In todays installment of this ongoing series of mini interviews to celebrate the release of For the Night Is Dark, Ginger Nuts of Horror is proud to welcome the man behind the project Joe Mynhardt.
Joe Mynhardt is a South African horror writer and teacher. He has dozens of short stories publications. His stories have appeared in such publications as Dark Minds Press, Machete Moonlight Horror Fiction Magazine, Pages of Stories, Bewildering Stories, Weirdyear, The Fringe Magazine, Flashshot, Postcard Shorts, and Morpheus Tales. he is also the owner of Crystal Lake Publishing.
For The Night Is Dark Interview
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I’m a South African horror writer and primary school teacher (now you know why I write horror). I started writing towards the end of 2008, and never stopped writing since. I can’t even remember a day or hour going by in which I didn’t think about writing. To date I’ve published over fifty stories with publishers like Rymfire Books, Dark Minds Press, Twisted Dreams Magazine, Silver Blade Magazine, Blood Moon Books and Morpheus Tales.
I recently started Crystal Lake Publishing, the company bringing you this For the Night is Dark anthology, in hopes of not only promoting horror and reading in general, but to introduce authors to a horror-hungry South African market.
I love reading, learning new things and networking with other writers. I am a moderator on MyWriterCircle and an Assistant Submissions Editor for the South African Literary Journal, New Contrast.
Other than that, I live in Bloemfontein, South Africa with my wife and two dogs. I coach primary school cricket, soccer and even hockey at times. I’m a difficult person to understand at times (just ask my wife and friends), but I’m always willing to help others grow and prosper.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
Normally I’d prefer the term Horror, but I always look to write and read stories that run a crooked path between Horror and Dark Fiction. Some of the best stories never take you from the heart of suspense into the horror, they only hint at what might be there, using the reader’s imagination to open up many more possibilities. Then, every now and then, the writer surprises the readers by lunging into true Horror – these scenes are the ones we remember years and years after finishing the story. This is a wonderful place for a writer to live, because the readers never really know how far the writer will take them with every story.
I’ve read and enjoyed quite a few Weird Fiction stories, and I sometimes touch on it (although never go all the way there) with one or two stories.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
I’m a big fan of classic horrors, but I do read my fair share of the more current short stories. When it comes to the classics, I’m an avid reader of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (his horror stories mainly), H.P Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, Ambrose Bierce and Algernon Blackwood. My interest in horror, like many others, started with Stephen King of course (and don’t forget the Alfred Hitchcock episodes). IT was the very first horror book I ever read.
When it comes to more modern work, I’d have to say the writers who are included in this For the Night is Dark anthology as well as Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, Adam Neville and John Connolly.
A few more favourites are J.R.R Tolkien, Roald Dahl, Ray Bradbury, Clive Barker, Robert Bloch, Bram Stoker, Richard Laymon and Richard Matheson.
Can you tell us anything about your story in the anthology?
My story will pretty much be the missing link in this collection (if one shows up). I’m in the fortunate position of reading the other stories before the book comes out, and with the help of the editor, Ross Warren, I’ll quickly see what kind of story will help bring everything together. But I am thinking of a Lovecraft type story at the moment.
Whatever my story will be about, its main goal, just like the anthology’s, is to make people scared of the dark again. Wondering what was hiding in the dark corners of the house I grew up in was the best exercise my imagination ever got.
What is the first thing that pops into your mind when someone says South African horror?
Undiscovered territory for horror writers. There are so many book lovers here in South Africa who need to be introduced to the new breed of horror writers. South African’s love a good horror story.
If it’s true that horror movies or stories take our minds off our own horrors, then South Africa is a great place to test that hypothesis.
Living in South Africa really isn’t easy. I guess everyone has something to complain about in their respective countries, but you have to be real tough to live here. There’s just so much uncertainty here. You never know what’s going to happen with all these talks about land reform and socialism. It makes you think twice about buying property or having a family.
Also, events that take centre stage on CCN and BBC News are everyday events down here. Maybe that’s why we love ghost stories and stuff so much down here, just to get our minds off our own situations for a change.
Why did you decide to submit a story to this anthology?
Except for the fact that I’m the one who started this project, I really can’t give up the opportunity to write alongside this amazing list of writers. One of the main driving forces behind Crystal Lake Publishing is to bring together writers who can not only create great books, but who can push each other to greater heights in their craft. For a few of us this is also a wonderful opportunity to work with more experienced writers, and also to introduce new writers to the horror readers out there. As I’ve always believed, we have to surround ourselves with the best to become the best.
And other than yourself who would you like to see open and close the anthology?
Is John Connolly available?
Good question. I’d have to take a look at the stories first, but a story that can set the mood or atmosphere for the rest of the collection would be a great start. Perhaps Gary McMahon or Stephen Bacon.
A strong, surprising story in the middle could possibly go to Jeremy C. Shipp or Jasper Bark.
For the final story I’d love not only a strong ending for the collection, but a story that brings the entire theme of darkness together. Can the darkness be overcome? Does man still stand a chance?
Each of the writers included in this anthology are more than able to write these kinds of stories, so I can’t wait to see how it all comes together. With Ross Warren’s editorial expertise, I’m certain not only each story, but the entire collection, will be one hell of a dark journey.
Could you recommend one of your own stories to the readers?
Forgive me if I recommend two stories. The first one is Portico, a 13 000 word story about a group of friends trapped inside a haunted observatory-turned-theatre in South Africa. It explores the bonds between friends and the secrets we keep to strengthen those bonds. This story would’ve fitted quite nicely into For the Night is Dark, since the theme of darkness plays a big role in Portico. Portico is available in my short story collection, Lost in the Dark, which contains several other stories I’d also love to recommend.
The other is The Dead Don’t Sleep Here Anymore, which is available in Rymfire Books’ Undead Tales 2. It’s a great zombie story about the relationships between fathers and sons.
The Dark is coming! Call your friends over. You don't want to go through this alone. You will be taken back into the past, down to the depths of the ocean and across the borderline between our world and the next. You will see snapshots from the lives of small children, old-time cockney gangsters and aimless stoners. You will journey into the darkest house on the darkest street, wander hospital basements and take a flight in the comfort of first class. You will meet Mr Stix. This tome includes stories by some of the best horror writers around: G. N. Braun, Carole Johnstone, Armand Rosamilia, Daniel I. Russell, Scott Nicholson, Gary McMahon, Joe Mynhardt, Kevin Lucia, Tracie McBride, Stephen Bacon, Benedict J. Jones, Blaze McRob, John Claude Smith, Tonia Brown, Mark West, Robert W. Walker, Jeremy C. Shipp, Jasper Bark, William Meikle and Ray Cluley. Are you scared of the dark? You will be.
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