Today I was fortunate enough to chat with John Hunt, the author of Doll House, which I recently read and loved! Doll House tells the story of a young woman named Olivia who is kidnapped and tortured by two sadistic men during her freshman year in college. She manages to escape, only to realize that her nightmare is far from over.
Your book Doll House dives into the mind of both a sadistic killer and one of his victims. Where did you come up with the idea for Doll House?
The whole novel started with the Jen scene. I am very visual and see scenes play out in my head. I saw a traumatized woman struggling with reality and the whole story flowed from there.
How easy or difficult was the process of writing multiple point of views, especially considering how different the characters were from each other? Was there one character you liked writing more than the others?
I always write with music playing. It helps me to zone out so when I’m writing about characters and their POV, I see it in my head. It is only afterwards, when editing, that I consider context and mind set and whether I’ve made them individuals. For the most part, the characters tell me what they are going to do. I don’t find it easy or hard, it just is. I like writing about Olivia the most. She was the most intriguing to me. Could she overcome such horror and if so, what would she be like on the other side? Yup. She was my favourite.
How long did Doll House take you to write, start to finish?
Ok, when I have time, I write fairly quickly. So, just the writing portion was probably a month? Maybe more, maybe less. The editing process takes so much longer. Add a few months just for the editing. Ugh. I don’t like editing. It is tedious. All in all, maybe four months?
Are there any authors or books that influenced or inspired you when writing the book?
There are no authors or books that inspired me specifically to write the book. But I guess we are all an amalgamation of our experiences and since I read a lot, there is a bit of everyone who acted as inspiration. But hands down favourite authors: Stephen King and J.K Rowling. But it is so hard to choose amongst writers. Elmore Leonard, John Sandford, Richard Laymon, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, jeez, there are so many brilliant ones aren’t there?
Did you always know you wanted to be an author? If not, what got you to decide you wanted to write a book?
I wanted to write since I was a teenager. My French teacher used to get mad at me for reading a book while she taught. I tried to hide it under the desk, but she saw it and rightfully gave me the gears. I didn’t actually try it until 2011. My job responsibilities and familial responsibilities took up a lot of time and I got overwhelmed thinking about it. But then I was like, just do it you wimp and so far, it’s been awesome.
What are some of your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing and publishing process?
Writing is awesome. Love it. It’s what I think about most. My publisher has been very supportive so that has been a positive experience. The worst part, I don’t know if I mentioned this, is the editing. Yeah. Not a fan.
Lastly, what are some of your favorite books to read when you’re not writing?
Wow. So I read everything and that’s a hard question. Bernard Cornwell, Naomi Novik, Charles Dickens, J.D. Salinger, Jack Ketchum, Ed Lee, Graham Masterton, Nick Cutter, Dean Koontz, Robert McGammon, George R.R. Martin, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Joe Hill and the list goes on and on. I really, really like the John Sandford VIRGIL FLOWERS series. Awesome read. Depending on work and family stuff going on, I typically read two to three books a week.
Thank you so much to John for taking the time to sit down with me and answer some questions!