Ben Eads, author of Cracked Sky, was kind enough to provide this blog’s first ever interview:
PR: Cracked Sky is your first long form published work. Can you tell us a little about it?
BE: Cracked Sky is a horror novella about a couple trying to cope with the loss of their only child, Allyson. Once they learn her murderer has been found dead, and that Allyson has suffered a fate worse than death, they have to summon the courage, the hope, to heal themselves, as well as save their daughter from a nightmare-world, birthed from somewhere between the stars. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but these characters must confront their inner-struggles and conflicts so they can face the external conflict. I really hope they can.
PR: The protagonist in the book is in a pretty dark place, mourning his daughter and going through a downward spiral in the process. As someone without children, did you have any trouble getting into the head of someone suffering that particular loss?
BE: Initially, yes. The only emotion I could use as an anchor was what I felt after losing both my house and car. A dear friend committed suicide a few months later. I’d started the novella before some of these events, but I’m sure some of the personal stuff was easy to access. After I finished the first draft, a good friend asked me what writing projects I had going on so I told him the plot to Cracked Sky. I also expressed my concerns of whether or not it was realistic. He told me about a friend of his who’d lost his son in an accident. He insisted that I speak with him! I thought it was a bad idea at best, and this guy would knock my teeth down my throat before I finished the first question. However, we had a great conversation over the phone and had dinner a few days later. That experience helped me refine Stephen and Shelley and Darrell. He expressed an interest in reading the draft. I was very nervous. He called me a few days later and told me that he connected with it in a positive way.
PR: In a peculiar way, Cracked Sky‘s protagonist and villain are opposite sides of the same coin. Was the point to show just how far the former’s grief could have driven him if he’d been left with it long enough? Or was the antagonist just that irredeemable from the start?
BE: Both. If we look at Stephen—the protagonist—he’s not handling this horrific loss well. Who could? But he’s abusing his medication and drinking a lot. He’s constantly thinking about his handgun and how easy it would be to blow his brains out and just end the pain. So both characters are not handling it well. Darrell—the villain—is utterly irredeemable. He’s suffered the same loss, albeit under different circumstances. With the proper intervention Darrell could have sought help. There were many opportunities. I’ve no time for one-dimensional characters or villains, whether I’m reading or writing. I had to sympathize with Darrell, and that was even more horrific. His immense hate, and the ripples on reality it and other twisted events create transcends death. Both characters symbolize the price we pay for love and what could happen to us should we not seek help for our pain and suffering. It’s a warning, a caution. And it’s just hella fun creating a world that Darrell sees as the answer to all the world’s problems.
PR: You’ve recently taken on a position as a submissions editor for Crystal Lake Publishing. Has the experience informed your own writing or sense of the publishing industry at all?
BE: Yes indeed! Working with the crew at Crystal Lake Publishing has been amazing. Different strokes for different folks, but I look at it as cross training. Having your eye in the submissions queue helped me see many things: Be unique, be original; it’s all about the story; what does a story achieve? It also reminded me—not that I needed it, ha!—to create the very best fiction I can. I’m always looking to grow, and it’s been a privilege. I think every aspiring writer could benefit from helping out or working with a press. You get to see exactly what the presses are looking for, what constitutes a good story, etc… I love the horror genre’s small community, and I love helping out presses and writers just as well. I truly believe in paying it forward.
Ben Eads can be found at beneadsfiction.com
Cracked Sky can be purchased at www.amazon.com/Cracked-Sky-Ben-Eads-ebook/dp/B00QD89JK0/