After yesterday’s book review of “Steps into Darkness” by Ben Woodard, please welcome Ben as out guest author today on the blog. Book review here http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-2MC
Let’s find out more about Ben;
1. Where is your hometown?
Lexington Kentucky. I was born here, travelled around the world, and ended up back home. A great place to be.
2) How long have you been writing?
I started writing short stories almost six years ago primarily for my grandkids. During that time I also told stories in the local schools sometimes using my short stories. The stories certainly weren’t publishable, but the kids liked them. I didn’t seriously begin to write until maybe two years later. I haven’t stopped yet.
3)Have you always written children’s books?
Yes, so far that’s all I’ve been interested in writing. I wrote a couple of short stories for adults just for fun, but my real interest is writing books for kids. And especially boys, since there is fewer YA books for them and since they need to read more. My goal is to write adventure books that will encourage reluctant boy readers to try books. I hope girls and adults will like them, too.
4)Yesterday on the blog, I reviewed “Steps Into Darkness”, the second book in the Shakertown adventures. Tell us a bit about this series.
I started writing what is going to be the third book in the Shakertown Adventure Series about four years ago as a story about my dad growing up in the small town of Shakertown in rural Kentucky. I never had any intention of publishing the book, it was just something I wrote during NaNoWriMo to see if I could write 50,000 words in a month. I showed it to several people and they liked the interaction between the two boys and were interested in the historical aspects of the story. I then decided to write at least three books about two boys growing up in the twenties and I would include the problems of the day such as racism and sexism. Writing the first two has been great fun. The third needs to be rewritten and I hope to have it out by mid 2014.
5) Why did you choose this period of history to write about?
I knew very little about this time in history, only what my dad and some relatives have told me, but I was interested in the excitement and freedom that young boys would have had growing up in a time like this. The younger cousin, Tom, is an orphan, and my dad had lost his parents by the time he was twelve. So many kids at that time in history had to make it on their own and were allowed to do things that children today could only dream about. That sounded like the makings of great adventure books.
6) Tom and Will have a great friendship. How easy was it to keep the adventure going as well as the showing the reader the value of friends?
That was something that just seemed to come naturally to me. I grew up in the fifties and in many ways it was a similar time to the twenties. My male friends and I had quite a bit of freedom just to roam the neighbourhood and the nearby farm fields without much supervision. And we were always cutting up with each other. I’ve been told my dialog is spot on for boys, but it’s the way we talked as kids. I think the two boys are an amalgam of three or four friends I had, as well as my father and myself.
7) You’ve written several other books, can you tell us about the boy who flew with Eagle’s books?
There is only one book at this time about the boy Naa’ki and his adventures with the eagles. It’s a short middle grade book that I wrote over a weekend again thinking I would never publish it, but it has been amazing to see the number of people who have liked the story. I talked to several agents and editors and they said it was much too short to traditionally publish, and I’m sure they were right. The book is a bit unusual in that it’s written as a middle grade, but as much shorter than most middle grades and is illustrated. It’s not a book that would be commercially successful, but it has been read and enjoy by people all the world. And it is being used as an aid in Bulgaria and Germany to teach adults English.
8) What other books have you also written?
I’ve written two short stories that tie-in with the Shakertown adventure series—The Hunt and The Trestle, and The Trestle is free on most ebook sites. The third short story, a terrible price, is a sequel to the boy who flew with Eagles.
9) I believe you love adventures yourself? What have you been up to recently?
Due to a couple of serious surgeries in the last two years I haven’t had many big adventures. I always manage to walk and hike, but I’m really ”chomping at the bit” to get out and do a bigger adventure. The last one was a bicycle ride from Cumberland, Maryland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania along the great Allegheny bike path. It was a three-day ride and I would love to do that again.
10) What are you working on at the moment? Do you have a planned publication date?
I seem to be working on a dozen different things at once. I’m attempting to get all my books into print versions and my goal is to have that done by the end of November. Also, I have another novelette about the same size as the boy who flew with Eagles that is in the final edits. It will be another unusual book in that a local photographer will be supplying pictures of trees for the story which is about a young boy’s adventure in an ancient forest in Ireland. Another project is a middle grade paranormal trilogy that one agent has shown some interest in acquiring. Writing is my new career and I’m loving it.
Thanks for the interview Rosie. I appreciate it.
You’re very Welcome Ben, good Luck with the writing, and Thanks for being our guest today.