertips, or — at least in the case of wizards — at the tip of your wand.

I’m very sorry; that didn’t come out quite as intended.

What are some of your favorite examples of wizard fiction, and what makes them your favorites?

He’s not really a wizard, in fact he’s more of an anti-wizard, but I’m a great fan of William Hope Hodgson’s Carnacki. His open mind and rational pragmatism were certainly influences in the creation of Johannes Cabal.