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Thursday, October 18, 2012

31 Days of Horror: Day 18-- Guest Post by Benjamin Kane Ethridge

The guest posts are coming fast and furious now.  I can't believe that we are in the home stretch to Halloween.  Well check that, I can believe it as the media requests for my "expertise" are beginning to reach the overwhelming point.  It is always frustrating that we are all ignored for 11.5 months a year, and then October 15 comes and everyone starts clamoring for our attention.  Even though I know it happens every year and I plan for it, it still irks me a bit.

Just a reminder that I talk about horror all year long right here. But I digress...

Today, I am honored to offer you an award winning author who is just at the start of his promising career--Benjamin Kane Ethridge.  His novel Black and Orange won the 2010 Bram Stoker Award for best debut novel.  He has since published, Bottled Abyss (June, 2012), which I will review on Saturday, and is due to have a new work, Dungeon Brain, come out at the end of this month.

I asked Ethridge to tell me why he writes dark fiction.  He has shared an honest story of his process from evolving from the writer he thought he was going to be to the one he was actually meant to become. And good thing for us readers that he allowed his darkness to shine through.

Read on and look for a review of Bottled Abyss this weekend.

Why I write Fantasy o’ Dark
By Benjamin Kane Ethridge

It happened much like a well-performed magic trick occurs. That is, I never saw it coming, never saw which hand manipulated what and created such a surprising outcome. When I started out, I only desired to write fantasy and science fiction. I enjoyed horror immensely but that wasn’t what I was trying to do with my career. So I started submitting stories and receiving rejections. Submitted more, got rejected more. Submitted more, got an acceptance. Hold up though—this was fantasy, but it was pretty well grim subject material. I noted that and continued on. More submissions, more rejections, and then another acceptance. This one was straight up Horror. Unconsciously I think I wanted to replicate that first sale and it worked.

I got the picture and I’m sure you do now as well. My writing was most successful when I turned up that darkness dial. Thing was, I still wanted to write fantasy and science fiction, but all wasn’t lost because such a combination is completely viable nowadays. The dark fantasy writer, probably more than the dark science fiction writer, has that opportunity, but build a name and you can probably have it anyway you slice it.

So here I was, Benjamin Kane Ethridge, once open to everything speculative, but I’d not yet been defined. I’d become a Dark Fantasy writer. I have no shame in wearing the Horror badge or the Fantasy badge, but being called one or the other just isn’t at all honest. I write horrific, fantastical things, and that’s what I’ve become. For me this accident was like slipping and springing an oil well. It’s difficult to find your feet as a novice scribe; there is much to read and much to write about and therein lies a decision for every upstart writer. Building a brand means putting your marbles in a particular basket, at least during the audience building stage.

The easiest thing to say was that I didn’t choose Dark Fantasy, it chose me, but that isn’t accurate. I came to a conclusion based on my past successes and my own personal tastes for storytelling, which is how I ended up pulling free a scale-covered, fang-bearing rabbit from the magician’s hat. How cute! I think I’ll keep her.

Benjamin Kane Ethridge
Bram Stoker Award Winning Author of BLACK & ORANGE and BOTTLED ABYSS

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