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Different Than I Imagined

Author Interview
Jonathan Durham Author Interview

Winterset Hollow follows a group of friends who discover the truth behind their favorite story is darker and more dangerous than they imagined. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’m always interested in telling stories that are based in reality but twist on genre conventions…stories that begin in a normal, recognizable world, but end up somewhere completely different. I wish there was some blinding moment of clarity that sparked this particular story, but there really wasn’t…I was just sitting around one day and wondered how I would feel if I went to The Hundred Acre wood and found that the animals from Winnie the Pooh were actually real…and then I wondered what would happen if they were actually completely different that I imagined them to be…and then I basically just began branching that idea off into darker and darker directions until I felt I had something interesting enough to develop. My process is utterly mechanical, so the answer to the inspiration question is always disappointingly unromantic lol.

Your characters are intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Well, I wanted them to feel familiar but also fresh, but they also needed to be complex and scarred and duplicitous in a way…they needed to present themselves as one thing but be another completely different thing in reality for the story to function correctly. One of the things that helped me shape them though is that initially I wanted each of them to represent a different mental health issue that I sometimes struggle with—depression, anxiety, imposter syndrome, and OCD—and though that turned out ot be more of a seed than a rule to follow as they developed, you can still see the footprint of that idea in their makeup.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

This book is in large part about the gray of the world—the double edges that most things have. In that respect, I wanted to explore the dangers as well as the wonderful parts of nostalgia, the ups and downs of family history, and accordingly, both the pros and the cons of having a family in the first place lol. Apart from that, I always find the dynamic between power and perversion interesting as well as the lasting impact of those that have passed on…and of course, it’s no secret that this book deals a lot with the scars of our upbringings and how they shape us throughout our lives.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Well, I’m still in the development process for a few different stories, so it’s a bit early on in the game to say… but it’s either going to be a dark thriller with the framing of historical fiction, or another contemporary dark fantasy set in the world of moviemaking…either way it should be ready to roll late next year, so keep an eye out!

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Everyone has wanted their favorite book to be real, if only for a moment. Everyone has wished to meet their favorite characters, if only for a day. But be careful in that wish, for even a history laid in ink can be repaid in flesh and blood, and reality is far deadlier than fiction . . . especially on Addington Isle.
Winterset Hollow follows a group of friends to the place that inspired their favorite book—a timeless tale about a tribe of animals preparing for their yearly end-of-summer festival. But after a series of shocking discoveries, they find that much of what the world believes to be fiction is actually fact, and that the truth behind their beloved story is darker and more dangerous than they ever imagined. It’s Barley Day . . . and you’re invited to the hunt.
Winterset Hollow is as thrilling as it is terrifying and as smart as it is surprising. A uniquely original story filled with properly unexpected twists and turns, Winterset Hollow delivers complex, indelible characters and pulse- pounding action as it storms toward an unforgettable climax that will leave you reeling. How do you celebrate Barley Day? You run, friend. You run.

Winterset Hollow

Winterset Hollow keeps readers on edge throughout this riveting story. The author is expressive, entertaining and writes in an intriguing manner which really benefits this alluring story. Winterset Hollow is a great book to read if you enjoy suspense, drama, and plot twists all delivered with a good sense of humor. The construction of the plot, development of characters and the style of narration were all excellent. Jonathan Durham does an amazing job with his writing as he describes events and characters in a way that the reader can visualize.

Winterset Hollow will have you experience all sorts of emotions through the chapters. The book opens with a backstory on each character which sets up the characters nicely before we get into the depths of the mystery at the heart of this dark fantasy novel. I enjoyed how the tone of the novel slowly changes as the story progresses from cheerful to somber, but does so almost effortlessly, to the point where I really didn’t think about it until the story was over and I reflected on what happened.

Winterset Hollow follows the story of a group of friends that enjoy adventure and exploring. These friends have the best of times among themselves. Certain eerie events however have them questioning reality, wondering what is real and what is not. I love how curious they were and appreciate the author for making the characters diverse and relatable.

I recommend Winterset Hollow to readers that enjoy books that easily combine action, melodrama, and engaging dialogue. While I wish the story was a bit longer, I think this novel provides a fantastically refreshing mix of dark fairytale storytelling with a contemporary edge. With a lot going on and unexpected twists around every corner, the solid writing ensures readers always know what is going on in this captivating novel.

Pages: 326 | ASIN: B09F9YKSRT

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