…about life and his new book, Blood for Blood
If you’ve been around Christian speculative fiction for any length of time, then you know Ben Wolf. He’s a man on a mission to promote Christian flash fiction and Christian Spec fic. I’d call him an aficionado of both.
When Ben recently released his first full-length fiction novel–ugh, another vampire novel!–I was interested to read it to see if he could really tell a story. I figured if Tosca Lee endorsed it, Blood for Blood was worth a shot.
I was pleasantly surprised and then delighted. Here was a vampire novel in the historic tradition – crosses, stakes, garlic, and all – that asked a very important question: is any one so far gone that Christ cannot redeem them? I think we all know the answer to the question, but what would it look like in a vampire’s life? And what would that look like today in the life of a ________? As Christians do we really believed everyone is redeemable? That Christ’s blood is sufficient for everyone?
It is with great fanfare that I invite Ben to share with us today. Keep reading to the end for a chance to read a copy of this fine ebook from the author himself.
Hi, Ben! Let’s get the tough questions out of the way first: Do you have any pets? If so, how many and what kinds?
BW: No pets, but a friend of mine has a cat named Marco and he really likes me, so I sometimes claim him as mine.
I’m sorry to hear you are petless, but think of all the money you’re saving on food and vet bills. 🙂
Tell us, what is your favorite Bible story and why?
I’m a big fan of Samson’s story because despite having the Holy Spirit’s anointing, he made a lot of bad choices and got what he deserved. I don’t find joy in that, but it’s a reminder that no one is safe from falling into sin. We all fall short of God’s standards, and we get to determine how we respond when we fail. Samson usually responded poorly.
I always liked the story of Samson growing up. But you’re right – Samson was a bad judge. He had a temper and a weakness for women. Ultimately, he did the right thing in the end.
Which part of your book was the most difficult to write – the beginning, middle, or end? Is that always the case, or only for this book or story?
It’s almost always the middle for me. The beginning is loaded with big, awesome ideas, and by the time I reach the end I usually have momentum to carry me through to completion. The middle is usually a struggle because I want to get to the end, but I can’t until I’ve been patient and set things up so the end really delivers a nice punch.
So far this year, the vote is 2/2 for middles. 🙂
Which comes first for you, the characters, the story, or something else?
This varies, but usually the story comes to me first and I have to create the characters to fit the story, but once the characters are in the story, they really do a bang-up job of affecting where it goes.
Can you tell us something about your book that you know but isn’t in the book? Perhaps share some backstory on a character?
Two things: 1. Sign up for my newsletter (lower right-hand corner of my website, benwolf.com) and you’ll get six free stories, one of which (in Havok Magazine) is a bonus scene not included in the book.
2. Friedrich, one of the Deputies in the story, makes a brief appearance in one of my other unpublished books titled “Unlucky,” which takes place in 1850s Arizona. He’s not specifically named, but he’s in there.
I didn’t know about the newsletter. I’ll be signing up after I click publish on this post! 😀
What are you working on now?
Novel-wise I’m editing my YA fantasy series. I have to smooth out book one, make minor adjustments to book two, and then finish writing book three (I’m about 30k words in).
And before you go, what is one thing you’d like your readers to know?
Stick with me. I intend to thrill you more and more with each successive book. And by all means, tell your friends. I’ll thrill them too.
Bonus question: I’d love to hear about your experience writing full-length fiction versus flash fiction.
Writing flash fiction is always a lot of fun for me, but it can be challenging as well. I appreciate writing flash fiction because I can finish it sooner and it makes me feel good to have accomplished something. When writing a novel, it feels amazing to finish the novel too, just on a bigger scale.
I value the simplicity that flash fiction can bring to my writing, but I also enjoy the complexity of what I can do in novel-length work. The real value of flash fiction for me has been to teach me how to be careful with every single one of my words and to really make them count. That applies to all of my writing these days, and I’m better for it.
That’s what I value about flash fiction as well. That, and being forced to write a whole story – beginning, middle, end.
Thanks so much for being with us today, Ben!
Ben left us with an excerpt from Blood for Blood:
Hunger drove Raven Worth to the big tent revival that night, but it wasn’t what made him stay. Usually in such a public gathering he’d have lurked just beyond the edge of the crowd to scan the fringes for stragglers. In other settings he’d often harvest the ones who looked the most destitute or lonely. He could relate to them. He knew their pain.
But not that night. The crowd seemed devoid of the transients and homeless nobodies Raven preferred. Everyone beamed with happiness—they enjoyed the service, the evangelist’s booming voice, and even each other in a form of unity Raven hadn’t seen since before he turned. Then again, that was almost a hundred years ago. Sometimes it felt more like a thousand.
A few children wandered along the crowd’s outer ring, not engaged by the service in the least. One of them, a small girl with hair so blonde that it seemed to glow under the moonlight, sat alone on the ground and played with a rag doll. Raven couldn’t help but stare at her.
Who would leave such a beautiful child unattended? Raven clenched his fists. Didn’t her parents know what kinds of horrors roamed the night in search of weak, vulnerable prey exactly like her? Perhaps she was an orphan, with no one to look out for her wellbeing.
A rumble in Raven’s stomach and a brief spell of lightheadedness reminded him of why he’d come tonight. He shook off the weakness and resigned himself to his task.
– Excerpted from Chapter 1 of Blood for Blood, by Ben Wolf
GIVEAWAY: Comment below for a chance to win a Blood for Blood ebook! Tell me your favorite vampire book or movie. We’ll announce the winner here next Monday.
(Tip: if you’re on the main blog page, click the Comment link under the title. If you’re on this post’s page, keep scrolling down…)