Black and Orange – author interview – Benjamin Kane Ethridge

Black and Orange Book Tour

Join Benjamin Kane Ethridge, author of the award-winning dark fantasy horror Black & Orange as he virtually tours the blogosphere in August & September 2011 on his first tour with Pump Up Your Book!

 

About Benjamin Kane Ethridge

Benjamin Kane Ethridge’s fiction has appeared in Doorways Magazine, Dark Recesses, FearZone, and others. His dark fantasy novel BLACK & ORANGE (Bad Moon Books 2010) has won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in First Novel. Beyond that he’s written several collaborations with Michael Louis Calvillo, one of which is a novella called UGLY SPIRIT, available in 2011. He also wrote a master’s thesis entitled, “CAUSES OF UNEASE: The Rhetoric of Horror Fiction and Film.” Available in an ivory tower near you. Benjamin lives in Southern California with his wife and daughter, both lovely and both worthy of better. When he isn’t writing, reading, videogaming, he’s defending California’s waterways and sewers from pollution.

You can visit his website at BKEthridge.com

Say hi and drop a line at ben@bkethridge.com

Visit his tour page at Pump Up Your Book

 

 

About Black and Orange

Forget everything you know about Halloween. The stories are distortions. They were created to keep the Church of Midnight hidden from the world. Every October 31st a gateway opens to a hostile land of sacrificial magic and chaos. Since the beginning of civilization the Church of Midnight has attempted to open the gateway and unite with its other half, the Church of Morning. Each year they’ve come closer, waiting for the ideal sacrifice to open the gateway permanently. This year that sacrifice has come. And only two can protect it.

Martin and Teresa are the nomads, battle-hardened people who lack identity and are forever road-bound on an endless mission to guard the sacrifice. Their only direction is from notes left from a mysterious person called the Messenger. Endowed with a strange telekinetic power, the nomads will use everything at their disposal to make it through the night alive.

But matters have become even more complicated this year. Teresa has quickly lost ground battling cancer, while Martin has spiraled into a panic over being left alone. His mind may no longer be on the fight when it matters most… because ever on their heels is the insidious physical representation of a united church: Chaplain Cloth.

 

Interview

 

 

Q:  Give us an example of a typical writing day.

 

I’ve usually been at work for a while now and don’t exactly savor the idea of concentrating on anything. During the summer I’m hot, sweaty and just want to lay somewhere cool and go to sleep. But I don’t. I find an office or a Starbucks and I write for about twenty minutes. Then I go back to work. Lunchtime arrives. I dine out, because I’m on the road a lot. I’m able to crank out about 1500 words on most days. Transferring it onto the computer takes probably half an hour and I do that before bed at night.

 

Q:  Do you write on a computer or with pen/pencil and paper?

 

I prefer to write on the computer but I have to use a notebook when I’m in the field working. Longhand transferred to computer has an added benefit: you begin editing during the transfer!

 

Q:  Biggest Pet Peeve about the writing life.

 

I wish I had peace in my head. It’s difficult to explain to non-writers, but I bet writers will immediately understand what I mean. Such calamity. Such chaos. Drama aside, I’ll just say that I think too much about fictitious things– and some days I really believe I’m borderline insane for it. My stories devour my thoughts. I’m surprised when I can actually focus on something worldly anymore. So my pet peeve would be the internal process of writing for all its trappings.

 

 

Q:  Biggest Career Surprise

 

Being nominated and then winning the Bram Stoker Award. I’ve long admired the lineage of winners for this award. They are some of my writing heroes. Being a member in the Horror Writers Association, I believed I had a good shot at making the preliminary ballot (usually includes about ten works). I had a novel that I knew had a chance to attract some attention to the membership and at least get me that far. I had no idea that BLACK & ORANGE would become one of the four nominees, and I really couldn’t fathom winning the award alongside the likes of Lisa Morton, a writer who is beloved by the community and who also happens to deserve every bit of the acclaim. It was a lovely, jaw-dropping surprise to hear my name called, and some days I still feel like I’ll get a call from the HWA saying, “Oh, terribly sorry, but there’s been a mistake!” In that case, I know exactly what I’ll do. With dignity and all the grace I can posses, I will yell, “Wrong number!” and push the power off on my cell phone. Then I’ll probably go into hiding.

 

Q:  Time Frame: From start to finish

 

It takes me about four months to put together a novel. My novels come in at about 100K. This, of course, is just the beginning. I edit the hell out of most everything I do. So, I’m going to say that I invest another month or two to that process (sometimes more). So I can have two novels ready for a first-read in about a year. Not great, but tis what tis.

 

Q:  Have you ever abandoned any books/novels in progress?

 

For sure! I did this quite often in my twenties. I would plot out a novel, be very excited to write it, but lose interest halfway through. It was extremely important for me to learn my way around this. Even the most amateur reader can sense the trajectory of a story and if you write something that you’ve already experienced in your mind you’ll project your boredom into the prose and you’ll also unwillingly hint at surprises to come. It’s kind of like that actor who says just ONE thing in a movie and you snap your fingers, “Oh! I bet he killed the old lady!” I found that this can be avoided by sharing the reader’s experience and keeping myself somewhat in the dark as far as the details of the story were concerned. My half-finished novels began to find their conclusions then.

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