Ben is the editor of Tales from the Lake Volume 4, coming October 27th from Crystal Lake Publishing. The anthology includes my story "Snowmen."
DD: Thanks for plugging in, Ben! First, tell us about the upcoming TALES FROM THE LAKE VOL. 4, a Crystal Lake Publishing anthology you edited. What’s the history of this series, and where are you taking it with this latest entry?
BE: Thanks for having me! It’s my pleasure. Tales from the Lake has always been a play on words—Crystal Lake/From the Lake. Since Volume: 1, we’ve published writers we’ve already worked with as well as others we would like to work with in the in future. There was always a subtle theme of urban myths and legends from Volume: 1 to Volume: 3. I wanted to do something different with Volume: 4. I wanted to raise the bar quality-wise, as well as take it in a new direction in terms of theme. And that theme is this: Unique, emotional, and powerful stories that leave a lasting impact on the reader. I want the readers to feel as if they’ve been to Hell and back when they’re done reading. Some stories have a more literary slant, others have a more fantastical slant. Some will bring tears to your eyes, others will crank your imagination up. But all pluck at the reader’s heart strings. Once the blurbs and feedback came in, I was over the moon! I’m very happy to say I accomplished what I set out to do. The contributors made my job easy.
DD: As the editor of a diverse horror anthology, how do you decide on the story order?
BE: The CEO and Founder of Crystal Lake Publishing Joe Mynhardt and I worked on that. All of the stories are powerful and diverse, so we didn’t have that problem. You could put them in any order, really, but we chose the final order to reflect said diversity. There’s something in here for everyone.
DD: You’re also an author. Tell us about your most recent projects.
BE: Thanks for asking! You can find my horror novella Cracked Sky, which was published by the Bram Stoker Award winning press Omnium Gatherum, on Amazon.com or their website: http://www.omniumgatherumbooks.com/ I’m very happy to say that book opened a lot of doors for me. I’ve had short horror fiction published in Shroud Magazine, The Ashen Eye, Tales from the Lake Volume: 2, and my short literary story Stardust appears in the anthology Between the Lines, edited by Bram Stoker Award Winning editor Michael Knost, and was published by Seventh Star Press. I’m finishing up my latest book, and that will be published by Crystal Lake Publishing in, 2019. I’ve just started another one that will hopefully be published before, 2019. Ha!
DD: Do dreams influence your writing at all? Do you keep track of dreams?
BE: I think I’m the only horror writer/author that doesn’t remember their dreams. I feel left out. Ha! It’s like I’m a radio station; I don’t know where these concepts come from. They’re like movie trailers in my head.
DD: Are you a zombie fan and, if so, what do you think the genre needs more (or less) of?
BE: If the plot/premise and voice is unique and powerful, yes! I fell back in love with horror that has zombies in it by reading your Empire series of novels. They were game-changers. So, much love and respect to you for doing that! Same goes for Jonathan Maberry’s work. What does it need more of? Uniqueness. Evolve the sub-genre. Do something no one else has done yet. What would I like to see less of in that sub-genre? “Hey! Zombies are attacking us!” I’d rather have a root canal without Novocain than read those stories. I sincerely mean that. Trends come and go. But if it’s unique, then it will stand the test of time and out-live the trend.