I first bumped into Benjamin Knox on the pages of Bloody Parchment: The Root Cellar and Other Stories. Bloody Parchment is the literary component of the South African Horrorfest. It’s a competition held every year and the finalists are published in the Bloody Parchment anthology edited by the fantastic Nerine Dorman. Ben Knox is one of the most exciting new writer’s I’ve come across and his story “A Keeper of Secrets” in Suspended in Dusk, is some seriously creepy shit.
I hope you enjoy my little chat with the super talented and super creepy, Benjamin Knox.
Tell me a bit about yourself, where are you from and what brought you into writing? What drives you to continue writing?
I’m mostly known for my short dark fiction. I’m of Scottish origin but have lived in too many countries to name here (my folks moved a lot, hmmm, – dawning realisation – perhaps they were secret agents?). I was always making up stories and drawing pictures, so I can’t believe it took me until my late twenties to realise that I should be writing them down. Since then I’ve not stopped. I can’t stop and don’t want to. I think I’d’ve been that weird type back in prehistory that made up weird stories by firelight to entertain and terrify.
It’s just in me. Besides, it’s too much fun.
What genres interest you most and which do you write in?
Mostly I’m into Pulp Horror, you know the type with slimy monsters and classic tropes. However I do like my grim, eerie and creepy stuff too. Both of which I write as well as read. Also there is a wonderful overlapping where horror meets thriller, that is a place I am very comfortable in; non-supernatural suspense.
What are your thoughts about short stories and the short form? Do you have a particular favourite short story?
Tough to choose. Probably Thomas Ligotti’s The Red Tower or maybe The Bungalow House (anything from Teatro Grottesco really). I love short form fiction. Personally my preference both for writing and reading is the novella. Enough length and depth to sink your teeth into, but not too much that it gets bogged down – or if you have a short attention span like me. More often we have little time to dedicate to reading these days. What time we do set aside is often short, hence reading habits have changed. Reading during a commute is now more prevalent than in the evening curled up in bed.
Also, as a reader myself, I’m much more likely to invest my time in a new author with a short story or novella than I am with 300+ pages. I’ve discovered many authors I thoroughly enjoy this way. And it’s because I’m willing to give 100 or so pages of almost anything a shot.
What has been the highlight of your writing career so far?
So far; having VIRAL, a four part novella series (which I wrote with Toby Bennett) published through Dark Continents Publishing. It’s 30 Days of Night meets Resident Evil by way of Bladerunner.
Do you have any outstanding writing goals you’re working to achieve?
I’d really like to have work published with DarkFuse. They are home to two of my favourite authors (who have influenced me quite a bit) William Meikle and Tim Curran. Meikle is fun adventure pulp all the way and Curran’s undead are ultra-violent and ghoulish, totally up my alley. DF also do limited edition hardbacks of the novellas they publish, which certainly appeals to the book-geek in me.
Do you have any interesting projects on the horizon that you’d like to share some info with us about?
Too many to name here. I’m gearing up to release four novellas each year, one every season. Each will be stand alone and will be different in theme and style from the others. I also am looking forward to starting a fresh project with Toby Bennett before we get stuck into a possible VIRAL sequel.
What advice do you have for new or aspiring writers?
Little that would be encouraging. Basically if you are looking for praise, money and fame…you are in the wrong industry. However, the main bit of advice I can give aspiring authors is this; turn off the internet and get your daily word count done. If you actually want to write, no excuses. Get it done.