Today I’m interviewing author Benjamin Kane Ethridge about his new book DUNGEON BRAIN. To me, it’s one of his wildest books to date, and this coming from the person who won a Bram Stoker award for his fantastic first novel BLACK & ORANGE. Please, if you enjoy this, click on the links below and grab some of Ben’s stellar works.
1. What was the first story you remember reading? Does it still influence you today?
I remember “The Marvelous Land of Oz,” which included different hero characters than “The Wizard of Oz” and it always intrigued me how I didn’t mind at all—considering how much I loved the characters from the first novel. I was blown away, barring some returning characters like the Scarecrow and Tin Man, by how these new characters, the boy Tip and the evil witch Mombi, could be put in a sequel and the story still wasn’t a let-down. Even at a young age I had certain expectations of my return trip to Oz and it was amazing to me that I didn’t need to meet those expectations to be thoroughly entertained and consumed with the story. Of course, I was probably alone in this because Frank Baum brought Dorothy back into the mix for the next four books and in subsequent books down the road. I was influenced by all these tales though, but particularly “The Marvelous Land of Oz” because I gained awareness that some stories didn’t have to follow the same rules every time.
2. If the world ends tomorrow, would you be happy? Why?
No. I have more stories to tell, but more importantly, my children have their lives ahead of them. I’d like to witness those lives unfold. Now, have I lived a good life? Definitely. But there’s still too much growing left to do. Happiness upon imminent death will need to occur at another time!
3. You’re walking with friends along a street in broad daylight. Everything is just perfect, until you see a group of kids ganging up on another one and beating him. What would you do?
I’d call the police. I’ve broken up fights before and that’s a bad position to be in; the peacekeeper is normally the person who gets his or her ass kicked the most. I recall being soundly punched by both the bully and the victim while intervening in a fight that broke out in a high school classroom. So yeah, I’d get the cops involved. That’s their speciality.
4. Is it true that everything a person does in life has to center around the sexual impulse and procreation?
Yes. The buried, panting animal of my subconscious hopes someone reading this interview is thinking, “Oh, I’ve just got to mate with this guy!”
5. Are you opposed to eating dog or cat meat? It is common in other cultures. Does the thought revolt you?
If I was part of those other cultures, it wouldn’t bother me I’m sure. Otherwise, I couldn’t bring myself to eat Fido or Fluffy. Weird thing is, I wouldn’t be grossed out if someone else did it right in front of me. Meat is meat is meat. I just have too many memories of my pets that would prevent me from enjoying those two species without some measure of remorse.
6. ‘Dungeon Brain’ is quite an intriguing, twisted story. Can you enlighten us about its creation?
I woke up one morning with Metallica’s song ONE in my head. I had black and white images of war still in my memory from a dream I couldn’t quite recall. I began to jot down notes about what I believed the dream could have been about. That’s where DUNGEON BRAIN manifested from.
7. What is your writing area like? Details, please. Desk with a computer? What kind of computer? What programs do you use? Do you write by hand? A certain time of day?
Writing area. Beware! These parts are cluttered and dusty. Since I’ve become a novelist, I’ve been horrible at keeping anything in order. Just above my keyboard, in the general desk area: various pens, pencils, flash drives, a never-used candle, a shot-glass, post-it notes, business cards, cough drops, paper clips, a few wrist watches with dead batteries, some Oral B Satin dental floss (in the container, I’m not that dirty), Altoids, and a series of USB cables I can’t part with yet. I also have a writer’s lamp with a green glass shade and a fake gold stand; stylish beyond reason, I know. At the level of my eyes sits a Sony Vaio All-In-One computer, with a Windows Vista 64-bit OS, and Microsoft Word my devil of choice. It does everything I need it to do. My only complaint is I have no idea how I would go about modifying my computer like I used to with my tower desktops. However, I’ve been happy with the performance so hopefully no mods will ever be required. On the act itself: I seldom write by hand, but I enjoy it when the occasion strikes me. I usually write very early or very late at night, and I almost always write on my lunch breaks at work.
8. You’ve just received an unlimited check. What’s the first thing you do?
Buy all media (radio, tv, internet, movies, newspapers, etc). I would refuse to let political functions advertise anything misleading. And since I’d have some power now, I’d say that any lies circulated for the express purpose of gaining an elected position would be cause for everlasting dismissal from the political process. I’m sick of people buying into lies without investigating the facts. It’s depressing and dangerous and as long as money is involved, it is permanent.
9. One of the biggest fans of your work happens to knock on your door. Do you answer? What happens next?
Sure I would answer and I would have that person start up a fan club. Hopefully they are a go-getter and can spread the good word. This is all after I stop weeping on his/her shoulder, of course.
10. What can we look forward to you in the near future?
NIGHTMARE BALLAD, the beginning of a trilogy from Journal Stone books. Should be arriving in February 2013. And later in the year, next Halloween in fact, will be my latest Black & Orange book, entitled NOMADS.
11. Where can we find Ben online/offline/upline/downline?
Thank you for these unique and entertaining questions John. I appreciate you having me! Below are some sites where you can check out my work online. Offline, you’d have to live in Rancho Cucamonga and have a very loud voice. Upline, my info is printed on the hook in the fish’s mouth. Downline, the fisherman has all my details tattooed on his hands, which was a silly impulsive thing he did because he thought it would get him laid. That, and trying to catch the biggest fish in the lake, all in the name of increasing his odds at procreation. What a spaz.
Amazon author site: www.amazon.com/author/benjaminethridge