INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR TONY BENSON BY AOIFE MARIE SHERIDAN 


Question: What have you published recently?

I have just published my first novel, An Accident of Birth, a speculative story which confronts the question What would society be like if most people were not fertile?

It portrays a dystopian, polluted society in which fertility is rare, and being fertile is dangerous. The government holds twenty-year-old Francesca captive, forcing her to breed children for the infertile masses. Her boyfriend Dominic has failed to rescue her in four long years. By hiring Baron Drake to spring her, Dominic learns nobody is more dangerous. The handsome, charming, and fertile baron vies to win Francesca’s heart, and he’ll stop at nothing – not even mass murder – to expand his criminal empire.

Question: How, and when, did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve always kept journals and written stories. During my career as an engineer, strangely enough, much of my work involved writing of one kind or another. I’ve written more technical documents than I could ever count, but very little was ever published for general distribution, since it’s generally written for use by customers.

When I moved on from corporate life I found myself undertaking more ambitious creative writing projects. I started with a complete non-fiction manuscript, which will probably never see the light of day, then I went on to write more fiction. That was when I began to consider publication.

I enjoy the creative process, and to see my own work, complete and published, is exhilarating.

Question: Where can we find your published writing?

An Accident of Birth is for sale on all the worldwide Amazon stores. It is currently available on Kindle, and very soon it will be available in paperback, which can be ordered from Amazon, bookshops or libraries. It will even be available via Espresso book machines.

You can find out up-to-date information about my work on my website tonybenson.org, and on my blog firesidepark.blogspot.co.uk.

Question: What is a typical day like for you as a writer?

I'm not sure I've had anything I could call a typical day for a while now. At any time I have work to do on outlining, writing, editing, publishing and promotion. The balance between these activities varies from day to day. Most days it's pretty clear which tasks are most important for the day, so I tackle those first.

I'm aiming to publish about one book per year, so while it's easy to spend time on promotion and outlining, I have to make sure I get enough writing time.

Question: What are your favorite characters that you have created? Tell us about them

One of the delightful things about writing is that not only do the main characters take on a life of their own, but so do the supporting characters. I put a lot of thought and energy into both, of course, but it always surprises me when the supporting characters become so interesting.

I tend to work in two very different areas. An Accident of Birth is dystopia, and my next book is a crime thriller, but I also have projects going in science fiction and fantasy. All of these have proved to be rich sources of characters.

In An Accident of Birth, I grew very fond of my main characters Dominic and Francesca. Dominic's gun-toting friend Brett was also one of my favorites. Bizarrely, I also rather admired two of the more unpleasant characters. Mildred Knatchbull is the principal of the atelier – the government establishment where fertiles are imprisoned and forced to breed – and Craig Drake is the villain who tries to steal Francesca away from Dominic.

Question: do you find you “mentally edit” other writers’ works as you read them? Does doing this help you or bother you?

I love reading, and I read a great deal in all genres. When I find myself with a book that is either poorly written or poorly edited, yes, I find myself mentally editing it, but if it's bad enough I usually don't press on with reading it. Whatever I'm reading I try to learn from what I like and what I don't like. There's always some lesson I can take from a book. I only tend to mentally edit, however, when the writing strikes me as needing it. How often that occurs depends on the author.

Question: What music do you listen to, while writing?

Music is my other passion. I listen to almost anything, but mainly rock, latin, classical and folk. Sadly, if I listen to music while I'm working I find myself distracted. I usually find myself staring at the page, enjoying the music, unsure of how long I've been in a semi-trance. Because of this I tend to work in silence. Silence aids my concentration.

Question: What do you eat while writing?

I'm one of those wierd creatures who rarely eats outside of mealtimes, and since I stop work to take my meals with my lovely wife Margo, I don't eat while I'm writing. If I did, it would be biscuits, cake, donuts, confectionary, anything like that.

Five for Fun:

What is your favourite non-alcoholic drink? 

Hot chocolate. Definitely.

What is your favourite cartoon character?

I think that has to be Wallace and Grommit. I suppose it's not technically a cartoon, but it's animation none the less.

What is your favourite movie of all time?

That's a difficult one. Loads of movies compete for that spot. I love the mood and depth of French movie making, the quirkyness of British and Antipodean movie making and the dynamicism of American movies. Contenders for the spot are Love Actually, Amelie, Strictly Ballroom, Young Frankenstein and Lord of the Rings (the Peter Jackson one). I really don't think I could pick a winner from those.

What do you like to do for fun or just to relax?

I tend to either read or get one of my instruments out and remind myself how out of practise I am. I have quite a collection of musical instruments, but mostly I play the fiddle, guitar and melodeon.

Question: Where can we find you on the web?

My website is www.tonybenson.org

My blog is www.firesidepark.blogspot.co.uk

On facebook I am TonyMBenson – twitter.com/TonyMBenson

On Goodreads I am www.goodreads.com/TonyBenson 

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