Author: Benson Phillip Lott
Release Date: 10/29/10
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Blurb: In order to save its own skin, a devious pumpkin plays an evil mind game with the person who bought it.
Welcome to Author Offerings, Benson. I’m so pleased you could join me today. What is your book title?
Well, first of all thank you for inviting me. I’m really excited. This is my first interview. To answer your question, my release is a horror short called Pumpkin.
What is Pumpkin all about?
Self deception. I mean, that’s the core of the story. The plot is simply about a demonic pumpkin that tricks the man who purchased it into murdering his own family, basically to save itself from being carved into a Jack-o-latern the night before Halloween.
That sounds kinda creepy. How did you come up with the idea?
I always start with the title. In this case, I was sitting at my computer at three in the morning, wanting to write, but not wanting to work on anything heavy. I also had an urge to submit something that day. So I decided to challenge myself. I would write a story in 2000 words or less and send it out before the day was over. For whatever reason (maybe it had to do with being in early October, Halloween nearing) the word “pumpkin” flashed in my mind. I wrote it out on the screen: Pumpkin by Benson Phillip Lott. The story was finished forty-five minutes later. I submitted it before breakfast to Untreed Reads and here we are.
What's it been like for you since you are just beginning a career as a writer?
I write and read every single day. Even if it’s just a page or two. And, for me, starting with short story submissions, building up a sizeable list of publications has so far been the most logical route. However, there’s nothing wrong with big goals. If you’re an unpublished writer with a full length manuscript that you feel is ready for mass publishing start sending out queries. You never know. That’s the most exciting thing about the whole submitting process: anything can happen!
Have you written any else?
My short story The Road of Things to Come is included in JournalStone’s First Annual Anthology (now available in print) Warped Words for Twisted Minds a great collection of off-the-wall horror stories that I am extremely grateful to be a part of.
What are you working on now?
I have a full length manuscript being reviewed by several literary agencies and I am adding the finishing touches to my own collection of short stories, including not one, but two sequels to Pumpkin.
Do you have an evil day job, if so, how do you find time to write?
I work part-time for a moving company, but for the most part, almost every waking hour of my day is spent writing or thinking about writing. I’m extremely blessed to be in that situation.
What is your creative process?
Music is my greatest influence. I go for long walks and visualize specific scenes as though I were watching them on screen in my head. The songs I listen to provide the footage with a soundtrack. I realize that sounds kind of “out there,” but hey, it works. At least for me.
What does your family and friends think about you being a published author?
I come from a family of writers. They love it. My friends are very supportive too. Especially those who I turn into characters. I have met some very interesting people in my life, the kind that whole books should be written about. And every time I tell someone I’m a writer, the inevitable questions surfaces: “Can I be in your story?” My answer is almost always: “Sure! Why not?” And it’s true. Why not put someone like Fred, the schizophrenic gas station clerk with no teeth, in a book? Works for me.
It’s December again! I can’t believe Christmas is upon us all ready. What are your holiday plans?
Write. Query. Submit. Try to avoid shopping malls. Write. Query. Submit. Try to remind myself it’s Christmas on the day that it is, in fact, Christmas. Write. Query. Submit. Avoid the temptation to write a nonfiction book titled “The Joy of Hunting Reindeer.” (I’m totally kidding. I love animals. Especially ones with horns and glowing red eyes-um, I mean noses.)
LOL Do you go all out with decorating?
Yes. In fact, at night, I cover my walls with Christmas wrapping paper and glue pine needles all over my bathroom floor. Sometimes I hide presents under the kitchen sink.
Okay, that made me laugh! Real tree or fake?
My tree is alive. It talks to me J
I have no doubt about that one, Benson! Lots of lights on the house or subdued lighting?
Have you seen National Lampoons? I go full-on Chevy Chase, covering the whole house in X-mas bulbs and pissing off Julia Louise Dreyfuss (recently cast as the uptight neighbor).
Store bought ornaments or do you make your own?
Being serious. I made some when I was little and we use them. Or course, they were all made from some form of dough and there are tiny bite marks in the gingerbread people and little finger marks in Santa’s clay sleigh.
Eggnog? With or without rum?
I’m on Eggnog right now! They say the best writers were smashed on the stuff when constructing their most notable works. Twain was eggnogaholic, I think.
That would totally explain some of his quotes! What would be the perfect Christmas gift for you?
Aside from a four-book deal with Random House? Um, an iPhone 4 that actually works? Or maybe just a year’s supply of Eggnog. Yeah. That works for me.
Thank you so much for being here, Benson, where do you do your stand-up routine? Kidding, sort of. Is there anything else you’d like the readers to know?
I’m kidding around a lot, but in all seriousness. I love being a writer. I wouldn’t give it up for anything. If you feel the same way, I suggest you indulge in the activity as often as possible. Like I said before, you never know where it can lead.
And before we go, can we get a juicy excerpt from Pumpkin?
Sure. Here ya go:
Raymond stands in the middle of the kitchen clutching the steel kitchen knife as he stares at the pumpkin on the carving board. Had it really just spoken to him? And how does it know his name?
“I know everything, Raymond,” the pumpkin assures him. “I know about the argument you had last night with Jeanette. I was listening when the two of you were upstairs, hollering at each other in the bedroom. She denied her relationship with the football coach…what is his name again?”
“Stephan,” Raymond whispers, his hands shaking (especially the one with the knife). “Stephan Hughes. He coaches our son….”
The pumpkin has yet to be carved a face and yet, somehow, Raymond can sense the damn thing is smiling. “Ah, yes…your son. Jesse, isn’t it? Such an interesting young man. Are you aware that he is a homosexual, Raymond?”
Raymond boldly steps forward, raising the blade. “That’s not true! You shut up! Who are you, anyway? Why are you speaking to me?”
The pumpkin makes a disapproving sound, something like: tsk-tsk-tsk.
“Raymond, Raymond, Raymond. I’m very disappointed. You should know me by now. We see each other almost every day. Every time you look in the mirror….”
Raymond lowers the knife, shifting his weight to one side. “What the hell are you talking about?”
The pumpkin is silent.