Friday, April 26, 2013

In Conversation with Joe Mynhardt

Some pretty darn exciting stuff is happening here in South Africa nowadays, and today fellow countryman Joe Mynhardt has stopped by to settle in the hotseat for a bit for a Q&A. Welcome, Joe!

Tell us a little bit how your anthology, For the Night is Dark, came about (and they all have stories). Did you have any thematic considerations? Was it an open call or did you approach the authors with a specific idea in mind? Who's in the final line-up? 

I was actually watching an episode of Game of Thrones when one of the characters said that famous ‘for the night is dark …’ line. I remember telling a friend how it would be an awesome title for an anthology. The rest of that episode was quite a blur. My mind was spinning like a hamster on America’s Got Talent.
Realising I already knew most of the ins and outs of publishing, as well as a load of awesome writers, I started thinking about not just writing my own stories, but publishing anthologies.

I immediately worked out all the details, including the theme which is pretty obviously ‘darkness, fear of the dark or what waits within the dark’, and got Ben Baldwin to work on the cover.

I waited till the cover was done (and an editor signed) before I started approaching authors. Since I didn’t have the time to read a bunch of submissions, and knew exactly what I wanted, I set out to fill the TOC.
I took a lot of time to study each writer, reading as many of their stories as I could find online. Each writer in the collection has a unique style and approach to writing and horror.They really brought out the best in each other.

I approached the guys I knew would be interested first, of course, and with an awesome cover, payment and TOC to dangle before the others, I had little to no trouble getting the writers I wanted.

I was quite shocked to get emails from some of the writers I wanted before I even sent them invites.

Everyone just fell in love with the cover and idea.

The final line-up, in no particular order, is:
Shade, by Jeremy C. Shipp
A Snitch in Time, by Robert Walker
The River, by Armand Rosamilia
Father Figure, by Tracie McBride
In the Darkest Room in the Darkest House on the Darkest Part of the Street, by Gary McMahon
His own Personal Golgotha, by G. N. Braun
How the Dark Bleeds, by Jasper Bark
Eternal Darkness, by Blaze McRob
Darker with the Day, by Scott Nicholson
Room to Thrive, by Stephen Bacon
Don’t let the dark stop you shining, William Meikle
21 Brooklands: next to Old Western, opposite the burnt out Red Lion, by CaroleJohnstone
God May Pity All the Weak Hearts, by Daniel I. Russell
Hungry is the Dark, by Benedict J. Jones
This Darkness, by John Claude Smith
On a Midnight Black Chessie, by Kevin Lucia
Lost and Found, by Tonia Brown
Mr Stix, by Mark West
Where the Dark is Deepest, by Ray Cluley
Till Death, by Joe Mynhardt

Were there any surprises and/or co-incidental similarities in theme that came about (I ask because I've often encountered this when pulling together anthologies).

Surprisingly not. Each story is so unique in its approach and symbolism.

There really is a bit of everything in this collection. Some of the stories will make you think, while some will scare the crap out of you and others will give you chills for days afterwards.

Maybe I did an amazing job choosing the TOC, or I’m just DAMN lucky. Damn lucky to know such an amazing group of writers.

Cover art. I know a lot of editors who agonise over the final look/feel. Tell us a little more about your considerations.

I was first introduced to artist Ben Baldwin’s work when he did the Darker Minds cover in 2012, so I immediately got him to work on the cover for my own Lost in the Dark collection.

Ben and I quickly got along. He knows exactly what I like and what I have in mind. It’s amazing to see someone take a picture in your mind and so easily make it a reality.

The idea for the For the Night is Dark cover was my own. I wanted people who look at the cover to reminisce to the nights they sat alone in their rooms, knees pulled up to their chest, staring at the dark corners of their rooms over the bed cover and waited to see what happened next. We’re all like kids again when we get scared of the dark.

I also wanted one of those covers that’s a little more ‘busy’. I want people to continue looking at the cover and finding new things to creep them out. For some it might be the doll, others the shadow, the tree fingers, or perhaps even the uncertainty of the dark world beyond the protection of their homes (hence the rubbed out wall).

Release date? Formats? Where can people buy the anthology? Tell us a little about the publisher.

For the Night is Dark is available in print, Kindle and Kobo (which works on pretty much any eReader available). To eliminate shipping, printing and warehouse costs, For the Night is Dark will only be available on Amazon and various online eBook outlets.

I’ll be sure to order a bunch of copies for South Africans who want to buy directly from me.
Crystal Lake Publishing derives its name from Friday the 13th of course. I choose this name because it sounds professional enough to publish any genre, while still staying connected to the horror genre. Hopefully one day I will also publish Fantasy, Thrillers, Mystery and Sci-Fi.

The goal of Crystal Lake Publishing is to bring writers and readers together, as well as give writers the support they need. Writers are extremely hard working people who hardly ever write under ideal conditions. In time, I hope to pay them what they deserve – a lot.

Do you have any existing or upcoming projects you'd like to draw people's attention to?

Except for my own series and short story collection (which will probably only be completed by the end of the year or early next year), the following collections are being worked on right now:

Fear the Reaper is another horror anthology filled with an amazing TOC. It’ll be available Halloween weekend and the TOC includes Taylor Grant, Joe McKinney, Rick Hautala, Gary Fry, Ross Warren, Marty Young, Stephen Bacon, Dean M Drinkel, Richard Thomas, Sam Stone, Eric S Brown, Mark Sheldon, Steve Lockley, Robert Shane Wilson, Jeremy C Shipp, Jeff Strand, Lawrence Santoro, Feo Amante, Rena Mason, John Kenny and Gary A. Braunbeck. The introduction will be written by Gary McMahon. The editor will be myself, Joe Mynhardt.

Children of the Grave is a zombie collaboration between myself, Joe McKinney, Armand Rosamilia, Ian Woodhead and Ryan Miller. It will be one of those ‘choose your own adventure’ books where each writer follows the MC on a different path.

The Outsiders is a Lovecraftian collection by myself, Gary McMahon, Simon Bestwick, Stephen Bacon, Ray Cluley and V.H. Leslie. All the stories will take place in a small gated community where everything is not as it seems.

I’m also publishing two short story collections this year. The first is Daniel I. Russell’s Tricks, Mischief and Mayhem, and the second is Kevin Lucia’s Things Slip Through.

I’ll start filling another TOC towards June for the first of our annual Tales from the Lake anthology, so any writers interested in being a part of it should email me their biographies, with some examples of their work, to

There is more info on some of these collections on our website’s Upcoming Titles page. There are also a few surprise ideas I’m working on. As publisher of Crystal Lake Publishing, I

aim to bring out a few new approaches to horror collections.

Thanks for having me,
Joe Mynhardt

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