Kingdoms of Wrath and Ice, our first anthology, will publish in November 1, 2022. Get to know some of the authors behind these tales of icy villains!
Grandmother Oak by Benjamin Sperduto, will appear for the first time in Kingdoms of Wrath and Ice. Learn more about Benjamin, his writing, and more in this interview.
Tell us about what got you into writing
I was always a pretty imaginative kid who enjoyed creating worlds and characters, so at some point it just became a natural thing for me to do. At the time, I liked the idea of it being something I could do totally on my own.
What’s your favorite book you’ve read this year?
I find that historical non-fiction is really helpful for me as a research/inspiration tool. I read “The Plantagenets” by Dan Jones earlier this year, which is about the English monarchy of the Middle Ages. That one had plenty of potential character inspiration!
Who are your must-buy authors?
A lot of my writing influences are actually older (Michael Moorcock, Robert E. Howard, etc), but I’d say the contemporary author I get the most writing inspiration from is Cormac McCarthy.
Do you have any favorite villains in either books, movies, or TV?
I really enjoyed Tywin Lannister from Game of Thrones. He’s a terrible human being, but there’s a consistency to everything he does that lends him a degree of integrity that sets him apart from some of the more loathsome villains in the story. I like villains who think of themselves as honorable even when they’re being objectively horrible.
Give us a quick intro about your story!
“Grandmother Oak” is about a bitter nature spirit that imbues lost children with ancient powers to enforce its will throughout the surrounding forest.
What was your favorite aspect of writing this story?
I really liked developing the relationship between the nature spirit and its “children.”
What inspired you to write this story?
Once I had the image of this malevolent tree spirit growing atop a snow covered hill with lost children living among its roots, I couldn’t get it out of my head and pretty much had to write the story to find out the story behind it. That’s one of the things I love about short stories. You can start with an idea and then let the story develop and tell you what it’s about as you write it.
Do you think you could personally survive in the world of your story?
No way. It’s a pretty inhospitable place for humans!
What’s winter like where you live?
I live in Florida now, so I’ve mostly forgotten what actual winter is like! Here, winter is the time of year you can go outside and not instantly break out into a sweat.
What’s your favorite part of winter?
I like seeing newly fallen snow on the ground. I could do without shoveling it or being wet and cold for months at a time!
Do you prefer writing short stories, or longer works?
I mostly write longer works now, but I do enjoy the occasional short story because it’s nice to be able to take a project from start to finish relatively quickly rather than going through the long slog of writing a novel.
What else do you write?
I’ve written and released a number of pen & paper roleplaying games under the label “Last Redoubt Games.” It’s a fun side project where I get to do a lot of layout work as well.
About the author
Benjamin Sperduto is a fantasy and horror writer who combines the visceral action and weird stylings of the pulp tradition with a gritty realism drawn from historical research. He is the author of several novels, including Blackspire and The Walls of Dalgorod, and has published over twenty short stories spanning the horror, sci-fi, and fantasy genres.