Hoosier native J.N. Williamson wrote a string of mid-list horror titles in the 1980s and beyond and edited a handful of critically acclaimed anthologies (featuring work by a number of folks you might have heard of — Richard Matheson, Ramsey Campbell, F. Paul Wilson, William F. Nolan, etc, ad nauseum).
He compiled How to Write Tales of Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association (in 2003), and gave us occult detective Martin Ruben (The Ritual, Premonition, Brotherkind).
Williamson received investiture into the Baker Street Irregulars (in 1950), published more than 40 novels (his first at age 47) and well over 100 short stories in his lifetime, was an accomplished singer, journalist, and astrologer.
Despite all that, J.N. Williamson, who passed away less than ten years ago, whose last novel was published in 2001, is already largely forgotten.
This must not stand.
A few years back, Tom Millstead, one of Williamson’s lifelong friends, contacted me regarding his collection of correspondences that he had saved, letters between the two of them that chronicled decades of personal history. Williamson discussed the ups and downs and craft of writing, the ins and outs of publishing, and so much more in these marvelous recollections from the late 40s on.
That collection of letters now sits with me and I have the enviable task of putting something together as a way of honoring J.N. Williamson’s legacy. There are invaluable insights sprinkled throughout these missives… and I look forward to sharing them with all of you in the not too distant future.