I just love a little cloak and dagger, and today’s guest author has given a double dose. So come on with your questions and comments for thriller author Debbie Bennett.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Middle-aged, boring English local government employee with a secret life as a writer.
L.L. Reaper here. Ummm, you don’t sound boring at all. That one sentence has me quite intrigued. Let’s dig a little deeper. Tell us something few know about you. Other than your secret life as an author.
I’m ¼ Chinese – my grandfather was high-born Cantonese who was disinherited for marrying beneath his social status (there’s a novel in there somewhere…). Oh and I once asked Stephen King to dance! Yes, really. The Man himself – not just somebody with the same name.
What is your favorite novel and why?
Probably Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising sequence, because it hooked me into fantasy as a teenager.
What was the last novel you read that you enjoyed and why?
Much as I hate to admit it, the most recent novel I read was Twilight. I was fully prepared to hate it as I really don’t do cute and sparkly vampires, but wanted to see what all the fuss was about. While it’s not the best-written book I’ve ever read, it was surprisingly enjoyable. So my guilty secret is out!
Exactly the same reason I haven’t read it. I may have to give it a try. When did you begin writing?
Age 9, when I’d write 5 pages of story to everybody else’s 1. Then I completed my first truly awful handwritten novel at age 14. I still have it somewhere in the back of a cupboard and I’m proud of it.
What genre(s) do you write?
Fantasy – adult and young adult, although I’m moving more into adult thrillers and suspense novels now.
Where do your concepts for your novels come from?
Sometimes dreams. Or occasionally a story will arrive more-or-less fully formed and demand to be told!
How long does it typically take you to write a book?
Impossible to say as I usual have several things on the go at once. Sometimes I’ll put something away for months or even years until the bit I’m searching for shows itself – or the character leaps into my head and nags me.
Tell us about your latest book?
The first one I’ve put out on Kindle is Hamelin’s Child – a dark psychological thriller which was long-listed (top 20) for the UK Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award a few years back. The idea came from over 25 years working in law enforcement, some of it investigating drug smuggling. I wanted to try to write something from the other side of the street, so to speak. So this looks at heroin addiction and prostitution through the eyes of a 17 year old boy and his elder sister. It’s not pretty or gentle – it’s hard and brutal and I agonized for a long time over whether certain scenes should be left in or omitted. In the end I decided to leave them in to be true to the story and characters. You have been warned!
What other titles have you written?
There’s a young adult fantasy that was published as an ebook 5 or 6 years ago by a Canadian publisher. I’ve recently got the rights back for that and will be kindling that one soon – plus its sequel (it will be a trilogy eventually). Then there’s a follow-on novel to Hamelin’s Child I’m working on right now, plus another thriller and an adult fantasy novel. I’ve also recently uploaded to Amazon a collection of previously-published short stories.
If you could change one thing about your writing career thus far, what would it be?
To be able to earn enough money from it to give up the day job.
What do you find to be the best and worst part of being a writer?
Best – the actual writing when it’s working
Worst – the actual writing when it isn’t
Seriously, the best thing is breathing life into characters that become as real to me as anybody else I know. And the worst must be the crippling self-doubt – wondering if everybody is secretly laughing at me!
What do you have on the burner for the next year?
Learning how to market myself – how not to be ashamed of what I write, even though I know it will get me some bad reviews from people who just don’t get what I’m saying. I want to find enough witty things to say to keep my own blog going, plus be able to guest blog on other sites. And find enough hours in the day to keep writing!
How can readers reach you?
@debjbennett on twitter (don’t hold your breath. I’m not exactly a prolific tweeter!)
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy my novel!
Thank you for hanging out with us today Debbie. Feel free to come back anytime.