Hooray! Benjamin Kane Ethridge is here to answer some of the toughest questions I could think of. Enjoy!
Me: Do you do much outlining for new projects, or just write and see where it goes?
Benjamin Kane Ethridge: I make notes for myself about upcoming chapters, but I rarely put together an outline (unless I’m submitting the piece somewhere). While leaving some surprise in the writing process keeps it interesting, it’s important to know your story’s trajectory. If you’re completely in the dark, you’re going to be writing in that fashion: a blind man groping around uselessly. Readers tend to like narrators with a bit more control than a blind groper.
Me: What are your ideal writing conditions?
BKE: I use to only require silence. That’s recently changed. I don’t mind background noise, just as long as it’s not noise I’m a part of in some way. I can write anywhere now, including crowded, noisy restaurants or coffee shops playing crap music. What I cannot do though, is write when my little girl is shouting “DADDY DADDY DADDY” through the wall.
Me: An anonymous emailer claims you’re not human, but a man-suit stuffed with gnomes. Do you know where this allegation came from? Is there any truth to it?
BKE: Well first I’m going to assume the emailer is Jeremy C. Shipp because it’s a well known fact that he’s Lord of the Gnomes. Second, I’m going to look down my shirt and reassure the gnomes that they are safe. Nobody’s going anywhere, fellahs. Settle down. Remain calm. Third, I will soundly deny the allegation, occasionally pushing down the top of a pointy hat sticking out of the zipper in my throat.
Me: In Black & Orange the movie, who would you like to play Chaplain Cloth, Martin, and Teresa?
BKE: Cloth, I could imagine being played by a character actor like Depp or DiCaprio. Martin I envision as a Paul Walker type or some strapping 30-something guy. Teresa is a tough one, maybe Diane Lane or Marisa Tomei, depending on how hardened they could look through their natural beauty.
Me: What kinds of video games do you play? Are they a trap that keeps you from writing, or a relaxing reward?
BKE: I like all videogames, from platformers to shooters to RPGs to dumb little cell phone games. They are both a trap and a reward, depending on how honest I’m choosing to be. Having a daughter that monopolizes my TV also helps me often make the right choice. Boy, I’m just blaming her for everything, aren’t I?
Me: How often do you polish your Bram Stoker Award?
BKE: I’m actually doing it right now. Ahhh, feels good.
Me: If there are no shotguns available, what will you use to defend your family in the upcoming zombie apocalypse?
BKE: Probably what most people would use: a pressurized cannon that shoots sulfuric acid from a 100 million gallon underground tank.
Me: Who is your favorite movie villain?
BKE: Anton Chigurh from NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.
Me: What were your favorite cartoons growing up?
BKE: Tom and Jerry. He-Man. Transformers. Anything Disney.
Me: Lastly, and most importantly, where did I put my freaking TV remote?
BKE: I’m not quite sure. Let me ask the gnomes… ah, they said it’s in the last place you left it.
Thank you very much, Mr. Ethridge. It has been a pleasure!
Everyone else, go buy Black & Orange. Unless you don’t like things that rock…