Kingdoms of Wrath and Ice Guest Editor Benjamin Thomas on winter, villains, and writing

Last month, Tourmaline & Quartz announced its first short story anthology, Kingdoms of Wrath and Ice. Benjamin Thomas is guest editor for the anthology alongside T & Q’s Liz Delton, and today we’re learning a bit more about him.

Benjamin Thomas is a multi-genre writer from New England who unequally balances his time between hiking, writing, and quoting seemingly random movies. His short fiction has appeared in a variety of publications including The Lascaux Review, Flash Fiction Online, and The Lost Librarian’s Grave while his medical thriller Jack Be Quick is available from Owl Hollow Press. He can be found online at or on social media @benjiswandering

Tell us about what got you into writing

I wish I knew. My imagination has always been front and center with almost everything. I used to write stories as a kid, pretty much Final Fantasy or Constantine fan fiction – wow, I’m not sure I’ve ever actually said that out loud before… Anyways, fast forward to about ten years ago and I would share short stories with my partner and my brother and maybe a close friend or two, and finally my partner said, why don’t you try doing something with these? So I have to credit her with some of it. I was also always captivated by the romantacism that literature, TV, and movies cast on writers. These kind of wayward souls trying to figure everything out. At the end of it though, it’s just fun to be in these worlds you made up with people you created.  

What’s one book you will always recommend to people?

Oh this is tough. Not only are there so many good choices, there’s just so many genres and styles of writing it’s hard to know what people will like. I think, at the top of the list though, is Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. It’s been years since I’ve read it and I still, every once and awhile, think about it and the characters. It really was a masterpiece.   

What about your favorite fantasy book from 2021?   

My favorite I read in 2021 was actually published at the end of 2020 (late to the game – like always). The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. What can I say? I like heartbreak and love stories.    

Who are your must-buy authors?

Emily St. John Mandel, Sally Rooney, and Stephen Graham Jones (though I’m still working through his extensive back catalog).

Do you have any favorite villains in either books or movies/tv?

Oh, so many.

First off, Darth Vader, I mean come on. Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Luc from Addie LaRue. And then on the other end of the spectrum, from more contemporary leanings, I really like stories where the main character, or part of them, is the villain. Novels like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine or Normal People. There’s argument for their situation or an aspect of their situation being the antagonist, but I think for me the thing about contemporary stories like that, it’s really how the character reacts (so in essence themselves) that make them their own villain. 

What about your favorite and least favorite part of winter?

Favorite part of winter? All of it. The cold air tastes better. Snow is amazing. Winter fashion/clothes are prime. The winter constellations for us here in the Northern Hemisphere are amazing – it always makes me smile the first time I see the Pleiades or Orion rising over the horizon. Plus, the chance to go snowboarding and have winter bonfires is always awesome. Least favorite part of winter? Honestly, I get sad when the final snow melts. A small part of me worries I’ll never get the chance to see it again.  

Liz and Ben are looking forward to submissions for the anthology in April, and the snow will probably be all melted by then (sorry Ben). Read all of the guidelines here.