- Josh, thanks so much more agreeing to this interview. I’ve admired your work for a long time. It’s so well-written and though you don’t skimp word count, your work isn’t wordy in a bad way at all, for which I am truly thankful. What first inspired you to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write stories?
I was always an avid reader, of course, but in the eighth grade I had an English teacher who gave us an assignment: write a Twilight Zone story, 500 words. I’d never had a teacher assign anything creative like this—it has always been three-paragraph arguments or essays—so this assignment was a pleasant surprise. But 500 words! *grin* I managed to write a story called “Aquantico” about a man watching his world be destroyed by water as his spaceship escaped the cataclysm. Basically, a rip-off of Atlantis. The teacher loved it and wrote, “You should write more,” on top of the paper. That lit a supernova in my head: someone was writing these stories that I loved to read … and that someone could be me. I began writing short stories immediately, moving on to novels fairly quickly.
- Writers also tend to be big readers. Who are some of the authors that you enjoy reading or ones that have inspired your own work?
Early inspiration came from Terry Brooks and Katherine Kurtz and Andre Norton. They were the ones who shaped my writing while I was teaching myself how to write. Later inspiration came from authors such as Tad Williams and Guy Gavriel Kay. For all of them, I loved the worlds they created, the characters that lived there, and the sense of awe they inspired. I wanted to duplicate that with my own worlds, my own characters.
- You’ve also write as Benjamin Tate (or does he write as Joshua Palmatier?) who is the author listed on my copy of Well of Sorrows. Can we look forward to more from this alter ego and what inspired you to write as him when you were already well-established using your own name?
Benjamin Tate is the pseudonym of Joshua Palmatier and he was created solely as a marketing strategy. Essentially, DAW Books—my publisher—wanted to use a pseudonym for the second series in an attempt to increase my audience. It was an open secret, meaning that I could tell anyone I wanted that it was really me, Joshua Palmatier, but the bookstores wouldn’t know that it was me and so they would treat the Benjamin Tate releases as a debut author. The hope was that everyone who loved Joshua Palmatier would hear that Ben Tate was really me and buy the books, while customers at the bookstore would see the books and try out a new author. The strategy didn’t really work, so at this point, Benjamin Tate is dead. The “Well of Sorrows” series has been re-released under the Joshua Palmatier name and all books since then have been released under my real name.
- You’ve started your own imprint recently, Zombies Need Brains. Would you tell us more about this project, how it started, and where you hope for it to go?
Well, way back when, Patricia Bray and I had this idea for a themed anthology—a bar that represented the epitome of all bars at any one moment, and as soon as it went out of style, the bar would shift to a new location and be popular once again. We decided that Gilgamesh would be the bartender—his solution to finding immortality. We pitched the idea to Tekno, who pitched it to DAW, and so AFTER HOURS: TALES FROM THE UR-BAR was released by DAW. We enjoyed the editing experience so much, we pitched another idea and THE MODERN FAE’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING HUMANITY came into existence. But then the publishing world went through a major shake-up and DAW ended up cutting their anthology line down to just a few anthologies per year (if that). I waited to see if they’d bring the anthology line back once things settled down, but after a few years I gave up and decided I’d just create my own small press and release the anthologies on my own. Thus Zombies Need Brains was born, a small press focused on releasing themed SF&F anthologies. We fund the anthologies using Kickstarters (usually running around mid-August to mid-September) and we open up the anthologies to an open call, meaning anyone can submit their stories to the anthologies during a certain window. So far, we’ve produced seven anthologies, with three more funded and expected to be released in September. We’re hoping to run another Kickstarter this August sometime for at least two more anthologies, possibly three. I’d like to continue doing anthologies, but hope to eventually expand the small press into other projects, such as original novels, mosaic novels, etc. But right now, we’re focusing on the anthologies.
- With the Erenthrall books behind you, what can we look forward to next from you as far as novels or short stories are concerned?
I’m currently working on the first book in a new series, set in an entirely new world from that used for the “Throne of Amenkor,” “Well of Sorrows,” and “Ley” series. So of course it’s taking me a longer to write. Hopefully I’ll have that done this summer (which means it wouldn’t be released until 2019 at the earliest). I’m also continuing with the anthologies for Zombies Need Brains, with three new releases this year and the new Kickstarter to run in August/September. Assuming that’s a success, I’ll be working on the new anthologies for 2019 as well. So lots of projects either finishing up or coming up in the near future.
- Thanks for taking part, Josh. Where are all the best places to find out more about you and your work?
I have webpages at www.joshuapalmatier.com and www.zombiesneedbrains.com. You can also find me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/joshua.b.palmatier and https://www.facebook.com/zombiesneedbrainsllc/) and Twitter (@bentateauthor and @ZNBLLC). I also have an Instragram account: https://www.instagram.com/joshuab.palmatier/.
JOSHUA PALMATIER is a fantasy author with a PhD in mathematics. He currently teaches at SUNY Oneonta in upstate New York, while writing in his “spare” time, editing anthologies, and running the anthology-producing small press Zombies Need Brains LLC. His most recent fantasy novel, Reaping the Aurora, concludes the fantasy series begun in Shattering the Ley and Threading the Needle, although you can also find his “Throne of Amenkor” series and the “Well of Sorrows” series still on the shelves. He is currently hard at work writing his next novel and designing the kickstarter for the next Zombies Need Brains anthology project. You can find out more at www.joshuapalmatier.com or at the small press’ site www.zombiesneedbrains.com. Or follow him on Twitter as @bentateauthor or @ZNBLLC.