Please welcome Benjamin Kane Ethridge to the blog! Benjamin won the Bram Stoker Award for First Novel with Black and Orange in 2010 (along with Lisa Morton’s Castle of Los Angeles) and his newest novel, Bottled Abyss just came out in June from RedRum Horror. Benjamin was kind enough to answer a few questions and also, we’ve got a SIGNED copy of Bottled Abyss up for grabs to one lucky winner, so be sure to check out the giveaway details at the bottom of the post!
You won the 2010 Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel with Black and Orange. Have you always wanted to write? Can you tell us a bit about how you became a writer?
For much of my life I’ve wanted to be a writer. Around ten years old I wanted to be a veterinarian, but then the thought of seeing animals suffer changed that. I then wanted to be a jet pilot, but after seeing Goose die in TOP GUN,
I said to hell with that business! In the meantime, I’d always enjoyed telling stories and typing on the typewriter, so it went hand-in-hand, and I’ve been doing it since those early years.
Black and Orange is very appropriate to the season with Halloween on the way. Will you tell us a bit about it?
BLACK & ORANGE is a dark fantasy with a new spin on Halloween. It’s an action driven novel for the most part, but in many ways it is also a character story about love in all its different forms. The main premise is about two nomads with a life-long quest to guard a sacrifice every October 31st. The sacrifice, named the Heart of the Harvest, changes every year and these nomads, driving from place to place, are directed by mysterious letters that given them vital info.
The Church of Midnight and Morning, the villains of the novel, have another idea about the Heart. If they can make the sacrifice on Halloween, a gateway to a nightmarish dimension called the Old Domain cracks open wider and allows more evil things to cross over. This year, the sacrifice is so potent, they might be able to keep the gateway opened permanently, thus merging our world with the Old Domain. It’s up to the Nomads to prevent this from happening, but the monster of the gateway, Chaplain Cloth, is relentlessly after them and the Heart of the Harvest.
What are some of your biggest inspirations (literary or otherwise)?
James Joyce and Stephen King for literary. My family and friends for otherwise.
How about a few of your favorite scary reads?
THE GIRL NEXT DOOR by Jack Ketchum, THE SHADOW AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD by Thomas Ligotti and THE CELLAR by Richard Laymon
What’s something that you find truly scary?
Deranged people. I’ve known a couple, so I can attest to their scariness.
What are you reading now?
STARFISH by Peter Watts, a dark SciFi novel. Very good so far.
When you manage to find some free time, how do you like to spend it?
Most free time is writing and reading time, but other than that I love to play with my children and still quite enjoy playing videogames.
Does your family do anything special for Halloween?
My parents used to have a party, but that has tapered off over the years. Now, me, my wife and kids usually do a Trunk or Treat thing near our house. It’s easier to visit a parking lot full of cars than having walk through a neighborhood and guess what houses are “putting out” when it comes to treats. Plus, my kids are so young they don’t know the difference yet.
What’s next for you? Do you have anything else to share about upcoming projects or events (or anything at all!)?
Well, at the end of this month I have a dark science fiction novel called DUNGEON BRAIN coming out from Nightscape Press. I’m currently co-editing a shared world anthology called MADHOUSE with the very awesome writer Brad Hodson (check out his new novel DARLING; I am sure you will be as impressed as I am). After all this, I’m also writing a trilogy. The first book is entitled NIGHTMARE BALLAD and should be published by JournalStone books in February 2013.
Keep up with Benjamin: Website | Twitter
About Bottled Abyss:
YOU’VE TAKEN PAYMENT FOR A DEATH THAT DOESN’T BELONG TO YOU. WHAT WERE THREE ARE NOW ONE, AND I AM FURY…
Herman and Janet Erikson are going through a crisis of grief and suffering after losing their daughter in a hit and run. They’ve given up on each other, they’ve given up on themselves. They are living day by day. One afternoon, to make a horrible situation worse, their dog goes missing in the coyote-infested badlands behind their property. Herman, resolved in preventing another tragedy, goes to find the dog, completely unaware he’s on a hike to the River Styx, which according to Greek myth was the border between the Living World and the world of the Dead. Long ago the gods died and the River dried up, but a bottle containing its waters still remains in the badlands. What Herman discovers about the dark power contained in those waters will change his life forever…
“It happens from time to time…a book grabs you from the opening line and refuses to let you go. Benjamin Kane Ethridge’s Bottled Abyss was one of those reads for me. Bottled Abyss is a stunningly sophisticated tale, both in its mythic scope and in its adroit handling of complex, emotional characters. Ethridge is a writer of rare emotional intelligence, developed far beyond his years, but with Bottled Abyss he has outdone even his own considerable promise. There are several writers out there, such as Laird Barron, John Langan and Lee Thomas, that have me chomping at the bit for their next release. Add to that shortlist Benjamin Kane Ethridge, for he has made me a fan for life!” -Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Flesh Eaters and Dead City
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