John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64) Featured on

John Coyne talks about the reissue of Child of Shadows


October 11, 201411:32 AM MST

Best-selling author of The Legacy and Hobgoblin, John Coyne talks about the reissue of Child of Shadows, his spine tingling suspense/horror novel, available now, via Harvest Moon Press.

Child of Shadows

Harvest Moon Press

Mr. Coyne graciously took time to answer questions about Child of Shadows, his inspiration genre blending in fiction, and what scares him the most.

Your novel, Child of Shadows has been reissued with Harvest Moon Press, have you reread it? Was there anything you would have rewritten/changed?

Rereading it was a special pleasure as (believe it or not) I had forgotten much of the plot, the twists and turns of the story, so that for me, it was like reading a new book, discovering an old friend.

What is the first sentence of Child of Shadows?

Detective Nick Kardatzke stepped carefully through the sewage water, the filth and garbage that had found their way into the tunnels under Grand Central Station.

Child of Shadows takes place in the Blue Ridge Mountains, what inspired that decision?

Well, the novel begins in the heart of New York City, under Grand Central Station, so I wanted a ‘locale’ that was distinctly different, and that certainly is the Blue Ridge. Also, I knew the mountains area and what was like. While it appears peaceful and lovely-and it is-there is a deep stream of terror in those hills.

Child of Shadows main character is an autistic boy named Adam, what type of research did you do into autism when the book was first published in 1990 and how would you compare that what we now know about autism in 2014?

I have done no research, then or now, beyond what everyone knows in a general sort of way about autism. I didn’t want the research; I wanted the prejudices that people have to these children, as it would work for the plot. See, the boy really isn’t autistic in the true sense of the meaning.

What elements make for enduring horror?

A character on the page who a reader can identify with and then when something happens to that ‘character’ they-the reader-is invested in the outcome. And that is hard to do for a writer.

Finish these sentences:

I always try to end a chapter with a question needing to be answered.

I never know if what I am writing ‘works’ until I reread what I have written that day.

I should spend more time away from my desk. It would make me a better person.

Which is more important, the story or the writing?

For me, it is the writing. I take great satisfaction in writing what I think is a ‘well written’ sentence that has style and substance. I think for most readers, it is the story that they appreciate the most.

How would you define the word ‘storyteller’?

A storyteller is someone who can hold an audience. It might be a story told around a campfire or in a bar after work. The magic for any ‘storyteller’ is the ability to construct a narrate that has a beginning, middle and end, and that travels as straight and true as a arrow shot from a bow.

What are your thoughts on genre blending in works of fiction?

I think it is a great idea. Making a book work on many levels is what all writers want. And most of us aren’t talented enough to write complex narratives.

Where can my readers find out more about you and your work?

As we know, Google has all our lives wrapped up neatly. However, I’d suggest going to my website:


1. Werewolves or vampires? Never written about either

2.Favorite horror writer? Edger Allan Poe

3. Favorite horror movie? Carrie

4. What scares you? My dreams

5. What’s one word you overuse? God, I overuse dozens! Mostlikely, is one

6. Favorite place to write? My office at home

7. Title of your first published work? The Piercing

8. What book do you wish you wrote? Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

9. Favorite color? blue

10. What are you currently reading? The Entity: Five Centuries of Secret Vatican Espionage

11. Coffee or tea? Coffee

12. Favorite vacation spot? Menorca, Spain

Read more about Child of Shadows:

The story opens with a grisly murder set in the dank catacombs beneath New York City’s Grand Central Station. The victim is a young boy whose heart has been torn from his chest. The police discover another boy lurking nearby – Adam, an odd-looking, bald-headed mute who lives in the network of tunnels. Melissa, a social worker discouraged by the ineffectiveness of the system to provide for Adam, quits her job and whisks him away to a rural community. Soon after their arrival a herd of sheep is slaughtered and bodies start to drop all over town – Adam proves to be the bearer of many disturbing talents. The interest of Child of Shadows lies not only in the twists and turns of the plot, but also in the exploration of Melissa’s psychological history.

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  • As a old caseworker who once worked with adolescents who had special needs, I can so appreciate the impulse that drove Melissa. I can’t wait to read this book.

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