Simon Wood

Book of the Month: Who Is Simon Janus?

I’m two different writers. No, I’m going through something of an identity crisis and I have two writing identities. And that was a problem. People weren’t sure what I wrote. The problem is that I write in multiple genres. One side of me writes thrillers and mysteries and the other side of me writes horror and dark fantasy. I know a number of writers who flit between genres with no problem and I’d hoped to do the same, but it wasn’t working for me. My writing in different genres confused people. Horror readers thought I wrote mysteries and mystery readers thought I wrote horror. The simple thing to do would be to stick to one genre and have done with it, but I don’t want to. I love writing horror stories as much as I do crime.

So what is a chimera to do? What else, but split.

So I developed a pen name and debuted for THE SCRUBS. It was an easy to assign the penname to my horror identity. Although, my first publishing credits were in the short horror fiction markets, but I hadn’t published a horror novel, whereas all my published and forthcoming novels are thrillers. It would have been too disruptive to reinvent myself in the mystery and thriller world.

I must admit I was quite reluctant to come up with a penname, but I didn’t have choice. My attempts to educate the world to my multi-faceted aspects haven’t worked and it’s getting a little frustrating. People either labeled me as a horror or thriller writer, never both. More than a minor annoyance, the situation was hindering me. Not for the first time, anthology editors had looked me over because they knew me for one genre and not both. It was time to break out the white flag and surrender to the realization that it’s hard being two things at once.

So I came up with Simon Janus. It’s not a random name, but very deliberate. I stuck with Simon as a first name as I find it’s a bugger to sign a different name. Janus is the perfect name to break out with as a penname. If you know your Roman mythology, Janus is the two-faced god. That goes hand in hand with my life in two genres. Also, Janus is the god of new beginnings. The month of January is named after him. Oh, this was too perfect. This really summed up what I was doing at the time. This was fate on a bagel. Finally, Janus sits snuggly on the shelf just before King and Koontz. Hmm…coincidence? I’ll let you decide, but I will say this—sometimes I can be very premeditated.

As Eric Burden of the Animals once said, “I’m just a soul who’s intentions are good. Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.” It’s not a good situation for a writer to be in—and I’m not anymore.

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