Author Interview: Jen Benjamin

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome, Jen Benjamin, author of Follow Me Home.

About the author:

Jen Benjamin is a newspaper writer who enjoys fiction when she gets time away from writing facts. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, daughter and various furry creatures. When she isn’t writing, Jen enjoys photography, reading, catching re-runs of Frasier and playing the violin. She used to play the violin for church and various other events, but now just plays for herself (and still has nightmares about her one gig as a strolling violinist!).

Contact Details:
Email: authorjenbenjamin@gmail.com.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorjenbenjamin
Twitter: @jenbenjam.


Hello, Jen. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

Oh, ambition! Such a strong word for someone as scatterbrained as I am! I love to write and while it would be fabulous to make a living making up stories, I can safely say that my only immediate ambition, as far as writing goes, is to entertain anyone who happens to read my stories.

Which writers inspire you?

There are and have been so many great writers. It’s hard to narrow it down and my writing skills are nothing in comparison with my favorite writers. I think the first writer who struck me with the beauty of her words was Madeleine L’Engle. She was the master of, not showing me, not telling me, but making me feel a story.

Tell us about your book?

Follow Me Home is a romantic comedy/chick lit story about a (what else?) writer named Katie who is thrust into Hollywood life when her novel becomes a film. She is a fish out of water in so many ways as everything she’s familiar with is yanked out from under her. And she wasn’t even blessed with the good hair gene to help her navigate life with silky, smooth confidence. Follow Me Home is a story that will hopefully allow people to see the humor in every-day life as Katie awkwardly navigates her new environment. And there’s men. Attractive men.

How long did it take you to write it?

Well, it was a project for National Novel Writing Month, an event during which writers torture themselves by writing an entire novel in a month. The reward is the satisfaction of knowing that you’re capable of doing this. So…Follow Me Home took one grueling November to write.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I have a second romantic comedy coming out in April called Quick, Fast and in a Surrey. It’s about Annie Gallagher who is a museum curator, surrey cart driver, fashion lover and believer in Fate. When a handsome historian comes to Annie’s small Oklahoma town, she’s sure Fate delivered him there just for her. Or maybe Satan did. It was probably Fate. It had to be Fate.

Why have you chosen this genre?

The chick lit writing style is a nice break for my mind. It’s written in present tense and flows like a natural thought pattern which can be flowery prose or fragmented musings. It’s a lot of fun.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve always liked to write just to amuse myself. I like to daydream and writing is making something out of whimsy.

Why do you write?

It’s an escape and it feel constructive at the same time. Like, yes, I’m crazy but look what I made with my craziness.

Where do your ideas come from?

A lot of my ideas come straight from insomnia. They are born from random things I think when I’m lying awake at night. Other times it’ll be a song lyric or a little anecdote that my mind just builds a story around.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I am learning to use the computer for writing. Obviously I know how to use a computer but I used to always write by hand. It’s harder for me to feel connected to a computer screen like I feel connected to a pen and paper. But it’s more efficient to use the computer, so I’m now making myself do it.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

That’s a hard question! I’m going to go with:

  1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  2. A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle
  3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  4. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  5. The Giver by Lois Lowry

And we’ll say those authors are my favorite five, too. Ask me again tomorrow and things may have changed.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I’m not very disciplined at making myself write when I don’t feel like it. I need a taskmaster to threaten me. Deadlines are great taskmasters. But I’ve found that if I just sit down and do it, the words flow.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Be your own taskmaster! Don’t be as lazy as I am! Just do it!

Thank you, Jen, for all your interesting answers!

About The Book:

When writer Katie Kendall moves to LA to turn her best-selling novel into a film, she is pretty sure it should be the happiest time of her life. But with an unsupportive husband who suddenly files for divorce, the paparazzi assuming she’s having a fling with the leading actor, and her friends left miles away in her old hometown, she begins to think she’s made a big mistake.
Can her new crowd of friends help her through these times? And could those paparazzi snappers have a point about that leading actor…?
This witty romantic comedic debut novel by Jen Benjamin is a tour de force that will have you coming home to it again and again.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Kenneth Eade

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author, Kenneth Eade, author of Traffick Stop.

About the author:

Described by critics as “one of our strongest thriller writers on the scene,” author Kenneth Eade, best known for his legal and political thrillers, practiced law for 30 years before publishing his first novel, “An Involuntary Spy.” Eade, an award-winning, best-selling Top 100 thriller author, has been described by his peers as “one of the up-and-coming legal thriller writers of this generation.” He is the 2015 winner of Best Legal Thriller from Beverly Hills Book Awards and the 2016 winner of a bronze medal in the category of Fiction, Mystery and Murder from the Reader’s Favorite International Book Awards. His latest novel, “Paladine” is currently a quarter-finalist in Publisher’s Weekly’s BookLife Prize for Fiction. Eade has authored three fiction series: The “Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series”, the “Involuntary Spy Espionage Series” and the “Paladine Anti-Terrorism Series.” He has written sixteen novels which have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.


Hello, Robert. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

It’s difficult to speak about ambitions without appearing egotistical, but I will flat out say it – I want to be recognized as a best-selling author, along with the most popular mainstream authors of today. It’s not so much about ego as I think I have a powerful and important message in my writing that needs to get to as many people as possible. And, of course, there’s those pesky bills that need to be paid.

Which writers inspire you?

The classic authors like Dickens and Steinbeck come to mind right away. Our history will be told in literature. No matter how the politicians decide to rewrite it to suit their needs, the greatest literary works of our time will be what people will be looking at in a hundred or two hundred years from now to really see how we “ticked.”

Tell us about your book?

“Traffick Stop” is the third in a series of books about Robert Garcia, a military-trained assassin who has, since his retirement, turned to the private sector and is doing what he does best – killing terrorists. In the first installment, he inherited the moniker “Paladine” from a blogger who witnessed his first kill. But he’s really more of an anti-hero than a hero.

 How long did it take you to write it?

The bulk of the work was done in three months, and it spent a month in editing and rewriting to hone it to its present state.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I’m currently working on the 11th installment of my Brent Marks Legal Thriller series called “And Justice?”

Why have you chosen this genre?

I actually got into this genre by chance. A reader of my legal thriller series suggested this character, who appeared for the first time in Book 9 of that series. Since then, he has reappeared as the main character in three completed books. This is a popular genre, to be sure, but terrorism is something people are interested in now. It’s a hot topic, mainly because we feel powerless to do anything about it. People are relating to this character, who would otherwise be a pretty repulsive guy, because he is giving them an outlet to express their frustration against terrorism vicariously.

When did you decide to become a writer?

It’s not a decision I made, really. I’ve been a writer since I’ve been able to pick up a pen. I’m glad I finally decided to take it seriously.

Why do you write?

That’s like asking why I breathe. How could I not? It’s not something I had to learn. It just came naturally. I’ve always been a storyteller, but I guess I didn’t find my medium until later in life.

Where do your ideas come from?

Since my stories all revolve around real social issues, all I really have to do is look at the news. It seems every day there is something going on in our world that inspires me to “right a wrong” or to at least point it out.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I have to use a computer. Because my thoughts go faster than I can speak, writing longhand became futile a long time ago. I wrote my final exams in law school with an electric typewriter – same with the bar exam. In the days when we had typewriters, the keys used to stick together. That hasn’t happened with the computer keyboard yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

I like “A Tale of Two Cities” by Dickens, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde, “Of Mice and Men” by Steinbeck, and “Farenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury. That’s not five, is it? I also love the Tom Sawyers books by Mark Twain, who is one of my favorite authors.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

What’s that? No, seriously, I do suffer from lack of inspiration. My assistant (my dog, Misha) offers a solution to writer’s block. She’s always ready to go for a walk and never refuses me. Out in the fresh air, I think about the character and where he is in the story and ideas will usually come, or at least I’ll find out what happens next in the story.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Well, the business right now is kind of like “Field of Dreams.” You could spend a lot of time trying to get an agent or a publisher, but it won’t do you any good unless you have a body of work. So, build those books and it will come.


THANK YOU, KENNETH, FOR ALL YOUR INSIGHTFUL ANSWERS!

About The Book:

From the best-selling & award winning author critics hail as “one of the strongest thriller writers on our scene” comes the continuation of the unforgettable story of an unlikely “anti-hero,” Robert Garcia, a dangerous and unfeeling assassin of jihadist terrorists, exalted by social media as “Paladine”, a living paladin whose mission is to rid the earth of evil for the betterment of mankind, is an assassin working covert black ops for the CIA. In this installment of the series, Paladine seeks to retire from the assassination business and finds himself fighting a band of Syrian sex traffickers.

Please Note: This book is on sale till 13th March 2017 on US and UK Kindle for 99 cents and all royalties will be going to Prajwala (http://www.prajwalaindia.com/) to benefit victims of human trafficking.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

 

Author Interview: Robert Sanasi

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author, Robert Sanasi.

About the author:

img_3729Robert Sanasi is an Italian poet, novelist and lyricist born in a small town of Southern Italy in 1981. He’s been living abroad for nine years.
After graduating in Communication Sciences at the University of Lecce in 2006, he started composing journalistic articles for local magazines and short poems. He then moved to Bologna for a year ‘to escape the alienation and monotony of the provincial life’. Immediately after that, he flew to Dublin, Ireland in search of work and new life experiences. There he worked at several American multinationals and shifted towards a more creative kind of writing, focusing on poems and song lyrics in English and Italian. The family drama connected to the car accident of his older brother only a few months after his departure, his coma, and his subsequent rehabilitation had a deep and strong impact on Robert’s life and writing. This is also described in his first literary novel ‘Dublin Calling’, to be published by Wallace Publishing in December 2016.
All his works have a strong imprint of autobiographical authenticity which clearly refer to the Beat Generation. He particularly loves American literature of the 1900s and authors such as Kerouac, H. Miller, Fante, Roth, Bukowski, Mcnirney, as well as European authors such Celine, Hamsun Buzzati, and Tondelli. He defines his style as “visionary-expressionistic realism” that focuses on the emotional side of life and literature. He has recently achieved second place in the Poetry section of the online Italian writing contest Word Selfie with his poem Angel of the Street, which has also been selected for an an international event and anthology of poetry called 100 Thousands poets for change.
Apart from the six years spent in Dublin, he has also lived for a time in Copenhagen, Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Berlin, Bratislava, Krakow, Prague, and Warsaw. He defines himself as a ‘2.0 migrant urban writer’ and a representative of the current “Generation on the run”.


Hello, Robert. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

I’m really doing everything possible (and maybe even impossible) to get there: being a writer. I’ve been “working on the dream” for so long and so hard. Now I’m ready to start it up.

Which writers inspire you?

The ones who are not afraid of writing everything down and try all the time to be original yet authentic. I get inspired mostly by autobiographic writers and real-life stories.

Tell us about your book?

Dublin Calling, as the title may also evoke, is a journey, meaning both physical and existential. It’s the story of a young Italian emigrant who moves to Dublin in search of a job and above all of new life experiences. After his initial enthusiasm, a very tough family issue arises back in Italy and from that point on his soul and life feels like split in two: one in in his home country and one in his new one, Ireland. In the turmoil of the events, he finds himself in a private and restless quest for some sort of meaning or belonging or a piece of full happiness in the most different ways: through love, sex, poetry, trips and attempts to run away from a reality that he doesn’t feel as his own which might be seen as an escape from himself in a city, Dublin, that is just more than a mere story setting. It’s more like a woman to love and hate at the same time and at the same intensity. And which will affect his years, his growth and maybe his life forever. It’s based on many of my personal autobiographic experiences. What I wanted to do was to leave a sign of this “generation on the move” by means of a novel.

How long did it take you to write it?

Pretty much four months. The objective was to finish it just before leaving Ireland for good and I managed to do so.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Other than finalizing my latest novel, I’m currently working on a script. It’s based on a couple of my literary works. Writing for the screen is quite different from writing a novel but I must say I’m enjoying it. I think I have a cinematographic vision.

Why have you chosen this genre?

Because the realistic narrative is to me the most powerful tool to represent what I want to represent. It’s the only genre I feel comfortable with. I don’t think I could do something different.

When did you decide to become a writer?

It happened twice actually: when I was 22 after reading Kerouac’s On The Road For The First Time and (in the middle of a long hiatus) after I completed Dublin Calling. Then I truly understood it was my own path.

Why do you write?

Complex question that can be simplified this way: to express myself, to create something. Because I’m in love with arts. I guess this just happens, at a certain point, to all artistic minds. It’s something natural and spontaneous. It’s within and comes along the way at some point.

Where do your ideas come from?

Really from anywhere! It’s crazy how ideas and inspiration may come along at any time and in any place. I get many ideas listening to music or watching movies but even in the streets, among the people, in the buses or trains, often when I first wake up in the morning and it’s better to have always something to write down notes or it will be lost. You must be fast and ready to catch that idea or it will fly away.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

Laptop most of the time. If I’m around and some inspiration comes up I take notes on some paper or even on my phone.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

On The Road for sure as it all started from that, then Ask the dust, Tropic of Capricorn, Journey to the end of the night, Portnoy’s complaint.

My favorite authors are Kerouac, Henry Miller, Fante, Celine, Tondelli (and I’d like to add Rimbaud).

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

In the last three years, I’ve been writing totally four novels, which are a lot considering the timeframe. I guess I’m still in a kind of “artistic ferment” having so many stories to tell, therefore it was always easy to move on.

I’ve never really experienced the famous Writer’s Block so far. Probably because I mostly write when I kind of need it, when I know I will enjoy the most. I’m still in a time when I’m not obliged to follow schedules or specific requests, so I write when inspiration comes. If I’m writing and something is not coming up at all or the way I want, I just stop and have a break. It means it’s time to pause.  One hour or one day later, it will go better for sure.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

To follow their passion, to seek improvement and new ways of writing, to be determined, to take themselves seriously as writers, to be professional when contacting publishers and agents or any other person in the publishing industry, to be open to critics and accept an initial failure or delay in results. Persistence is key to becoming an author. Last but not least, to get the necessary satisfaction from what they are doing. Above all, writing is a pure pleasure.

Thank you, Robert, for all your insightful answers!

About The Book:

dublin-calling-master-e-book-cover-1A Southern Italian man who finds himself hungry for life decides to emigrate to the crazy Northern European city of Dublin. From that moment onwards, no matter where else he chooses to travel, Dublin is forever calling him! Dublin Calling is a fascinating and honest insight into the life of a 2.0 migrant. “I was jumping on a rollercoaster for a long and amazing ride. I was a young soul waiting to take-off and experience unpredictability. Hope, pain, love, sex… and everything in between. Dublin was calling me.”


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Jasmine Farrell

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author Jasmine Farrell.
I’m presently reading her latest poetry collection Phoenixes Groomed as Genesis Doves and I must say that it is a beautiful book!

About the author:

jasmine_farrell_jpgJasmine is a freelance writer and blogger. From Brooklyn, NY, she has a Bachelor’s in Communications and she loves red velvet cake. Writing in her Grandmother’s memo pads is included into her repertoire of writings. Creative writing is her niche. She loves reading, randomly dancing and creating off-key ballads.


Hello, Jasmine, thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

My ambitions are to be internationally known as a poet with five novels under my belt and to have my words entice people to search the inner most parts of themselves.

Which writers inspire you?

Zora Neale Hurston, Nikki Giovanni and Claudia Rankine.

Tell us about your book?

Phoenixes Groomed as Genesis Doves is a book of poetry that inspires readers to challenge the status quo as they step out on new journeys and move forward from the comfort of tradition. It was inspired by major life transitions in the last two years, which had me questioning “truths” which shuttered my true self from the world. After a tumultuous and an enlightening journey, I learned to look at the world with new eyes. By sharing my experiences, I chose to open my heart and inspire those on similar paths. Faced with the unknown of a new world my poetry has never felt more alive and honest.How long did it take you to write it?

How long did it take you to write it?

Well, being that the poems were created sporadically from 2014-2016, I guess I can say two years.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they

Yes, I am working on a fantasy novel. However, I will not disclose the details of the story as of yet. It is titled, Malum Street.

Why have you chosen this genre?

Poetry is my niche. I didn’t necessarily sit down and decide what genre I would venture into. It just happened that way. I guess because it was initially a form of writing that helped me to express my feelings the best.When did you decide to become a writer?

When did you decide to become a writer?

I decided to become a writer during my third year in high school. I couldn’t see myself (still can’t) do anything else.

Why do you write?

I write to encourage, release, express, challenge and enlighten others. The best way for someone to understand my heart is to read my poetry.

Where do your ideas come from?

My ideas come from the situations I deal with or the crazy circumstances that I have observed. My ideas come from my mind and the late stories my grandmother told me.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I prefer longhand with a pen or pencil. I even write my articles for Ayo Magazine by hand initially and then type it up.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

My favorite books are:

  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • Sula by Toni Morrison
  • The Skin I’m In by Sharon Flake
  • Native Son by Richard Wright
  • Citizen by Claudia Rankine

My favorite authors are Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Nikkie Giovanni, Elisa Romeo and Eric Jerome Dickey.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I don’t know how to deal with writer’s block. I always free write. However, during the moments where nothing comes to mind, I allow the silence to just be.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken and someone needs your weird ass in his/her life!

Thank you, Jasmine!


About the book:

phoenix_coverPhoenixes Groomed as Genesis Doves is a collection of poetry that draws the reader into the world of personal identity, inner growth and the complexity of human relationships. Ordinary and common images, especially ones found in nature, are used to craft poems that appeal to the uncommon, the suppressed and the others. Filled with incredible grace and accessible wisdom, the poems explore a wide range of complex emotional themes. With unexpected metaphors and sparkling similes, the pieces vary in rhythm and theme making each one like a foil-wrapped candy: something to savor, enjoying each new bright color on the tongue.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed please get in touch.